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From Temporary to Permanent Immigrants- Career Counselling with International Students. Sarah Flynn & Dr. Nancy Arthur The University of Calgary smflynn@ucalgary.ca, narthur@ucalgary.ca. Advanced Organizer. The pre-transition phase Phase 1: Cross cultural transition ◊Vignette

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from temporary to permanent immigrants career counselling with international students

From Temporary to Permanent Immigrants- Career Counselling with International Students

Sarah Flynn & Dr. Nancy Arthur

The University of Calgary

smflynn@ucalgary.ca, narthur@ucalgary.ca

advanced organizer
Advanced Organizer
  • The pre-transition phase
  • Phase 1: Cross cultural transition

◊Vignette

  • Phase 2: Cross cultural learning

◊Vignette

  • Phase 3: Transferring acquired skills

◊Vignette

  • Phase 4: Post graduation

◊Vignette

  • Discussion/Questions
international students in canada
International students in Canada
  • In 2006, there were more than 70,000 full-time and 13,000 part-time international students enrolled in higher education in Canada.
  • In 2000, an estimated 1.8 million international students were enrolled in educational institutions around the world, and those numbers are expected to quadruple by 2025.
  • Canadian universities attract international students from more than 200 countries; the top 10 source countries are China, the United States, France, India, South Korea, Iran, Japan, Hong Kong, Mexico, and Pakistan.

(Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, 2007)

why do student study abroad
Why do student study abroad?
  • To build international relations:

∙This encourages an increasingly stable and uniform work world that promotes interdependence among nations

  • To diffuse knowledge among cultures

∙International study encourages a respect for individual and cultural differences, promoting a broadening of perspectives

  • To develop foreign-based skill sets

∙Knowledge of foreign economy, technologies, culture is marketable

  • To foster independence, open-mindedness, and self-reflection

(Sumer, Poyrazli, & Grahame, 2008; Pedersen, 1991).

what is appealing to international students about studying in canada
What is appealing to international students about studying in Canada?
  • The high quality of education offered at our institutions (i.e., diverse and internationally recognized degrees)
  • The safety and political stability this country offers
  • The opportunity to become proficient in either English or French
  • The opportunity to stay and work in this country after degree completion.

(Zheng & Berry, 1991)

studying abroad and career development
Studying abroad and career development
  • Studying abroad enhances career opportunities and the acquisition of specific marketable skills.
  • International students’ career decisions are influenced by:

◊ familial pressures ◊ sponsorship ◊ immigration status

◊ background preparation , and ◊ personal expectations.

  • Differences in values, languages, and religious and political loyalties must be considered in the decision-making processes.
counselling international students
Counselling international students
  • International students + Career counselling = Skill development → Management of the myriad of influences and challenges they face.
  • Counselling involves:

Academic and occupational planning and decision-making + Cross-cultural transition

  • It involves addressing personal issues with culturally relevant interventions!

(Leong & Sedlacek, 1989; Shen & Herr, 2004; Shih & Brown, 2000; Yi, Lin, & Kishimoto, 2003)

phase 1 managing the initial demands faced during the cross cultural transition
Phase 1: Managing the initial demands faced during the cross-cultural transition
  • Acculturation to the host culture impacts vocational identity- the development of a stable understanding of aspirations, interests, and abilities
  • International students must cope with various interpersonal and academic challenges upon entering a foreign academic environment.

(Shih & Brown, 2000)

adjustment issues interpersonal difficulties include
Adjustment Issues:Interpersonal difficulties include:
  • Adjustments to living in a new culture:

◊ new language, customs, and norms

◊ differences in values and religious and political loyalties

◊ changes in social status, roles

  • Pressures/expectations from family
  • Lack of social support networks and low frequency of

social interaction with domestic students

  • Racial discrimination and homesickness

(Pan, Wong, Joubert, Chan, 2008; Pedersen, 1991; Sandhu & Asrabadi, 1994)

adjustment issues academic difficulties include
Adjustment IssuesAcademic difficulties include:
  • Exposure to a new curriculum and classroom communication styles.
  • Disappointment about educational experiences

◊ non-challenging/overly challenging

  • Changes in academic interests, programs, or majors.
  • Feeling stalled in pursuing their career goals.

(Pedersen, 1991; Sandhu & Asrabadi, 1994)

vignette discussion questions
Vignette discussion questions
  • What are the presenting issues?
  • How are the issues connected to career development?
  • What strategies might the career counsellor consider?
  • What competencies would support the career counsellor?
vignette 1
Vignette #1
  • Mai was a 23-year old student from Taiwan who was studying in a business administration program. On the counselling intake card she listed “study skills” as the main reason for seeking help.
  • When she met with the counsellor, they began talking about her academic program and the counsellor noted that Mai appeared to be very anxious. When the counsellor asked Mai to tell her a little bit about her experience of studying at the college, Mai’s level of anxiety seemed to increase.
  • “It is like walking around in the dark- I am not sure what it is I am supposed to do here. The ways of teaching are very different than what I am used to at home. The teachers tell us things are important, I study those things, but these are not always the questions on the exam. I can’t seem to figure it out. I try to participate in class but feel that I am asking too many questions and the instructor seems impatient. It is hard for me to do everything to get ready for class so I am always trying to catch up. “
vignette 1 cond t
Vignette #1 Cond’t
  • After exploring her feelings of anxiety about her academic program, the counsellor asked Mai what is was like for her to seek help and come to see a counselor. Mai averted eye contact and said,
  • “I am ashamed to have to be here. My parents don’t understand what I am going through here. They keep saying that this is my future in front of me. They would be upset to know that I needed extra help. I remembered you from our student orientation and what you said about services on campus. That is why I came to you for help.”
  • The counsellor complimented Mai for seeking resources to help with her program success. The next three sessions were spent exploring Mai’s motives and expectations for studying abroad and the counselor helped Mai to access workshops on strategies for student success.
managing the initial demands of transition c areer counselling
Managing the initial demands of transition: Career counselling
  • This vignette illustrates how academic issues may be confounded with family expectations, leading to debilitating culture shock.
  • In this counselling scenario, it was important to acknowledge that strong family values that Mai held as a priority in her career-planning and decision-making.
  • Counsellors who have been trained in Western models of career counselling may be challenged to suspend their beliefs about individual choices to honor the importance of family influences and collectivist decision-making. However, an overemphasis on the individual can add to the distress experienced by international students who are trying to live up to perceived family expectations while managing new academic demands.

(Williams, 2003)

phase 2 leaning in a new cultural context
Phase 2: Leaning in a new cultural context
  • International students often experience extreme stress associated with academic concerns.
  • Exposure to local curriculum may lead students to:

◊ recognize new academic opportunities and career choices that they wish to pursue

◊ change academic programs

  • Engaging in a career decision-making process can be helpful for students to consider the implications that changing majors may have for their immediate and long-term career goals.

(Singaravelu et al., 2005 ; Wan, Chapman, & Biggs 1992)

phase 2 cont d
Phase 2: Cont’d
  • Many international students feel conflicted about making choices that are more compatible with personal needs in light of expectations from family and sponsors.
  • If sponsorship is tied to a particular academic program, students may feel “locked into” a path that has not met their personal expectations and is no longer desirable.
  • Even when choices appear to be more flexible, international students may feel considerable pressure about explaining changes that might be perceived by others as personal failure.
vignette 2
Vignette #2
  • Abir was a 28-year old male from a country in the Middle East and one of 20 students sponsored to study an engineering technology program. He was referred to the counselling centre by the international student advisor who called the counsellor to say that Abir was very unhappy with the quality of his academic program.
  • Program quality issues disclosed in counselling are complex due to relationships with academic faculty in the educational institution and pressure to appease program sponsors of international education partnerships.
  • In turn, when the quality of academic instruction is challenged, managers in academic institutions need to be prepared to take immediate action to hear students’ concerns and mediate a suitable resolution with academic faculty. In this case, the international student advisor noted that it was very important that nobody else discover Abir’s true feelings about his academic program, emphasizing confidentiality.
vignette 2 cont d
Vignette #2 Cont’d
  • The counsellor met with Abir and asked him to describe his situation. His opening statement was that he felt his academic program was “a waste of time”. When the counsellor responded with probes about the quality of the program, Abir interrupted and said, “That is not it. I don’t want to work as a technologist in this field. I want to work at something that is more interesting to me.” The counsellor immediately sought clarification about the terms of his academic sponsorship. Abir was aware that the terms of his international education were tied to this particular academic program and that if he discontinued studies, he would be forced to return to his country immediately.
  • The counsellor attempted to explore the pressure that Abir must be under to satisfy the terms of his sponsorship by completing the technology program. Abir looked puzzled and said, “I was told by the international student advisor that I could get help here to change careers. What help can you give me?” The counsellor felt in quite a dilemma about how to proceed when changing majors was not an immediate option. She offered Abir the opportunity to explore what his current career path might mean for him and his family, how he might incorporate different interests in his life outside of work, and how he might examine other academic options from his home country.
learning in a new cultural context c areer counselling
Learning in a new cultural context: Career Counselling
  • This scenario highlights the importance of orienting international students to the purpose and functions of counselling. It is likely that this student left the counselling appointment with the feeling that it was not helpful.
  • Counselling services may provide an orientation to students about counselling (i.e., a written description that is reviewed during the first session).
  • The counsellor subsequently met with the international student advisor to discuss how counselling could be described to international students in order to set realistic expectancies.
  • Counselling across cultures also requires a strong working alliance. In this case, a better match between the communication style of the client and the counsellor may have helped the client to feel that the counsellor was more responsive to his concerns.(Collins & Arthur, 2005)
phase 3 transferring international expertise to the work setting host or home country
Phase 3: Transferring international expertise to the work setting (host or home country)
  • Students may decide to reside in the host country or return to their home countries.
  • The cultural values of the host culture and the student’s level of acculturation to the host culture need to be carefully considered in light of:
  • the process of making important career decisions and
  • how career decisions are related to a student’s support system in both home and host cultures.
  • International students are more likely to require specialized services to help them to develop appropriate job search strategies and to develop contacts with local employers.

(Arthur, 2003a)

phase 3 cont d
Phase 3 Cont’d
  • For those students who decide to return home, the transition from studying in a wealthy country to working in an impoverished one is not often an easy one.
  • Students who have studied abroad may have difficulty securing work in their country of origin due to inadequate infrastructure.
  • Students may lose positive affiliation with their home country while studying in countries with different political structures, opportunities, and values and may come to resent their home country (Pedersen, 1991).
vignette 3
Vignette #3
  • Manuel was in his early twenties when his parents decided to send him from Jamaica to Canada to pursue a degree in science. He said that the decision was “more theirs than mine” and he was living under close scrutiny from an uncle in the house where he was living. Manuel originally sought career counselling because he was not sure if the science program was what he wanted to pursue as a major.
  • However, during the first session, he quickly turned the conversation over to issues of missing his homeland, friends, and his girlfriend. After four sessions focusing on a career choice assessment process, Manuel decided to remain in his academic program for one year and then review his situation.
  • With his outgoing nature, he soon made friends, and became involved with the university student association. He made an appointment with the counsellor every month to “chat about how things are going.”
vignette 31
Vignette #3
  • As the year progressed, he felt more integrated into his life in Canada and found that he was enjoying the challenge of his academic program.
  • As he was completing his degree, Manuel sought counselling again to discuss his career options. He said that he never imagined that he would face the dilemma of choosing between his home country and staying in the U.S.
  • Career counselling then focused on the decision-making to stay in Canada, the implications for his family relationships, and his perceived career opportunities. The counsellor also connected Manuel with the appropriate campus resources to pursue an employment visa.
  • His positive experience with a work-term placement with an engineering firm resulted in a job offer from an employer.
transferring to the work setting career counselling
Transferring to the work setting: Career counselling
  • This vignette illustrates how the decision to pursue employment in Canada was connected to a variety of personal considerations within the home and host cultures.
  • Manuel’s success with adapting to the social, academic, and employment demands in the local culture was highly influential in his changing perspective about career opportunities after graduation.
  • The career counsellor helped Manuel pursue multiple options in his career planning, accesses necessary resources (i.e., a visa), and cope with the uncertainty about returning home.

(Shen & Herr, 2004; Spencer-Rogers, 2000; Yang et al., 2002).

phase 3 transferring international expertise to the work setting host or home country1
Phase 3: Transferring international expertise to the work setting (host or home country)
  • Students may decide to reside in the host country or return to their home countries.
  • The cultural values of the host culture and the student’s level of acculturation to the host culture need to be carefully considered in light of:
  • the process of making important career decisions and
  • how career decisions are related to a student’s support system in both home and host cultures.
  • International students are more likely to require specialized services to help them to develop appropriate job search strategies and to develop contacts with local employers.

(Arthur, 2003a)

phase 4 staying in canada
Phase 4: Staying in Canada
  • Increased immigration opportunities
  • International students as preferred immigrants
  • 30-45% of international students do not return to their homeland upon completion of their studies, becoming permanent citizens of the US (brain drain). Interestingly, 70% of the ISs surveyed in her study indicated the intention to reside permanently in the US! (Spencer-Rogers)
  • Decision is more than about work
phase 4 cont d
Phase 4 (cont’d)
  • Values clarification
  • Qualifications and marketing
  • Implications for relationships
  • Trial and error practices versus strategy
  • Programs and services to support career transitions from temporary to permanent workers
  • Education and workplace interface
  • Preparation of career counsellors
vignette 5
Vignette #5
  • Ling was a 30 year old engineering student who was in his last year of studies at university. He had studied in Canada for 5 years. Although the initial transition was very difficult for him, he found that he really began to enjoy his life in Canada, especially when he began to make friends here. He still called home every week and was in touch with family by e-mail. However, he noticed that the last time he went home, he had an uneasy feeling that he didn’t really fit in anymore. He found that he had less to talk about with his friends and family, despite really caring about them.
  • His work experience with an engineering company was a highlight for him. He enjoyed the work and learned a lot about the systems of the company. In the last month of his work placement, his supervisor approached him, asking him about his plans to go home after he finished school. Ling was not sure how to approach the supervisor about his interest in staying on with the company. He felt pretty guilty about even considering it, especially when he knew that his parents were counting on him returning home after graduation.
  • Ling decided to speak with the international student advisor who had helped him when he first came to Canada. The international student advisor suggested that he meet with one of the career counsellors on campus. Ling was not sure how that would be helpful but he agreed to go anyway. In the first appointment, Ling told the career counselor that he was interested in learning about how to find a job in Canada.
the realities of increased diversity
The realities of increased diversity
  • Perspective of students and faculty that "different is deficit" (Dei, 1996).
  • The fear of diversity, partially resulting from a lack of knowledge and readiness to approach diversity (Palmer, 1998).
  • Teaching is a political act. The current curriculum in higher education in North America is characterized by its Eurocentric perspectives, standards and values, it does not reflect the knowledge and experiences of our culturally diverse student population.

(Dei, 1996; Kitano, 1997; Tisdell, 1995).

points of interest
Points of interest
  • Career is a foreign concept
  • Making services accessible
  • Translating international experience
  • Working with employers
  • Supporting policies with practices
  • Multicultural competencies
  • Research notes
points of interest1
Points of Interest:
  • What do you see as the role of career counsellors with international students?
  • How can career counsellors help international students with the transitions to Canada, to returning home, to staying in Canada?
  • What areas of competency development would help you feel more prepared for working with international students?
acknowledgements
Acknowledgements

Funding acknowledgements:

  • Prairie Metropolis Centre
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • University of Calgary