The Role of Two Extracurricular Programs in International Students’ Informal Learning Experiences in Atlantic Canada
Mount Saint Vincent University
This thesis explores international students’ informal learning through two extracurricular programs in Atlantic Canada, by focusing on their community involvement, volunteering, and social interactions. With the unique insight from an international student, program organizer, and practitioner in international education, this paper uses qualitative methodology to study the cases of two extracurricular programs, the Interfaith Engagement Program (IEP) in Halifax and the International Student Volunteer Program (ISVP) at Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU). Ten international students from Halifax, the city with the most Higher Education institutes in Atlantic Canada, were involved in a focus group interview and a semi-structured in-depth interview. The research illustrates the values of community engagement and volunteering for international students in cross-cultural awareness, transferrable professional skills development, and network building. In the long run, the objective is to find ways for these prospective immigrants with Canadian credentials and experiences to integrate with the local community and contribute to the local economy, to solve the “triple glass effect” (Guo, 2013) problems for immigrants in the Canadian labour market, to retain more talented international young people, and to contribute to the economic and social development in Atlantic Canada.
International students, extracurricular programs, community engagement