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UBC Theses and Dissertations

International students strategies to obtain career-related work in Canada after graduation Bepple, Nancy


This study examines strategies which international students use for transitioning from a British Columbia (BC) post-secondary institution to full time work in the Canadian labour market. It discusses how international students use different types of human, social, cultural and symbolic capital in this transition. Further, it discusses students’ use of their post-secondary institution’s career programs and services. Other factors impacting students’ strategies, such as discrimination, family pressures, financial constraints, and Canadian immigration policy, are also discussed. The investigation uses an on-line survey, targeting all international students at a specific BC post-secondary institution, as well as follow up focus groups with a subset of these same students. The research led to 11 key findings on strategies which international students use for transitioning from a BC post-secondary institution to the Canadian labour market: (1) international students want to obtain career-related work in Canada after graduation; (2) international students want to stay in or leave Canada for both career and non-career-related reasons; (3) international students employ a variety of ways to gain human, social, cultural and symbolic capital; (4) international students consider Canadian human capital more valuable than non-Canadian capital; (5) international students value Canadian education and academic credentials for a number of reasons; (6) international students consider English language skills and culturally based Canadian communication skills as being a key skill to obtaining career-related work; (7) international students consider a range of types of experiential learning as key ways of acquiring capital; (8) international students view different types of paid work or volunteer experiences as providing opportunities to gain various types of capital; (9) international students use a wide range of relationships as part of their strategies for obtaining career-related work in Canada; (10) international students are aware of which post-secondary services and programs are available to them and choose strategies accordingly; (11) international students use multi-faceted approaches towards achieving their goal to obtain career-related work. Recommendations are made to post-secondary institutions and government on policies and practices related to international students’ transition to the Canadian labour market. Limitations of the current study and suggestions for complementary research are put forward.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada