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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Reentry: a proactive collaborative study: the long term needs of an individual during reacculturation Smith, Janet Ellen


The experiences of many sojourners returning home after living abroad has often resulted in difficulties associated with reacculturation. Having conducted training for and experiencing reentry myself on several occasions, I recognized how unprepared we are for the circumstances which present themselves to us upon returning home. Reentry programs and studies in the past have generally identified the causal effects and provided suggestions in an attempt to enhance returnees' acculturation. Debriefing or reorientation workshops have been offered previous to arrival home or within the first few months afterwards. However, the long term needs of the individual returnee have not been examined. The purpose, of this study was to investigate the long term needs of the individual returnees which enable them to develop proactive strategies for successful reacculturation. Using Collaborative Participatory Research, the returnee and I co-investigated Tanya's story. We examined her transitional experiences as the story unfolded through the phases of predeparture, arrival home and honeymoon period, adjustment and final integration. This investigation consisted of nine 1.5 hour interviews. These occurred in three series, each containing three interviews which were two to three months, five to six months, and nine to ten months after the returnee's arrival home. Through self reflection and self assessment the returnee was able to identify her own needs of readaptation and develop proactive coping strategies. She was able to recognize that her difficult experiences were part of a growthful experience and that her reacculturation is still on-going. The final chapter of this study briefly examines and recommends further study for the issues of concern which have emerged as a result of this investigation. This study found that returnees can benefit from an ongoing exploration of their long term needs preferably in co-operation with an experienced support person. Also that past values, perceptions and life experiences are inextricably woven together to create a total experience for the returnee. While returnees experiences are universally similar, they are at the same time uniquely individual. Further research is needed to investigate the aspects of the long term influences and effects of reentry.

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