No place like home? : the experiences of South-East Asian international university students in New Zealand and their re-entry into their countries of origin : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctorate of Philosophy in Sociology at Massey University, Albany
This thesis on the experiences of Southeast Asian tertiary international students and their re-entry into their countries of origin falls broadly into three parts. The first part examines the political and philosophical background of export education in New Zealand; the second part examines the perceptions of and about international students in New Zealand; and the third part examines returnees' experiences of re-entry. It charts the shift in education policy from the Colombo Plan through to neo-liberal government policies and current government policies. It identifies and analyses the perceptions of and about Asian migrants and students in New Zealand, historically and contemporarily. It identifies the re-entry transitions, particularly as experienced through disenfranchised grief and changing worldviews. It argues that these transitions challenge returnees' notions of self-identity, self-narrative, and ontological security. In particular, it argues that returnees' sense of 'home' is disrupted and challenged and that a sense of homelessness is a defining feature of the re-entry experience. It is argued that home can be defined beyond geographical boundaries, transnationally and through computer mediated communities. The difficulties of re-entry can be mediated someway through self-reflexive preparation and social support in returnees' countries of origin. Together, these can lead to re-entry being an ultimately positive and enriching experience.