Jonathan Assayag, 29, a Brazilian-American born in Rio de Janeiro and raised in South Florida, returned to Brazil last year. A Harvard Business School graduate, he had been working at an Internet company in Silicon Valley and unsuccessfully trying to develop a business.
“I spent five months spending my weekends at Starbucks, trying to figure out a start-up in America,” he recalled.
All the while, Harvard friends urged him to make a change. “They were saying: ‘Jon, what are you doing? Go to Brazil and start a business there!’ ” he said.
Relocating to São Paulo, he became an “entrepreneur in residence” at a venture capital firm. He is starting an online eyewear business. “I speak the language, I get the culture, I understand how people do business,” he said.
Calvin Chin was born in Michigan and used to live in San Francisco, where he worked at technology start-ups and his wife was an interior decorator. Mr. Chin’s mother was from China, as were his paternal grandparents. His wife’s parents were from Taiwan.
They are now in Shanghai, where Mr. Chin has started two companies — an online loan service for students and an incubator for technology start-ups. His wife, Angie Wu, has worked as a columnist and television anchor.
The couple have two children, who were born in China.
“The energy here is phenomenal,” Mr. Chin said.
Reetu Jain, 36, an Indian-American raised in Texas, was inspired to move to India while taking time off from her auditing job to travel abroad. Everywhere she went, she said, she met people returning to their countries of origin and felt the “creative energy” in the developing world.
She and her husband, Nehal Sanghavi, who had been working as a lawyer in the United States, moved to Mumbai in January 2011. Embracing a long-held passion, she now works as a dance instructor and choreographer and has acted in television commercials and a Bollywood film.
“We’re surrounded by people who just want to try something new,” Ms. Jain said.
For many of these émigrés, the decision to relocate has confounded — and even angered — their immigrant parents.
When Jason Y. Lee, who was born in Taiwan and raised in the United States, told his parents during college that he wanted to visit Hong Kong, his father refused to pay for the plane ticket.
“His mind-set was, ‘I worked so hard to bring you to America and now you want to go back to China?’ ” recalled Mr. Lee, 29.
Since then, Mr. Lee has started an import-export business between the United States and China; studied in Shanghai; worked for investment banks in New York and Singapore; and created an international job-search Web site in India. He works for an investment firm in Singapore. His father’s opposition has softened.
Margareth Tran — whose family followed a path over two generations from China to the United States by way of Cambodia, Thailand, Hong Kong and France — said her father was displeased by her decision in 2009 to relocate.
“It’s kind of crazy for him that I wanted to move to China,” said Ms. Tran, 26, who was born in France and moved to the United States at age 11. “He wants me to have all the benefits that come from a first-world country.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/16/us/mo ... _LO_MST_FB