June 14, 2019
College Grad Flees U.S. To Escape Student Loan Debt

Many young adults feel trapped by their student loans, which currently amount to trillions of dollars across the United States. Chad Albright was one of those young adults -- until he took an unexpected approach to escape his debt -- literally. According to The York Daily Record, the Pennsylvania native fled the country to avoid his monthly payments.

"I had to escape this debtors' prison," he said. "That's what America became to me, a prison. So I left."

"College ruined my life."
Albright graduated in 2007 from Millersville University. The timing coincided with an economic crisis dubbed the Great Recession. This meant that Albright struggled to find work in his chosen field of public relations.

"Two years of nonstop interviews and nothing," Albright said.

To make ends meet during that time, Albright lived at home and worked in a pizza shop. His job at the pizza shop was one that he had had from high school through college, and did not pay much.

"I was expected to make a $400 loan payment every month, but I had no money, no sustainable income," he said.

His debts amount to over $30,000.

Man holding money in front of computer
Unsplash | Artem Beliaikin

During this time, Albright confessed that he fell into a deep depression, with worries about his economic future. However, he saw a light at the end of the tunnel when he saw a news program on CNN that featured a woman who taught children English in Hong Kong.

The woman explained that she had no desire to return to the United States, which sparked Albright's idea to leave the country -- and his debt -- behind. He discussed the idea with his parents, who were supportive. According to Albright, they had seen how much he had suffered and were hopeful that an escape would give him a new lease on life.

"There was no future for me in the United States... And the American dream? Yeah, it doesn't exist."
Albright moved to the Chinese province of Zhongshan in 2011 and loved his new job teaching children. Though his salary was $1,000 a month, the substantially lower cost of living in the Asian nation, as well as the fact that his housing was covered, allowed Albright to enjoy eating out, traveling, and other previously impossible expenditures. He has since moved to the Ukraine.

However, financial advisors warn that the solution has some severe consequences. Since Albright never paid his debts, he has a poor credit score and cannot make any major purchases, like a car or house. Albright also acknowledges that it will be difficult to find a wife that will be okay with his financial black mark, as well as the fact that it is difficult -- if not impossible -- for him to return home.