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An investigation into travellers repatriating to New Zealand, having completed their OE.

The overseas experience (OE) is an extended journey undertaken by young adults who travel and work abroad. It provides personal development in terms of independence, initiative, cultural awareness and other competencies identified as fundamental to the global careers of the 21st century. However, scholars suggest that re-entry is often harder than leaving. They have examined the phases of transition back to the home country and generated theories like the W-curve of repatriation. Yet the broad issues of OE repatriation, specifically, have not been addressed. This research, therefore, investigates the experiences of OE travellers returning home to New Zealand. The OE has become an important part of New Zealand's culture, and while diaspora initiatives connect valuable expatriate resources, they fail to consider the wider implications of repatriation. For that reason, this research explores the personal experiences of OE returnees through in-depth conversational style interviews, specifically pertaining to relationships with friends and family, employment opportunities, and personal development. The results of the research show that repatriation is an individual and subjective experience; a period of transition occurs, sometimes involving depression, distress, or difficult periods of adjustment, that vary in intensity based on factors like personality, readiness for return, and coping style. This transition comprises first impressions and a comparison of home and overseas, followed by the thought of 'what's next?' Eventually, returnees who remain at home readjust to the culture and adapt their priorities and behaviours until the OE is like a dream . As such, this thesis posits that the return home from travel, and the personal life event experiences of returnees, are fundamental dimensions of the tourism experience that are yet to be fully understood in tourism research. In essence, this thesis examines travel from a holistic perspective, as part of the wider life course of individuals, and argues that researchers should consider the realities of the tourism experience, and adjust their data collection methods accordingly.
Type of thesis
Walter, N. J. (2006). An investigation into travellers repatriating to New Zealand, having completed their OE. (Thesis, Master of Management Studies (MMS)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5217
The University of Waikato
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