I’m so happy! Last week I defended my master thesis and therefore graduated with a distinction after 5.5 years of studying. I have been working on my dissertation for quite some time, and although it might not be of interest to all readers, I wanted to share a little bit of what I’ve been working on so much.
Picking a topic for my dissertation turned out to be easier than expected when I came across a flyer for a PhD research in March 2006. They were asking for people who wanted to get in touch with either French or English expats in the Netherlands. Since I’ve been abroad myself, and I know how important and fun it was for me to get in touch with people from that country, I wanted to participate. Although students were not allowed to participate, I had found myself a topic for my own dissertation!
In February 2007 I started my research, which was part of the PhD research by drs. M. van Bakel. With the title “Cross-cultural adjustment: the key to expatriate success?”, I examined the relation between cross-cultural adjustment and job performance of Western English- and French speaking expatriates in The Netherlands. Although the process is quite complicated and it’s hard to summarise the results in a short blog post, the following findings were of most practical importance:
having a partner that is adjusted to the new country, be in regular contact with fellow expatriates, to be intercultural communication competent and to have a certain level of language skills is of great importance for the adjustment of the expat
there are several forms of expat adjustment that are of great importance to a successful job performance, however, being psychologically adjusted (to feel well and satisfied with the international assignment) stands out the most
I have talked to many people, such as relocation agencies, expatriates, fellow students, friends and family, about my thesis but the nicest comment about it came during a job interview at a multinational. The interviewer said it was the most interesting and useful dissertation he had ever heard of and we discussed about it for almost half an hour! Right now, I’m happy that I’ve finished and I’m enjoying my last free days of the year. I hope you’ll do the same :-)