Repatriation of Kurdish Students and Adjustment Issues

  • Enakshi SenguptaEmail author
  • Vijay Kapur


International student mobility has been generally focused on the flow from home country to host country; less attention has been paid by research scholars as to what happens after graduation mainly after they return to their home country, an issue often referred to as “reverse mobility” (Lee and Kim in High Educ 59(5):627–643, 2010). This article explores the reverse adjustment process of Kurdish students. Twenty-five students were surveyed and qualitative interviews were conducted with them, mainly from the city of Duhok. The results were analyzed to form some insights into the under-researched phenomenon of international student repatriation with a focus on Kurdistan. The findings highlighted the critical concerns and issues for the participants. The article develops a holistic approach to analyze and understand repatriation challenges which will further help government, education providers, employers, and society at large.


International student mobility Higher education Kurdish students Adjustment process 


  1. Adelman, M. B. (1988). Cross-cultural adjustment. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 12(3), 183–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Almor, T., & Yeheskel, O. (2013). Footloose and fancy-free: Sojourning entrepreneurs in China. Journal of enterprising communities, 7(4), 354–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bartram, B. (2007). The sociocultural needs of international students in higher education: A comparison of staff and student views. Journal of Studies in International Education, 11(2), 205–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Black, J. S., & Gregersen, H. B. (1991). When Yankee comes home: Factors related to expatriate and spouse adjustment. Journal of International Business Studies, 22(4), 671698.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Black, J. S., Gregersen, H. B., & Medenhall, M. E. (1992). Towards a theoretical framework of repatriation adjustment. Journal of International Business Studies, 23(4), 737–761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bonache, J., & Brewster, C. (2001). Knowledge transfer and the management of expatriation. Thunderbird International Business Review, 43(1), 145–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boyatzis, R. E. (1998). Transforming qualitative information. Cleveland: Sage.Google Scholar
  8. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, 77–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Butcher, A. (2002). A grief observed: Grief experiences of East Asian international students returning to their countries of origin. Journal of Studies in International Education, 6(4), 354–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Butcher, A. (2003). Whither international students? University reforms in New Zealand 1984–1999. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 38(2), 151–164.Google Scholar
  11. Butcher, M. (2011). Managing culture change: Reclaiming synchronicty in a mobile world. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  12. Cigerli, S. (1998). Les Réfugiés Kurdes d’Irak en Turquie: Gaz, exodes, camps (Kurdish Refugees of Iraq and Turkey: Gas, Migrations, Camps). Paris, France: Harmattan.Google Scholar
  13. Cox, J. B. (2004). The role of communication, technology, and cultural identity in repatriation adjustment. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 28(1), 201–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Finn, M. G. (2007). Using NSF data on scientists and engineers to estimate stay rates of foreign doctorate recipients. In Paper presented at the Workshop for Using Human Resource Data from Science Resources Statistics, National Science Foundation, VA.Google Scholar
  15. Firestone, W. (1987). Meaning in method. The rhetoric of quantitative and qualitative research. Educational Researcher, 16(7).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Furham, A. (2012). Culture shock. Journal of Psychology and Education, 7(1), 9–22.Google Scholar
  17. Gibson, S. D. (2005). In the eye of the perfect storm: Re-imagining, reforming and refocusing intelligence for risk, globalisation and changing societal expectation. Risk Management, 7(4), 23–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gregersen, H. B., & Stroh, L. K. (1997). Coming home to the arctic cold: Antecedents to Finnish expatriates and spouse repatriation adjustment. Personnel Psychology, 50(3), 635654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Grojean, Olivier. (2011). Bringing the organisation back. In: Pro-Kurdish Protest in Europe. In M. Casier & J. Jongerden (Eds.), Nationalisms and politics in Turkey, Routledge studies in middle Eastern politics, 26 (pp. 182–197). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Hammer, M. R., Hart, W., & Rogan, R. (1998). Can you go home again? An analysis of the repatriation of corporate managers and spouses. Management International Review, 38(1), 67–86.Google Scholar
  21. Hannafin, R., & Savenye, W. (1993). Technology in the classroom: The teacher ‘s new role and resistance to it. Educational Technology, 33(6), 26–31.Google Scholar
  22. Harvey, D. (1995). Globalization in question. Rethinking Marxism, 8(4), 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hassanpour, A., & Mojab, S. (2005). Kurdish diaspora. In M. Ember, C. R. Ember, & I. Skoggard (Eds.). Encyclopedia of diasporas, part I (pp. 214–224).Google Scholar
  24. Hiltrop, J. M., & Janssens, M. (1990). Expatriation: Challenges and recommendations. European Management Journal, 8(1), 19–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hoepfl, M. C. (1997). Choosing qualitative research: A primer for technology education researchers. Journal of Technology Education, 9(1), 47–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hottola, P. (2004). Culture confusion: Intercultural adaptation in tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 31(2), 447–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Howe-Walsh, L., & Schyns, B. (2010). Self-initiated expatriation: implications for HRM. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 21(2), 260–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Howitt, D. (2010). Introduction to qualitative methods in psychology, Loughborough University.Google Scholar
  29. Inkson, K., & Myers, B. A. (2003). “The big OE”: self-directed travel and career development. Career Development International, 8(4), 170–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jack, D., & Stage, V. (2005). Success strategies for expats. T + D, 59(1), 48–54.Google Scholar
  31. Jassawalla, A., Connolly, T., & Slojkowski, L. (2004). Issues of the effective repatriation: A model and managerial implications. Advanced Management Journal, 69(2), 38–46.Google Scholar
  32. Jefferson, G. (2004). Glossary of transcript symbols with an introduction. In G. H. Lerner (Ed). Conversation analysis: Studies from the first generation (pp. 13–31). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Jin, M., Lee, S., Yoon, H., Kim, N., & Oh, H. (2006). Careers of Korean PhDs with degrees of foreign countries and the HRD policy of the highly skilled in Korea. Seoul, Korea: Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training.Google Scholar
  34. Jokinen, T., Brewster, C., & Suutari, V. (2008). Career capital during international work experiences: Contrasting self-initiated expatriate experiences and assigned expatriation. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 19(6), 979–998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kauffmann, N. L., Martin, J. N., Weaver, H. D., & Weaver, J. (1992). Students abroad: Strangers at home, education for a global society. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press.Google Scholar
  36. Kim, Y. Y. (2016). Sojourner relationships. The international encyclopedia of interpersonal communication.Google Scholar
  37. Kohonen, E. (2008). The impact of international assignments on expatriates’ identity and career aspirations: Reflections upon re-entry. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 24(4), 320–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kuching, S. (2011). Internationalization and integration of international students at University of Twente.Google Scholar
  39. Le, A & LaCost B. (2017). Vietnamese graduate international student repatriates: Reverse adjustment. Journal of International Students 7(3), 449–466 (2017). ISSN: 2162-3104 Print/ ISSN: 2166-3750.Google Scholar
  40. Lee, J.J., & Kim, D. (2010). Brain gain or brain circulation? US doctoral recipients returning to South Korea. Higher Education, 59(5), 627–643.Google Scholar
  41. Liu, C. H. (2005). The effects of repatriates’ overseas assignment experiences on turnover intentions. Journal of American Academy of Business, 7(1), 124–130.Google Scholar
  42. Long, K. (2011). Refugees, repatriation and liberal citizenship. History of European Ideas, 37(2), 232–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Masgoret, A. M. (2006). Examining the role of language attitudes and motivation on the sociocultural adjustment and the job performance of sojourners in Spain. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 30(3), 311–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mooradian, B. L. (2004). Going home when home does not feel like home: Reentry, expectancy violation theory, self-construal, and psychological and social support. Intercultural Communication Studies, 13, 37–50.Google Scholar
  45. Neill, J. (2007). Qualitative versus quantitative research: Key points in a classic debate.Google Scholar
  46. Nielsen, K. (2014). Study abroad: Perspectives on transitions to adulthood. Doctoral dissertation, University of Sussex. Retrieved from
  47. Saxenian, A. (2005). From brain drain to brain circulation: Transnational communities and regional upgrading in India and China. Studies in Comparative International Development, 40(2), 35–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sengupta, E (2015). Integration in an international university in Malaysia. Ph.D. thesis, University of Nottingham.Google Scholar
  49. Sheikhmous, O (1990). ‘The kurds in exile’, Yearbook of the Kurdish academy (pp. 88–114) Ratingen.Google Scholar
  50. Sussman, N. M. (2002). Testing the cultural identity model of the cultural transition cycle: Sojourners return home. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 26(4), 391–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Suutari, V., & Brewster, C. (2003). Repatriation: Empirical evidence from a longitudinal study of careers and expectations among Finnish expatriates. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 14(7), 1132–1151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Szkudlarek, B. A. (2008). Spinning the web of reentry: (Re)connecting reentry training theory and practice. Dissertation/thesis, erasmus research institute of management, Rotterdam School of Management Erasmus University. Retrieved from
  53. Wahlbeck, Ö. (1998). Transnationalism and diasporas: The Kurdish Example Paper presented at the International Sociological Association XIV World Congress of Sociology, July 26–August 1, 1998, Montreal, Canada. Research Committee 31, Sociology of Migration. Institute of Migration Piispankatu 3 FIN-20500 Turku Finland.Google Scholar
  54. Ward, C., Bochner, S., & Furnham, A. (2001). The psychology of culture shock (2nd ed.). Hove, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar
  55. Zhang, Y. (2013). Expatriate development for cross-cultural adjustment: Effects of cultural distance and cultural intelligence. Human Resource Development Review, 12(2), 177–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Zweig, D., Fung, C. S., & Han, D. (2008). Redefining the brain drain: China’s “diaspora option”. Science Technology and Society, 13, 1–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Advance Research in EducationNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Independent researcher and scholarKolkataIndia

Personalised recommendations