When expectations meet reality : exploring Chinese tertiary graduates’ post-study transitional experience and migratory outcomes in New Zealand : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
The Author
International students’ post-academic mobility in the host country is an under-researched area. The purpose of this study is to explore Chinese tertiary graduates’ pre-arrival expectations and their transitional experience from students to permanent residents in New Zealand. The study assesses the challenges and barriers facing Chinese graduates during the transitional stage and their associated strategies and tactics to tackle those problems. Drawing on the data from 25 semi-structured interviews, the study finds that Chinese graduates’ expectations shifted and evolved during the process of seeking employment and adapting to the workplace culture in the host country. Participants securing employment through different effective strategies and tactics had successfully adapted to the workplace culture. However, there was a discrepancy between their expectations and experience manifested in insufficient pre-arrival information about the host country, visa constraints, recruiters’ bias and stereotypes, and exploitation by co-national employers. Meanwhile, despite experiencing more difficulties during the post-study transition, female Chinese graduates demonstrated high adaptability to local workplaces which allowed them to integrate into New Zealand’s workplace culture swiftly. The unmet expectations pushed some graduates to either return to their home country or migrate to a different country. These results provide valuable insights into the study of international students’ post-study mobility by analysing their migrants’ perspectives, expectations and personal experience in the host country. In addition, the study makes recommendations for stakeholders in the education industry on how to collaborate on improving international graduates’ post-academic experience.
Chinese tertiary graduates, expectations, post-study mobility, employment seeking, two-step migration