Cultural adjustment in the context of an aid-funded higher education sojourn: an exploratory case study that examines acculturation and re-acculturation challenges for Indonesian PhD Australian scholarship awardees

2017-03-03T01:08:40Z (GMT) by Medica, Karen Marie
In the context of rising global mobility, managers and policy makers need to understand the complexity of cultural adjustment issues experienced by educational and professional sojourners, taking into account the context-specific nature and purpose of sojourn and re-acculturation to the home country. The thesis examines the cultural adjustment challenges in the context of an Australian aid-funded PhD-level higher education program and relates these challenges to existing scholarly literature and conceptual models that seek to explain the nature of sojourner cultural adjustment, including inter-cultural relations and identity change. The study offers a new conceptual framework to understand issues of cultural adjustment, including reentry adjustment, which is under-researched in both the international student and expatriate management literature. The in-depth qualitative study investigates the lived experiences of 41 PhD Australian Development Scholarship awardees, including 27 returned Indonesian academics. The thesis contributes empirical and novel, context-specific findings to existing scholarly international management, international education and intercultural literature. The study extends existing conceptual frameworks to take into account the hybrid and specific nature of these sojourners as both international students and knowledge workers. The study builds on theoretical insights related to adjustment, including motivation, expectancy violations, culture-learning and inter-cultural identity. The findings provide insights that can assist foreign aid and higher education policy makers to enhance the development and educational effectiveness of international higher education programs.