A Nigerian student, Modupe Osunkoya, narrated to the BBC how she leveraged on academic pathways to extend her stay in Europe in view of a permanent residency.
She stated that she had over 200 unsuccessful job applications on Linkedln, an online employment service provider. She had completed her Masters degree in Belgium and had a post study work visa for one year. It is imperative for an International student to obtain employment within that period after graduation in order to extend their stay in Belgium.
With three months lefts on her visa she needed to get a job or return to Nigeria. However, she leveraged on another option which is becoming mainstream among International students in Europe. She decided to apply for a PhD. This would be her third post graduate degree since she left Nigeria in 2017.
She stated that while she never originally desired to obtain a doctorate degree, she had no intention of returning to Nigeria given the high unemployment rate in the country. She obtained admission into a doctorate program in Estonia and runs it concurrently with her second Masters degree in Belgium
She is currently doing her PhD in Future Smart Cities at the Tallinn University of Technology. It is a four year paid position and offers her a path to permanent residency after graduation.
International students are now often willing to opt for additional degrees in Europe in order to legally reside in there as opposed to returning to their home countries. This buys them time.
Tuition fees in countries like Belgium and Estonia are affordable compared to the UK and International students are given permission to gain paid employment for up to 20 hours a week.
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