"OE" is overseas experience - periods of "working holiday" undertaken by young people autonomously exploring other countries and cultures. This paper investigates OE and considers its effect on career development. OE is a world-wide phenomenon, but has special significance in Australia and New Zealand, where it is undertaken as a "rite of passage" by many young people. The paper reports results from an interview study of 50 OEs undertaken by young New Zealanders. It focuses on predisposing personal and situational factors prompting OE, the unplanned and improvisational nature of OE, the main forms of OE, and its apparent consequences for personal development and subsequent careers. The evidence suggests that OE brings benefits but that the process is complex and unpredictable because of confounding forces such as non-career travel agendas and personal relationships. The special value of OE to careers in current conditions requiring greater self-direction, flexibility and internationalisation is emphasised.
Career Development International – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 1, 2003
Keywords: Travel; Personal development plans; Work experience
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