Lebanon has always been a base for some of the world’s most well-known geniuses. They began their studies in Lebanon, some ventured into foreign lands to excel into their preferred field of knowledge, whereas others chose to continue in Lebanon. Speaking from a personal perspective, of someone who has lived abroad and is surrounded by foreigners constantly, I took the liberty to write the pros and cons of staying in Beirut for university and on what you’ll be missing out on if you choose to stay.
Being in Beirut during your university years is always something to look forward to. Lebanon is a small country and practically everyone knows everyone. And, if you don’t know them, you probably heard of them or are interconnected with those you know. Making friends is generally easy, and switching to different social groups is even easier. It’s natural to connect smoothly with people and make new friends when you all grew up in the same culture or similar ones.
Beirut has been labeled as the Middle Eastern city that never sleeps, and rightfully so. University students in the capital do take advantage of that. The parties are always nonstop, the restaurants are open all night, the nightclubs blast till dawn, and the weekend activities are plenty. It is a constant loop of fun things to do. The friends you make in university usually always have the same common interests as you, considering you choose who you want to be friends with.
Choosing to pursue your university degree in Beirut means you are choosing to continue living at home. We all know what that means in our Lebanese culture: Homecooked meals by mom every day, daily housekeeping services, no concern about washing and ironing your clothes, and being surrounded by your family and benefiting from their emotional and moral support at all time. You can complain all you want about your family, but, at the end of the day, you know you love them dearly, and it gets boring without them.
Living abroad gives you your own sense of independence. The feeling of living on your own allows you to rely on yourself on a daily basis and grow as an individual. The longer you stay abroad, the higher the chances of your mindset opening and changing, and your perspective on life and the world expanding. There is also a high chance that you begin feeling what was Lebanon really for you. You will be comparing, sure, but also appreciating the new, and learning new ways that will serve your progress in life.
By leaving Lebanon, you’ll be entering a world that is much bigger than our 10,452 km² homeland, and certainly more diverse in all aspects. You’ll be meeting people from different ethnic groups and lifestyles and interact with them. That alone will favor you in opening your mind and eyes and see that a great deal of diversity exist past our borders and that is worth knowing and learning from. The people you meet will help shape your personality and enable you to see the different perspectives of other people around the world.
As important as the two advantages cited above is how your perspective towards Lebanon changes and improves. That period of time you spend abroad will make you realize the things you truly love most about your home country; things you discarded as of no importance to you, and the things you took for granted. You’ll possibly change your tastes but also discover that you generally miss things that you didn’t think you’ll miss, to begin with. Chances are that this little place we call home means a lot more to you than you originally thought.