Regional youth leave home lured by city lights but some dreams are shattered

0
28

Social researcher Dr Candice Boyd says young regional people report a complex set of emotional and social reasons for leaving home, and some report bullying in their city workplace.

University of Melbourne research fellow Candice Boyd interviewed 50 young people from Port Lincoln, SA, Port Hedland, WA and Griffith in NSW aged between 18 and 34 to understand the complex and emotional side which informs a young person’s decision to either move away or stay in the country.

Dr Boyd, an artist geographer with a background in clinical psychology, has received a research grant to study ‘Engaging youth in regional Australia’.

She said her findings challenged the long-standing assumption that young people leave rural areas because the city represented a better life with more opportunities.

“With a lot of the stories there was a promise of the city that was not fulfilled, so they expected it to be something, they get there and they don’t have good experiences,” Dr Boyd said.

Dr Boyd said she chose the three regional areas based on statistics and opportunities.

“All three places have youth-out migration, so there’s more people leaving than coming to the regions between 18 and 34 years of age.

“All three areas have really strong local economies, and there are industries that support these regions — so if there are job opportunities, why do you choose to leave?”

City anonymity, social life

Dr Boyd said she interviewed some young people that could not wait to get out of a small town and they would not consider coming back to the regions.

“For those making a decision to leave, feelings of being restricted or suffocated in a regional environment were common,” she said.

“For some, the urban lifestyle offered a comfortable anonymity and privacy and for others it meant access to a bigger and more exciting social life.”

Artists contributed to Dr Boyd’s travelling exhibition and the Regional Australia Institute in Canberra.(

ABC Eyre Peninsula: Evelyn Leckie

)

The academic also found in many cases, particularly with participants in their late twenties and early thirties, that regional people would experience the city and choose to return home.

“They wanted to give their children the kind of childhood they had — feeling safe, secure and part of the community.”

Stigma of staying

Dr Boyd said many young people faced pressures and cultural expectations to leave regional areas.

“It was quite difficult for people who chose to stay, feeling like they were letting their parents down, that they were somehow not as good as the people leaving to go to university,” she said.

“There’s a cultural expectation that you need to leave to better yourself, and a lot of regional people grow up with the expectation on them.

“They talked about receiving a lot of pressure from teachers leaving, saying, ‘I had such a good time at university, you should go.”

The academic said societal shifts in conversations about a young person’s plans could make a significant difference.

Credit: Source link

#

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here