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Gerry Som Headshot

Could America's Gun Problem Lead to Brain Drain?

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I am a Canadian citizen born in India. I love America. There, I said it. I have always grown up loving America. However, something changed. I am afraid of America now. No, I am not talking of geo-political stature or positioning. I am talking of the gun culture and the stories of shootings I read on the Internet.

If hundreds of thousands of other potential graduate students like me feel this way, it will affect America's brainpower.

I just completed my MBA courses at Ryerson University in Toronto and will graduate next year. One of my dreams has always been to study at an Ivy League university in America.

At one time it seemed impossible, but now it seems doable. My sister is an Ivy League graduate. Some of my medical school friends are now working at Harvard. My school quiz teammate at Ryerson has a PhD from the prestigious MIT university.

December is when PhD programs in North America accept applications for next year's fall admissions. A part of me is eager to apply to the Ivy League schools and premier American non-Ivy League schools for PhD programs in Business Administration or a DBA (Doctorate in Business Administration).

Yeah, I am crazy about learning business strategy. Learning never ends. Some people jump off planes with parachutes attached to their backs to get an adrenaline rush. Some of us just go to school to get the same euphoria from learning something new every day!

There is a catch, though. I am a careful person. I do not think I would ever go bungee jumping, hang gliding or even hop into a roller coaster. It is not that I am not man enough. I just feel that I need to protect my brain, which I have worked hard to develop from all the years of university learning. Therefore, when the time comes to decide if I should apply to American schools my brain says "No." Why?

The question on my mind is now this -- are the schools and universities in America safe? I am not going to get into a political debate about guns. I respect the views people have. However, I feel strongly about keeping guns out of schools, something which the National Rifle Association (NRA) is vowing to do. More guns make me feel less safe. What if other foreign students feel the same?

A brain drain can occur in two ways: when highly-trained graduates leave a country and go to another country, or when the existing talent pool of graduates graduate from universities and are not replaced by fresh talent.

I am talking about the latter: a lack of replenishment in American universities that will lead to a brain drain. What could happen if thousands of graduates stop applying to premier American universities because they disagree with its gun culture permeating schools.

Remember, countries like India and China have plenty of new universities springing up in every city, and many of these universities are top-notch. After all, students in these universities read books written by American and British authors. The Internet has made it possible to learn new topics no matter where you live.

Who could benefit from this phenomenon of phobia towards American universities? Other countries like Canada, England, and Australia that all have good universities.

Canada has similar learning and career opportunities to America. So why go elsewhere? I feel slightly conflicted about not applying to America universities since it has long been my dream, but in the end, I am happy to stay back in Canada where I feel safe.



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