This paper uses lived experiences to critically examine the orientation of international graduate students at research-intensive Canadian universities. We, five co-authors, embody diverse ethnic, racial, sexual, religious, national, and gender identities, yet are all (or have been) international graduate students in Canada. Through collaborative autoethnography, we destabilize the notion of “orientation.” We argue that international student orientation should be understood as a fluid, ongoing process rather than one with rigid boundaries and timelines. Furthermore, orientation programming should more deeply consider the intersecting identities and positionalities of international students as multifaced individuals, as well as the implicit expectations of one-way “integration” into settler-colonial Canadian society. We suggest a different approach to orientation and offer a conceptual framework to guide future practice, highlighting the role universities play in not only supporting students academically but also in (im)migrant settlement.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of global competence, agility, empathy, and innovation in managing opportunities, crises, and problems. Global learning and engagement in higher education is the pathway towards developing learners' intercultural competence, fostering an appreciation of diversity, inclusion, and equity, and empowering individual agency towards collective wellbeing and sustainability. Digital transformation and available tools have expanded the scope and depth of global learning in virtual environments. This article reports a critical reflective study on virtual global learning and shares high-impact, evidenced-based strategies to make virtual global learning more equitable, inclusive, meaningful, and relevant to all learners in higher education.
Research in international student success, satisfaction, and challenges seems still to be constructed around the colonial, imperial paradigm. Informed by deficit models of language, culture, and literacy teaching, such research portrays international students’ challenges in terms of deficiency; discounts other languages, cultures, and literacy education; and reinstitutes the progressive and paternalistic role of the West, reifying its linguistic and cultural superiority. This essay interrupts the still dominant narrative that recreates the old binaries in two ways: (a) It frontloads the need to adopt strength-based approaches to counter dominant methodological paradigms from which much of knowledge about culturally and linguistically different/disadvantaged (CLDI) students is derived, and (b) based on my own ethnographic study on a South Asian immigrant population in Canada, it demonstrates that what the old paradigm views as deficits can and should be the very measures from which to appraise student success and satisfaction. Accordingly, the article’s main objectives are twofold: (a) expose the weaknesses of the deficit models of language, culture, and competence and (b) stress the need to reshape international student studies in higher education as a field of inquiry by foregrounding appreciative models and methodologies.
International students with low academic English proficiency face challenges with reading their course materials and writing assignments. Their challenges are exacerbated during remote learning, as they remain in their home countries, immersed in their home languages, which may be quite distant from academic English. To investigate the effects of culturally responsive pedagogy for international students online, quantitative and qualitative data were collected from a learner-driven, instructor-facilitated (LeD-InF) support program at a large university in southern Ontario. This fully online delivery of the Reading and Writing Excellence (RWE) program was re-envisioned from a long-running co-curricular program that addressed students’ academic English reading, writing, and critical thinking needs. Among eight groups (with the total enrolment of 154) in the Fall 2020 academic term cycle and nine groups (with the total enrolment of 226) in the Winter 2021 academic term cycle of the online RWE program, the intervention groups that were additionally supported with culturally responsive pedagogy had the highest volume of writing output and engagement metrics among all groups. The text data (of student voices and experiences) also reinforces the efficacy of culturally responsive pedagogy in facilitating student experience, constructing identities, promoting learner agency, increasing satisfaction, improving students’ perceptions of learning, and realizing transformative inclusivity.
The purpose of this study is to explore a practical nursing bridging program’s education environment and the role transition of internationally educated nurses (IENs) who were enrolled full-time at a community college in Toronto, Canada, during the winter semester of school year 2018–2019. A survey questionnaire consisting of three parts was used to gather data from 68 IEN students who volunteered to participate in this study. Descriptive statistics and multiple regression analysis were used to analyze data. Participants’ responses to the open-ended question “Could you please list any problems/issues you have encountered in the bridging program?” were thematically analyzed. Results indicate that all bridging program education environment components, as well as role transition subscales, were described as “agree.” There is a significant relationship between the respondents’ perception of learning within their bridging program’s education environment and role transition. However, views on teachers and atmosphere, as well as academic and social self-perception, seemed insignificant predictors of role transition. Participants’ responses to the open-ended question were analyzed and grouped into four themes: concern with teachers, program content issues, program pace, and financial issues.
There is an increasing number of Chinese graduate students who study in Canada and have quite different educational backgrounds. Despite a large number of studies attending to the challenges and difficulties they encountered in life and study, not much research narratively explores Chinese international students’ academic adjustment experiences in graduate programs in Canada. To fill the gap, this research makes a narrative inquiry into three Chinese international students’ academic adjustment in the graduate and doctoral programs of two universities in Ontario, Canada. The three-dimensional framework (Clandinin, 2006) is employed to tell and retell their stories. Their narratives have revealed the importance of their native languages and how their past experiences before they came to Canada influenced their academic adjustment. The Eastern and Western cultures have had a lasting effect on their personal and professional development. In addition, they have played multiple roles as Chinese international students, novice researchers, and future educational practitioners.