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Master's thesis on Repatriation Adjustment

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PLinda
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Master's thesis on Repatriation Adjustment

Postby PLinda » Mon, 25 May 2015 7:56 pm

Dear all,
At the moment, I am conducting a study as part of my master’s thesis at the University of Mannheim, Germany.

The study’s topic is "Factors related to Repatriation Adjustment" and it examines the reintegration of expatriates after having returned back to the home country. I would highly appreciate your support, if you either participate in the study as a former expatriate, or forward the link to another former expatriate.

People from all over the world may participate. It does not matter in which country or how long they stayed abroad, as long as they have returned home again. Even if the international assignment ended several years ago, participation is still welcome.
Participating will take about 15 minutes.

https://www.soscisurvey.de/RepatriationAdjustment/

Thank you very much for your support!
Linda

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Re: Master's thesis on Repatriation Adjustment

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 25 May 2015 7:58 pm

Well, that leaves me out of it.

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Re: Master's thesis on Repatriation Adjustment

Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 25 May 2015 11:40 pm

I tried to do this survey... I really did... after 8 years in Singapore I've been back in Houston for 2+ years.

But... I can't do it... where to start?

How about the very first questions... Food... with answers ranging from 'not adjusted at all' to completely adjusted. Adjusted to what? Texas BBQ? Drinking coffee? Both Singapore and Houston offer a vast choice of dining experiences... what's to adjust? The real question you want to ask is: Overall, is the food quality in your home country better than, worse than, or about the same as the country you left?

And then, on the first page, with respect to nationals* (*Home country nationals' refers to the people who live in the country you returned to when you finished the assignment), there are no fewer than three questions...

a) Interacting with home country nationals* on a day-to-day basis
b) Socializing with home country nationals*
c) Interacting with home country nationals* outside of work
d) Speaking with home country nationals*

Someone want to clarify what this is all about, please? If I am speaking am I interacting? If I'm at Home Depot buying stuff, am I interacting outside of work or am I speaking? If I'm talking to my neighbor about her new garden, and I doing a), b), c), or d)? It's nonsensical.

How can I tell you that I am not very happy at all living in the midst of teabilly right wing assholes who think unlicensed open carry of weapons and teaching creationism as science is a good thing? Am I maladjusted? Or do I just not like putting up with ignorant asshats? Would I be happier living in a more liberal Oregon? Probably... but what's that got to do with being 'adjusted'?

And then how about something like: "Performance standards and expectations". What does that mean to be 'adjusted' or 'not adjusted'? Am I not adjusted because I'm a lazy shit and don't like being criticized for me work? And the underlying assumption, that standards are different, isn't necessarily correct at all. If standards are the same, what's to adjust.

And then page 2 seems to come straight out of a Psych 101 text book, with such questions as "When I make plans, I am certain I can make them work" or "If something looks too complicated, I will not even bother to try it". Where's the context? For example, I may not be certain that I can make my plans work but the risk/reward ratio suggests that it is worth a try anyway. What's the point of the question, then? And how should I answer it?

Or the second question: "If something looks too complicated, I will not even bother to try it." Damn right I'm not going to try something if it looks too complicated... like trying to sell Russian Ural motorcycles and side cars to the Indonesian army along with a parts depot and maintenance contract... I actually looked into this... way complicated for a beginner.

So... how to answer the question... on the basis of being a realist... or by taking the underlying assumption of the question which is, "do you just blow shit off"?

Page 3 is just more of the psych test poop... "Failure just makes me try harder", or "I feel insecure about my ability to do things" or "I do not seem capable of dealing with most problems that come up in life"... are you trying to see if I am depressed about returning to my 'home country'?

And then... page 4... begins with "It is difficult for me to make new friends". WTF? I pick and choose with whom I socialize quite carefully. Most people don't make the cut. So, yes, it is difficult for me to make new friends because not just any old cretin gets invited into my circle. But, that's not what you are really asking are you? You're asking if I am a self identified social misfit... maybe that's why I'm not adjusting well as I might have answered on the first page?

I look at one more page... and I cannot bear to proceed... it's about my job... how do you know I even have a job... or that it's content and activities even fall into the neat little boxes you have created for me to answer.

Good luck... maybe someone else thinks this is a survey worth taking... not I.

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Re: Master's thesis on Repatriation Adjustment

Postby JR8 » Tue, 26 May 2015 7:31 am

Lol.... don't hold back Eagle hehehe....
It's unfortunate in a way, as I think there's a lot of goodwill on hand at this forum, but with the likes of such student polls, they're often so badly designed that even when you try and answer, you're part way in and just realise it's pointless.

A part of the problem is the questions are pitched at 'FTs', but from the perspective of a local (or someone of an other country/culture), and so many don't fit, and hence are unanswerable. -> 'How much you want your parents and grandparents to come live with you in Singapore?'
Flippant I know. A point though is the questions are often not neutral, they presume an idea, and the possible answers limit you to the authors preconception of that 'probable idea'.

A while back I suggested someone wanting to do a survey like this might want to float their entire Q+As first. Then people could give them a sanity check, feedback taken, adjustments made, ... then, when that's in some kind of order the poll could be officially launched.

[Thanks for the heads-up SEagle, saves me some time bothering trying]
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Re: Master's thesis on Repatriation Adjustment

Postby Brah » Tue, 26 May 2015 8:22 am

I personally would like to see the findings of such a survey, but not when the questions are posed like this, because I don't know what they would mean in reality.

Maybe we should come up with our own survey and complete it when we leave..... Or once before and once leaving.

For me there is very much the feeling of the possibility I will regret going back, not completely, but that the things I would be giving up, like the lack of open carry, healthcare practices, good infrastructure, very good safety, etc. would outweigh the things I gain, like better food, cheaper cost of living, other freedoms, etc.
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Re: Master's thesis on Repatriation Adjustment

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 26 May 2015 10:24 am

@JR8 - I realize that my comments could be considered as rather acerbic... and "Linda" has the possibility of becoming a real good researcher by taking all of our comments to heart.

@Brah - Agree entirely... had I finished the survey, I really question the relevance of any research produced.

As a former expat, I have a sense of the place where Linda is coming from, and I judge that the approach is all wrong. Adjustment is far more complicated, and yet, it can be addressed with the right questions.

For example, I feel a sense of loss that I never expected... much worse than what I felt when I left for Singapore. I lost friends that I will probably never see again in person... at least I had the expectation of seeing my Houston friends again in the future.

I feel a sense of loss leaving a "foreign" culture (no pun intended) with its idiosyncrasies and oddities... to return to something I know well. I feel a sense of loss that my adventure has ended.

Then again, reality enters into the equation... can I retire in Singapore... will the changing economic landscape permit me to earn a living and pay my rent. What about the desires of my wife? What about seeing children, nieces/nephews, grandchildren before they are all grown up?

How do I feel about my cultural changes? That's tougher... I'm in a place I don't want to be. How do I feel about people who aren't really interested in my travels and experiences because they have no way of relating to them?

How about returning to the US with the idea of finding a great job, based on a great deal of international and global experience, only to find that no one gives a shit because I am older than 50 and ageism is rampant in the USA?

Those are the things that affect my 'repatriation adjustment'. Rewrite a survey, Linda, and let me try again.

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Re: Master's thesis on Repatriation Adjustment

Postby JR8 » Tue, 26 May 2015 1:01 pm

It's ironic how some of the bigger kernels of the actual/unasked truth get revealed through this... :)

Following on from Eagle:

You go home, but home isn't the same. So you return to what you've had in your heart/head all along whilst away, and it simply no longer exists, so much has changed. I get a real sense of mourning from that, and a transitory desire to return from whence I came, i.e. where I was just shortly before, and was often quite happy to leave. It leaves you in a ... kind of 'No man's land'.

No one is interested in where you have been or what you have done. Not your friends, not your family. It's rather like your time away was a line on a resume, no elaboration required or wanted.
I don't know if this is because they feel they can't relate to it, or, they think you're somehow bragging, or what. [NB: I live with lower 'status' here than at home, my life here is a material step down, so it's not an income thing - rather it seems to be more of a 'can't relate/so don't tell me thing'].
Sometimes you have to sit there like the last xYrs didn't happen, and you and your experience are the same as -xYrs ago.

re: SG specifically, and leaving here.
There's the climate thing. The shock lasts about a month IME. After that, when you remember that there are things like sweaters and coats, being out of this climate is actually pretty damned good.
How you go home and everyone talks to you so much - cab-drivers, shop-keepers, neighbours, there's so much more social interaction, you realise how private/insulated people are here. It's nice in a way, though again you have to relearn almost a script of what they want to hear, all 'Singapore Slings and how you must have often gone to The Raffles, and how you coped with the heat'. It's their preconceptions, vs your experience... you realise, they're asking a question, but the focus is actually about them, just affirming what they want to hear . Anything more said in reply is very quickly Too Much Information, and very unwelcome.


Hahaha.... :lol:
And my next exit is in .... 2 months....
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Master's thesis on Repatriation Adjustment

Postby x9200 » Wed, 27 May 2015 8:27 am

Regardless some Linda's question that are indeed at best confusing, Linda is under some department of Human Resource Management and Leadership. I think she is probably targeting short-term expats changing locations under the same company. I believe majority of expats are like this and this is a different scenario to what most of regulars on this board fall under.
I may be wrong but for me the intention of this survey is more towards the problems associated with sending a manager oversees and having him efficiently implanted back home after 1-3 years.

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Re: Master's thesis on Repatriation Adjustment

Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 27 May 2015 9:05 am

x9200 wrote:Regardless some Linda's question that are indeed at best confusing, Linda is under some department of Human Resource Management and Leadership. I think she is probably targeting short-term expats changing locations under the same company. I believe majority of expats are like this and this is a different scenario to what most of regulars on this board fall under.
I may be wrong but for me the intention of this survey is more towards the problems associated with sending a manager oversees and having him efficiently implanted back home after 1-3 years.


OK... mebbe... so how does a question like, "It is difficult for me to make new friends", fall into your scenario?

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Re: Master's thesis on Repatriation Adjustment

Postby x9200 » Wed, 27 May 2015 10:15 am

Strong Eagle wrote:
x9200 wrote:Regardless some Linda's question that are indeed at best confusing, Linda is under some department of Human Resource Management and Leadership. I think she is probably targeting short-term expats changing locations under the same company. I believe majority of expats are like this and this is a different scenario to what most of regulars on this board fall under.
I may be wrong but for me the intention of this survey is more towards the problems associated with sending a manager oversees and having him efficiently implanted back home after 1-3 years.


OK... mebbe... so how does a question like, "It is difficult for me to make new friends", fall into your scenario?

Haha. Cross-screening your general personality/social fit. Otherwise see the first sentence above. The survey is pretty approach inconsistent and not really systematic. It looks to me like it was built form a number of different surveys.

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Re: Master's thesis on Repatriation Adjustment

Postby Brah » Thu, 28 May 2015 8:21 pm

There is so much I want to say on this thread I don't know where to begin...
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Re: Master's thesis on Repatriation Adjustment

Postby JR8 » Thu, 28 May 2015 8:28 pm

What's that song lyric, 'Shall I start at the beginning?' ..... ;)
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Master's thesis on Repatriation Adjustment

Postby Brah » Sat, 30 May 2015 3:58 pm

JR8 wrote:What's that song lyric, 'Shall I start at the beginning?' ..... ;)

ok...will start with yours and work backwards to SE's, this will take a few iterations and I need to be in the zone for this, which I'm not really ATM...

JR8 wrote:You go home, but home isn't the same. So you return to what you've had in your heart/head all along whilst away, and it simply no longer exists, so much has changed.

This is one concern, to go back, and regret doing that, and effectively closing the door on coming back, because it is difficult to do.

With so many changes, and the change in my age, there are real concerns about being able to work, the health care situation, the sharp divisions between right and left and neither being anything sane anymore, and other financial concerns.

Plus the general fit for me, to be back around an largely un-international demographic which I may not be able to relate to very well.


JR8 wrote:Sometimes you have to sit there like the last xYrs didn't happen, and you and your experience are the same as -xYrs ago.

Right

JR8 wrote:re: SG specifically, and leaving here.
There's the climate thing. The shock lasts about a month IME. After that, when you remember that there are things like sweaters and coats, being out of this climate is actually pretty damned good.

I expect I might differ from you on this, and that makes it one more reason to regret leaving.

JR8 wrote:How you go home and everyone talks to you so much - cab-drivers, shop-keepers, neighbours, there's so much more social interaction, you realise how private/insulated people are here.

Now this, this is one of the key things on the plus side of leaving, and is a huge factor. So much is lost when one is out of one's true environment. I may no longer be able to fully relate to the people's back home perspectives on life and the world, but there is a much more natural way of relating to them as fellow human beings, and I have grown very weary of the contrary.
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