Skip to comments.These Americans fled the country to escape their giant student debt
Posted on 10/27/2018 4:44:26 PM PDT by Simon Green
Chad Haag considered living in a cave to escape his student debt. He had a friend doing it. But after some plotting, he settled on what he considered a less risky plan. This year, he relocated to a jungle in India. "I've put America behind me," Haag, 29, said.
He now lives in a concrete house in the village of Uchakkada for $50 a month. His backyard is filled with coconut trees and chickens. "I saw four elephants just yesterday," he said, adding that he hopes to never set foot in a Walmart again.
His debt is currently on its way to default. But more than 9,000 miles away from Colorado, Haag said, his student loans don't feel real anymore.
"It's kind of like, if a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it really exist?" he said.
The philosophy major concedes that his student loan balance of around $20,000 isn't as large as the burden shouldered by many other borrowers, but he said his difficultly finding a college-level job in the U.S. has made that debt oppressive nonetheless. "If you're not making a living wage," Haag said, "$20,000 in debt is devastating."
He struggled to come up with the $300 a month he owed. The first work he found after he graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 2011 when the recession's effects were still palpable was on-again, off-again hours at a factory, unloading trucks and constructing toy rockets on an assembly line. He then went back to school to pursue a master's degree in comparative literature at the University of Colorado Boulder. After that, he tried to make it as an adjunct professor, but still he could barely scrape a living together with the one class a semester he was assigned.
Haag had some hope restored when he landed full-time work as a medical courier in Denver, delivering urine and blood samples to hospitals. However, he was disappointed to find that he brought home just $1,700 a month. He had little money left over after he paid his student loan bill. He couldn't afford an apartment in the city, where rents have been rising sharply. He lived with his mother and rarely went out with friends.
"I couldn't make the math work in America," Haag said. Milestones that seemed like pipe dreams back home, like starting a family, and owning a house, are now on his horizon. This year he married an Indian citizen, a professor at a local college. He now has a five-year spousal visa, and plans to renew it when the time comes.
Adjusting to a new country, he admitted, has not been entirely easy. "Some toilets here are holes in the ground you squat over," Haag said. Recently, he ate spoiled goat meat at a local restaurant and landed in the emergency room.
Still, he said, "I have a higher standard of living in a Third World country than I would in America, because of my student loans."
The people who put a gun to his head and forced him to take out those loans should be prosecuted!
He doubled down on stupid by following a philosophy degree up with a master’s in creative writing.
Must be a great demand for Philosophy grads in India. /s
sorry i don’t see how it’s really freeing to run from obligation, seems he’s just self deluded and at some point he will be facin git in some capacity.
Excuse me, comparative literature.
Ive got some: hes a nut.
Elephants remind him of Walmart, LOL!
How can anyone think gov paying for deadbeats to go to college is a good idea? ( no I mean someone besides obama)
Anyone who lends $20,000 to an 18-year-old for any purpose ought to be holding the bag for the loss - alone.
The problem is not that 18-year-olds are defaulting on the debt. That was inevitable. The problem was that these loans were made at all, which is what people who have been paying attention to the issue have been saying for decades now.
It’s funny, when the Boomers went to college it was practically free, or affordable enough to be paid on a part-time job while going to school.
Why does it cost as much as a house now?
In exploring these questions, not in demonizing defaulters who were largely coerced via immense social pressure into signing documents they did not understand, is where you will find the truth of the matter.
“Unlike when he was delivering greasy boxes of pizza, he found his work meaningful and fulfilling.” Remember, all work is not rewarding by virtue of being work to the snowflake generation.
Note to self: Check the code date on the goat meat.
Way back when I went to college....I knew what I could make when I got out..because I researched it!!
Their Baby Boomer parents and Greatest Generation grandparents put in place policies that sent the price of a college education through the roof by loaning money to anyone who asked for it while at the same time requiring a college degree for every job that paid over ten bucks an hour. Any job that didn't require a college degree was either shipped overseas or replaced by imported slave labor who worked for peanuts.
There's blame to go around.
Because of the government loans.
And he's available for interviews? Guess the media was fresh out of stories about people getting crushed by rogue elevators in China.
There are large departments that teach subjects and grant majors where there are almost no jobs.
I wonder what he does for a living now to afford the $50 rent?
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