Identifying behaviours and attitudes that contribute to successful negotiation of International student experience in Canada
Done Choudhury, Anna
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International students face challenges and barriers to successful educational experiences in Canada for various reasons. With pressure from the Canadian Federal government to increase international student enrolment, post-secondary institutions are challenged to meet the unique needs of this group. Cultural adaptation involves a complex process that encompasses learning new sociocultural behaviours, the negotiation of new and emerging identities for the international students, and developing intercultural communication skills to be able to successfully function academically and socially in their new environment. For this thesis, I undertook primary and secondary research to examine how international students perceive their experiences and challenges, and also to identify attitudes and characteristics that international students suggest were helpful in negotiating their educational journey in Canada. International students from across Canada were surveyed using a structured online questionnaire. Follow-up interviews were then carried out with a sample of respondents. These interviews asked the students about positive and negative experiences they had encountered and how they resolved or synthesized these experiences. While the negative experiences varied greatly, from academic performance issues to the challenges of finding work opportunities in Canada, the positive experiences mentioned by all of the students highlighted the establishment of meaningful connections with others in Canada, whether a professor, a teaching assistant, same-culture or host-culture friends. The students identified a number of behaviours and attitudes that they believed contributed positively to their experience including the willingness to try news ways of doing things, having a positive outlook, and also developing self-confidence.
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