Where Is Home? A Heuristic Journey Exploring the Impact of Emigration

Lu, Yao
Woodard, Wiremu
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Master of Psychotherapy
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Auckland University of Technology

Emigration, an experience of readjustment, relocation, and facing into the newness of other cultures, places, and people. The impetus of the question within this research arises from my relationship to Aotearoa and the everchanging experience of belonging. The research question: ‘How does the emigration experience impact an individual’s sense of belonging?’ focuses on the experience of a Chinese 1.5 generation emigrant journeying across land and sea arriving and learning to assimilate in Aotearoa, New Zealand. This year-long heuristic methodological journey delves deep into my relationship with belonging, impacted by emigrating as a child from China to Aotearoa, New Zealand. The project sets out to understand the impact emigration has had on my internal psyche and how this shapes my relationship with my surrounding family, friends, society, and physical space. Seiden (2009) highlighted the challenges of finding psychoanalytic orientated literature that discussed diverse experiences of longing for home and longing for a homeland no longer inhabited by the individual and immediate family. My exploration will provide another voice that amplifies the emigration journey; though similarities can be observed between each experience, my unique experience will give a greater dimension to the complexities of emigration.

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