Academic expatriation: An investigation into the importance of connections when entering expatriate life

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Connections in Higher Education Vol. 35

July, 2012, 373 pages
Published by
N. Brown, S.M. Jones, & A. Adam
ISBN
0 908557 89 2
Abstract 

This study investigates the issues academics face when they accept positions which label them as ‘expatriate’. It looks at the many challenges they face from a social perspective (Richardson, 2000; Schermerhorn, 1999) and focuses on these in relation to connections; their past and to their present. The aim is to establish whether these connections have a significant bearing on their ability to settle in their new environment. A group of twenty academics based in the United Arab Emirates participated in the study describing their introduction to life in the UAE through semi structured interviews. The findings of the research identify that the strength of connections to the academics’ past existence and how they manage these are shown to have a direct link to their ability to establish themselves in the new country. Equally, in order to embrace the culture a desire and confidence to make these new connections was shown to be vital. Not all of the academics interviewed successfully made these connections. For this group, it was found that the inability to make connections impacted greatly on the description they gave of their relocation experience. The study’s findings are an important addition to the higher education establishments in the UAE and wider Gulf region; however they are also of use to universities worldwide hiring staff who would be classed as expatriate. Equally the findings will be of interest to academics considering a move to a new position outside of their current ‘home’ country.

Keywords: Expatriate academic, relocation, social integration, connections 

Academic expatriation: An investigation into the importance of connections when entering expatriate life

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Sanderson, Kay