Confronting one of the most hotly debated topics of the time —immigration— Caroline Theoharides, assistant professor of economics, urges her students to look past the pundits, and focus on the specifics and the stories of those who leave home to find better lives.
She teaches Econ 223: “Economics of Migration,” which looks at why people migrate and how their migration economically affects the countries they leave and the countries they migrate to.
“I’m always nervous teaching this,” Theoharides says—especially this academic year because the topic is so heated nationally. “So, I try to really just make it be about them [the students].”
Ever since her graduate school days at the University of Michigan, Theoharides has studied the Philippines, one of the world's largest exporters of migrant workers. “You're faced with the choice: you’re home but you can't feed your kids, or you've got to go work in the Gulf for the next 20 years, and someone else is going to raise your kids,” she says.
The words of one Filipina especially resonate with her: “Nobody wants to go, home is always better, but this is the option that you have.”