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Social Sciences/Humanities research opportunity

Want to do social science research, but don’t have the time to lead a project?

Interested in supporting international students? 

Curious about the intercultural impacts of internationalization?

…Join our research team!

We are applying for a 3 year SSHRC grant to investigate the outcomes for international students who do not complete their studies as planned (eg. they came to get a degree, but left Langara early). Rumours abound, but what really happens to “vulnerable” students when they leave their postsecondary institution without having achieved what they set out to do?

Until now we have not had an opportunity to systematically investigate outcomes for international students, and so little is known about what happens to them once they leave their Canadian postsecondary institution. However, SSHRC’s College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) offers a unique chance to address this gap. The program provides up to 3 years of funding at $120,000 per year. Projects require a partnership between a post-secondary institution and public, private or non-profit organization. The deadline for applications is December 2, 2019.

The project is currently in the developmental stage. At the moment we have two confirmed partners: South Vancouver Neighbourhood House and College of New Caledonia (Prince George). We are in discussion with several other potential partners.

There are many ways to be involved. Your level of participation is up to you. Training will be provided where necessary.

Project Description
The purpose of the study is to investigate and improve outcomes for international students once they leave their Canadian postsecondary institution. Specifically, the project will investigate the economic and social outcomes of international students studying in BC, who have been in Canada fewer than 5 years. The study will look at the experiences of students up to 2 years after they have left their postsecondary institution. We will include in the study students who are still in Canada, as well as students who have already left Canada. Student participants will be drawn from the urban student population at Langara, the rural student population at our partner, College of New Caledonia (located in Prince George BC, with several rural satellite campuses), and from the clients of our community partners. With respect to economic outcomes, the project involves a range of indicators including but not limited to the suitability and adequacy of housing and employment. We will also investigate supports related to labour market entryways and immigration pathways, and the relationship between the type of educational program pursued and both subsequent job prospects as well as immigration opportunities. Social indicators include social isolation, personal wellbeing, mental health, and coping strategies. The overall aim is to identify issues and develop innovative project, policy, and program recommendations to improve conditions and outcomes.

Broadly, we would like to know, What happens to international students who enter Langara/CNC to pursue a degree yet leave college without achieving their objectives? What prevented them from attaining their goals? We will explore challenges faced; supports received; current living conditions; and intercultural needs related to education, employment, housing, personal wellbeing, and immigration. Further, What type of supports or intervention could prevent or mitigate these issues? What is the role of postsecondary institutions, immigrant serving agencies, governments, NGOs, community organizations, faculty, individual students, and families in ensuring international student success as well as successful newcomer integration?

In order to answer these questions we propose a mixed methods study that triangulates statistical data (from Langara and partner organizations, government stats, etc.), a broad survey of international student alumni (including both quantitative and qualitative data), and interviews or focus groups with international students and alumni, international student clients of partner organizations, Langara faculty and staff, and partner organization faculty and staff. Deliverables include a report, publication, community forum, and social innovation project plan to move forward.

Anticipated Outcomes
The ultimate goal for the project is to inform institutional, government, and community programming and policy to better meet the needs of international students so they are successful in what they want to achieve with respect to education, employment, and migration status. At the same time, we want to see fewer international students leave their postsecondary institution, BC or Canada without having achieved their objectives, while those that do leave early require access to the supports they need to return home on time. A more immediate objective is to develop a social innovation project to address the specific issues identified in the research. Meanwhile, student RAs will benefit from training and experience.

For information on how you can get involved, please contact Jenny Francis at or 604 675 9307.

 Jenny Francis
Instructor, Geography

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