Ni Vanuatu women graduates: what happens when they go home?

Part of New Zealand’s aid to Pacific Island nations is in the form of tertiary scholarships. Students awarded scholarships study at tertiary institutions throughout the Pacific, including New Zealand. But what is it like when they return home, fitting back in to their culture and family life and finding work? The research described in this article explored this question in relation to women graduates from Vanuatu when they returned after studying overseas for three or more years. Some slipped back in easily and found work quickly, others experienced profound culture shock on re-entry and took many months to find suitable work. If Vanuatu is to make the best possible use of these women’s tertiary qualifications, and if donors are to realise the goals of their scholarship scheme, necessary changes include more coordinated support and regular tracer studies.