To Stay or Return? An International Graduate Dilemma
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This study presents a microscopic part of the global migration trend down to a personal experience by focusing on Indonesian graduates’ decision either to stay in New Zealand or to return home after graduation from local universities. The main target of this study is to understand the outweighing reasons to make a choice in favour of the study location over the return flight to Indonesia. Drilling down, we will also take look at New Zealand as an educational host country and overall environment to produce and retain its skilled immigrants that might benefit the nation's work force. With this exploratory study, the researcher's purpose is to uncover the primary factors that pressurise Indonesian graduates in New Zealand to return home. This is done by analysing five Indonesian graduates’ migration experiences to study and settle down in New Zealand rather than returning home after accomplishing their international studies. The study implemented a snowballing-sampling technique to recruit these participants as the primary sources of the information. The author conducted semi-structured interviews to gain realistic personal insights for the further analysis. The emphasis was made on these five Indonesian graduates’ transitional journey from the international student status through graduation in New Zealand and up to successful employment and settlement. Through an interpretivism method and qualitative thematic analysis of the verbal data, the main factors affecting the decision of graduates were identified. Namely, these factors are (1) self-identification together with supportive relationships, i.e. family and friends, (2) reconciliation to the host country circumstances, and (3) professional opportunities in New Zealand. These mutually dependent three elements contributed to the success of these five Indonesians to achieve the personal desire of settling abroad. In acknowledgement that this research is based on a small sample size and investigates only successful graduates’ experiences, further studies can focus on more diverse set of participants and multilateral reasons to avoid survivorship bias.