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Petra Burgelt

Doctor of Philosophy, (Psychology)
Study Completed: 2011
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Contemporary migration between developed countries: Transformation processes towards actualizing authentic selves and lives

Why do people from Germany move across the world and start new lives in Australia and New Zealand? To answer this question and to understand the migrants’ perspectives in the context of their life course experiences, Dr Buergelt accompanied German migrants on all phases of their migration journey to Australia or New Zealand for 2 years. She repeatedly lived with them in their homes, participated in their lives, and listened to their experiences and interpretations. She synergised 34 years worth of information in four empowering composite migrant stories and four variations summaries that paint an inspiring and insightful picture of the physical and psychological migration processes. The seed for migrating was already planted in childhood and was especially nurtured by contact with nature, reading and travelling independently. The desire to fulfil their need to actualise their selves and live authentic lives motivated participants to migrate. Living conditions in Germany hindered being authentic and created dis-ease; living conditions in ANZ facilitated authenticity and well-being.

Professor Mandy Morgan
Mr Rob Bedford
Dr Manfred Cramer
Associate Professor Roberta Julian

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