International Students’ Views of Relationship Influences on Career Transitions
AbstractLittle attention has been paid to the career trajectories of international students as they complete their academic programs and implement career decision plans post-graduation. The specific aim of this study was to identify what factors contributed to international students’ success in pursuing employment in the destination country post-graduation. Our study examined the experiences of international students who had successfully transitioned from university to employment post-graduation in Canada. We used the Feminist Biographical Method to examine the individual stories of international students as a way of understanding the contextual influences on their lives and on their career decision-making. Individual interviews were conducted with 19 international students, two in their last semester, and 17 who had graduated and who were working in Canada. All students were graduates of one university in Western Canada. The key influences related to international students’ implementing their career plans post-graduation were organized around 5 themes that ranged from macro and systems influences to interpersonal and intrapersonal influences: (1) Systemic and Institutional Barriers, (2) Employment Challenges, (3) Perceived Career Opportunities, (4) Importance of Relationships, and, (5) Personal Growth and Discovering Strengths. Relationships were the key influences for helping international students overcome perceived barriers. Relationships offered international students emotional and instrumental support in making career decisions, in gaining relevant employment experience, and in persisting with plans to implement their career goals. International students benefit from connections, networking, and learning experiences that help them to successfully implement their career plans.
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