Aspirations around the world

I love travel. I always feel there’s a takeaway or lesson to be learnt from visiting another country. I returned from a 2 week vacation to Thailand and it showed me that the things we think, talk and care about at home can be very similar abroad. For example, we all want friendships, medical care and a stable income. What we think, talk and care about can also be very different. Celebrity culture differs greatly among countries. The celebrities and influencers that we’re obsessed with in the West are overlooked and unknown in Thailand. Similarly the celebrities and influencers in Thailand are probably unknown to most Westerners. 

I couldn’t help but think about the aspirations of the people in Thailand as I visited different areas of Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai. What are their hopes, dreams and ambitions? Are they the same as mine? It made me wonder about other countries. It’s so easy to become egocentric, thinking that the world thinks exactly like you do. Travel rids you of this notion. I’d love to hear about aspirations of people in your country.

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Aaron Seleka
July 26, 2022 12:54 am

The aspirations of the people of South Africa are mixed. We are a country of distinct classes. Those people unfortunate enough to be on the lowest rungs of the social ladder aspire only for a better life. With our high inequality there are a great many poor people. The communities they live in are often under-served and neglected. Much of their concerns are with local government for better services and amenities, and with national government for better job opportunities.

The middle and upper classes badly want for the country to develop at a faster rate. These are the people with good jobs or family wealth who have had the privilege of travelling the world to see developed economies and how they work. So these people want more than anything for our services to be more efficient, our spaces to be more stylish and clean and safe, and for government to do something about all the poor people.

As a developing nation, South Africa is still trying to find its own identity. Yes it was colonized by the British (who wasn’t?) and that laid the foundations for its Commonwealth roots and English as an official language. But in a fast-moving world that seems less and less relevant to the story of now. I would say that right now South Africa is trying to emulate some of the norms of developed nations, but finds that local conditions work against this.

For example, it would be great if drivers respected pedestrians at pedestrian crossings, but no, you take your life into your own hands as a pedestrian when you step onto our streets. Recycling? Nice to have, but we just don’t have the infrastructure for channeling plastics, and metals, and paper through different waste disposal routes, so we don’t recycle. Drink driving? We all instinctively know it is a bad idea, but because policing is not always consistent, it’s not uncommon for drunk people to get behind the wheel of a car and swear it’s okay. These are just some of the ways in which we aspire to be like the developed world but fail as it’s still a work in progress.

July 27, 2022 7:55 am

This is controversial to say but the major aspiration of almost everyone in my country is to travel abroad. Anywhere in Europe is just fine. Before now, major professions like Medicine, Law, and Engineering were considered the only prestigious career aspirations but in recent times, people just want to do anything to make a living. Aspirations have given way to means of survival more than anything else. The only aspiration that has seemed to thrive in the country is small or medium scale entrepreneurship.

Over recent years, the needs and expectations of Nigerians have remained the same: basic amenities, health care, good roads, a stable economy, good governance, and adequate security. These needs have overtime, shaped what we call the Nigerian dream. Almost everything in the country will try to eat away at your sanity, your funds, your life. The Nigerian dream is being able to survive with minimum casualties. Apparently, and as things stand at the moment, the only way to see this dream through is to leave the country. Yes, in my opinion there is not one Nigerian that doesn’t want to leave the country. It is also known that the majority of Nigerians in the diaspora achieve success and are living the dream. This is a constant source of motivation for the ones still in the country.

It is also important to note that there are target professions for career-minded Nigerians. In most parts of the UK and US health sector, Nigerians can be found. Apparently, we know where the career goldmines lie. There is also an influx of Nigerians in the IT sector, especially programming. Nowadays, experienced programmers apply and get hired from abroad, thereby guaranteeing their hitch-free immigration to countries where their expertise is required. Nigerian youth also see study visa as a viable means of immigration.

Taabia Ahmed
July 24, 2022 5:21 am

This is an interesting topic. In my country Pakistan, we’ve a good ratio of younger people residing in the country. By young I mean people below the age of 25. Hence, they have many aspirations with respect to their career choices which are heavily influenced by family, financial circumstances and patriotism. Parents and teachers influence career choices and there is lack of career counselling too… I didn’t have any such guidance.

Many people I know are learning and working in the field of Artificial Intelligence these days. Every other person is known to be experimenting in Python, data science, machine learning and so on. About Government jobs, well they’re hard to get due to our quota system and merit. There are some people who take (and even reattempt) CSS exams to secure a post in govt offices. But that’s a small percentage of people.

Going abroad is also an aspiration. Whether it’s studies, work experience or immigration, anyone with money and qualifications is at least trying to move out of Pakistan for a while. We’ve engineers and chartered accountants working in Gulf and Middle East countries. Teachers working in Turkey and Egypt. Many people working in Sweden and Germany as well. A lot of people take up citizenship and settle abroad with families. Some patriotic people return to work here after spending time away, including businesspeople running food chains, clothing brands and their own start-ups here.

Also non-technical careers are also getting popular. Many artists are being encouraged these days especially when they have multiple platforms of social media to promote their art & creativity. I was just searching for local professional photographers and it’s pretty amazing to see that many young and talented people are running their own photography businesses. It’s certainly a positive development. 10 years ago this wasn’t considered as a strong profiled career choice. So yes, many aspirations for the people of Pakistan 😊