You are here: Home / Returning / What to Expect / Financial


What to Expect: Financial

o Will your financial situation require you to depend on your parent?

o Do you feel indebted to your parents, employer or government because of the money they invested in your U.S. education?

o Do you have a different opinion or attitude about finances/money than you did before you left home?

Many international students who graduate in the U.S. think that their American education and/or degree will guarantee a good job and salary back home without too much of a job search. However, great competition for jobs today usually means that it takes longer to get a position. You might have to settle for less money than you would like, and/or you might have to take a position outside of your field of study in order to get work. Prepare yourself for any of these possibilities, and when you get a great job with a good salary in your area of expertise you will feel blessed and excited.

Many cultures and countries in the world revolve around families as the core unit in society. Your family might expect you to move back in and continue as before, no questions asked. That will probably seem difficult after having spent time on your own, managing your own money and schedule while in the U.S. You need to mentally prepare yourself for this possibility and decide in what ways you will contribute and how much, if any, of your income you will set aside for your own use.

Many countries around the world have embraced the attitude that promotes earning as much money as you can, regardless of the personal sacrifice or cost. You will need to think through and decide how you will handle money, career advancement, and a materialistic mindset. Has your experience in the U.S. influenced you to feel more or less generous with what you have? Some people return to their own countries determined to reach a particular level of economic status or wealth, while others realize that their financial goals and priorities have changed.

Decide ahead of time what financial goals you will set and why. You will also need to spend some time thinking about what these goals will require of you personally. If you want a top job in a top company, it will likely require more time and energy due to the intense competition as well as location, travel, hours and other logistics. Are you willing to give up your freedom, time with family, friends and other personal priorities to meet the demands for such a position? If you accept a less-demanding position, you might have more time and energy to devote to other priorities in your life. Can you live with the smaller paycheck and possible dependence on others in order to make ends meet? These kinds of decisions will affect many aspects of your life, so think carefully and be realistic.

Sometimes when international students return home, they feel committed to repaying either the actual financial investment their parents, employers or governments made, and/or living up to the expectations these interested parties have because of their financial investment. They often feel they cannot make career choices based on their own free will since so many others have invested in their development through the education they received. If you find yourself in this position before your return, you need to consider the obligations you have and how you plan to fulfill them before you return so that the reality of it all doesn’t overwhelm you.

In the end, you must decide how much you will allow finances to determine how you live your life. In spite of your commitments, you will need to set boundaries to avoid getting drawn into what many call the “rat race,” loosely defined as a ruthless, never-ending competitive struggle for success. Decide now how you need to prioritize the top three areas of your life, and then make a realistic plan that will allow you to live with balance.

Matthew 6:24
and Luke 16:13 both address this issue with straight forward language. "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." In other words, if you prioritize money and financial gain, your life will reflect that, and your relationship with God and others will suffer. God tells us that He will not share His position of priority in our lives with anyone or anything else. (Deuteronomy 5:7-8)