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Homecoming : reverse culture shock : an investigation of New Zealand trained graduates returning home to Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia : a thesis presented in (partial) fulfilment for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Development Studies at Massey University
The aim of the study was to discover and describe how International Graduates experience and adjust to their home country upon re-entry. Sixty seven graduates of New Zealand Universities were interviewed. Twenty eight in Singapore, twenty five in Malaysia and fourteen in Indonesia. The interviews were conducted face to face without undue time constraints. The first phase of each interview was non-directed and simply asked the graduate to describe their experiences of leaving New Zealand and re-entering their home society. In the second phase, the graduate was directed to comment on their experience in the light of the general categories of graduate re-entry adjustment listed in the rather sparse literature on the subject. The first phase elicited information relating to graduate re-entry adjustment from the viewpoint and perceptions of the graduates themselves. Each had a unique experience of re-entry. In the second phase interviewees covered the full range of adjustments mentioned in the literature on graduate re-entry, but the categories listed proved to be indicative rather than exhaustive and some categories featured very little in the lives of interviewees. What stood out in this study were three areas of adjustment common to all who were interviewed, and felt strongly by all. These three areas were drawn from the non directed phase and carried a strong sense of perception amongst those interviewed as being the areas of readjustment for them. Certainly the three areas were universal to all interviewed and although there was overlap with the categories used in phase two of the interviews, it was apparent that such universality made these three the major adjustments graduates face. Therefore, the three categories of: work environment; world view change; and lifestyle expectations are the three major areas focused on in this study. Several non-universal indications were found in this study. In phase II of the interviews a check was made of a category list of indications of potential re-entry problems compiled from a literature search. This enabled some comparison with other studies. Additionally several other non-universal indications were found that are significant in preparing graduates for re-entry and in helping them in the process of re-entry. The findings of this study differ from the findings of other studies due to method used. The prime method used in this study was non-directed face to face interviews in contrast to the few, but major studies, which used surveys and sought answers to directed questions. The method of this study allowed the findings to be described as the perceptions of the graduates involved and the universality of the three major areas across the interviews allowed for the conclusion that these are the areas of adjustment, that graduates returning from New Zealand to their home countries, will encounter. This study describes in detail the three universal areas of work environment, world view change and lifestyle expectations as detailed by the graduates in their interviews. In the discussion of these, some understanding is sought as to why these three stand out. Culture distancing occurring during the sojourn experience is postulated as one possible reason. This study highlights areas for further research: The world view change that occurs in students while studying overseas; The effect on re-entry of the country chosen to study in; and what assists graduates in the re-entry process.