From University to Employment: Chinese International Students’ Strategies for Integration and Settlement in Nova Scotia

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Zhang, Yuhui
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Mount Saint Vincent University
In recent decades, Canada has attracted an increasing number of international students from all over the world. Among those international students studying in Canada, students from China make up the majority of the population. Even though Nova Scotia is a smaller province located in the East coast of Canada and had been ignored by Chinese international students and Chinese immigrants in the past, the number of Chinese international students enrolling the universities in Nova Scotia has increased in recent years. Meanwhile, Nova Scotia is in need of more skilled international students to promote the economic growth and prosperity of the province because of a declining birth rate and an aging population. Existing research tends to explore the current situation of international students studying and living in Canada and also tends to examine their difficulties and challenges staying in Canada; studies about the successful transition from international students to permanent residents in Canada are limited. This study focuses on Chinese immigrants in Nova Scotia to explore the successful transitional journeys from international student to permanent resident in Canada. Data were collected through in-depth interviewing of eight participants who had already graduated from universities in Nova Scotia, and were employed in jobs which met the criteria of Citizenship and Immigration Canada to get permanent residency status in Canada. In this qualitative study, the researcher draws on transformative learning theory and self-directed learning theory to contribute to the analysis of the participants’ lifelong learning experiences after arriving in Canada. The findings of this research not only uncovered the positive successful integration experiences of the participants but also have important implications for retaining more skilled international students to meet the demand of the Nova Scotian labour market.
Chinese international students, permanent residency, Nova Scotia