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College Quarterly
Winter 2015 - Volume 18 Number 1
Comparing the Experiences and Needs of Postsecondary International Students from China and South Korea
By Ping Deters

International students from China and South Korea are an increasingly important part of the international student body in many English-medium postsecondary institutions. The purpose of this qualitative study was to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences and needs of these two groups of students at a Canadian postsecondary institution. Data were gathered through written narratives from 22 students from China and 14 students from South Korea. In addition, interviews were conducted with 7 staff members. The data identified some similarities and differences between these two groups of students. Both groups faced challenges with language and culture, academics, finances and making local friends. South Korean students differed from Chinese students in terms of their expectations and previous experiences, which may have contributed to lower satisfaction ratings. The article concludes by proposing three areas in which postsecondary institutions can develop programs to improve the experiences and satisfaction of international students.

Introduction and rationale for research study

This article reports on a qualitative research study on the experiences and needs of international students at a Canadian college of applied arts and technology. The study was motivated by findings from recent International Student Barometer (ISB) survey results that showed that among the four top source countries of international students (China, India, South Korea, and the Russian Federation), students from South Korea were least satisfied with their experiences at the college. The results showed statistically significant lower ratings from South Korean international students in many aspects of arrival experience, learning experience, living experience and support services. What was needed was a research study that would contribute to a better understanding of the factors that may account for the low ratings of students from South Korea, and that would offer practical implications to improve the experiences of international students.

Given the importance of the Asia Pacific region for source countries of international students in many higher education contexts, my research study focused on international students from China and South Korea in order to compare the experiences and needs of international students from these two countries, and to better understand similarities and differences.

In this article, I first present a review of recent research on international students at English-medium postsecondary institutions. This is followed by a description of the research methodology, and a report of the findings. I conclude with some practical recommendations for improving the experiences of international students.

Review of Previous Research Literature

In my literature review, I focused on research on international students in English-medium postsecondary institutions in Canada, the United States, England, Australia and New Zealand. I also reviewed studies that focused on Chinese and Korean international students, as well as studies that related to international students’ experiences and challenges, needs, affordances and supports, and factors that affected acculturation and academic success.

Most of the previous research studies have been quantitative studies employing survey research and regression analysis. A number of authors (e.g., Hu and Zhang, 2013; Smith &F Khawaja, 2010) have noted the need for more qualitative studies, and also the need for studies that differentiate between international students from different countries and backgrounds.

In terms of challenges faced by international students, common themes identified by Ramachandra (2011) and Smith & Khawaja (2010) in their extensive review of research on international students included language issues, sociocultural issues, academic issues, financial issues and institutional issues. Hanassab & Tidwell (2002), who conducted a survey study of the needs of 640 international students at UCLA, identified knowledge of immigration/visa regulations as the most important area of needs, followed by academic needs and career needs. Female students reported greater needs, students from Africa and Asia had highest overall needs, and Asian students had the highest communication and psychological needs. The authors recommended more specific analysis of students’ needs according to nationality, for example, comparing the needs of students from China, Korea, and Japan.

Another common theme that arose was the divide between international and local students. Most authors saw this divide as negatively impacting the wellbeing of international students and their acculturation. For example, Hendrickson, Rosen & Aune (2011) examined friendship networks of 84 international students in Hawai’i. According to the findings, international students with a higher ratio of individuals from the host country in their network claimed to be significantly more satisfied, content, and less homesick. Those with a higher ratio of co-national friends reported significantly lower satisfaction and feelings of social connectedness. This finding was consistent with Kashima & Loh’s (2006) survey study of 100 Asian international students in Australia, in which they found that international students with more local ties were better adjusted psychologically. However, Montgomery & McDowell (2009) offered an alternative perspective in their study, which questioned the need of international students to form bonds with local UK students in order to succeed in their studies. Findings from their qualitative study of 7 international students in the UK suggested that international students may form a strong, supportive international community that prepares them for future life and work in a global community.

A number of studies provided interesting data on other affordances and also suggested types of interventions that may be helpful in assisting international students. For example, Sakurai, McCall-Wolf & Kashima (2010) examined the effects of a multicultural intervention program – a bus excursion at the beginning of the semester to a local place of interest – on the development of social ties, cultural orientation, and psychological adjustment among 98 Asian international students at an Australian university. Forty-seven participated in the intervention and 51 did not. Participants (vs. non-participants) of the program developed a greater number of new friends, especially local Australian friends. Also, participants maintained their interests in local culture while non-participants weakened their interests. Yakunina, I. K. Weigold, A. Weigold, Hercegovaca, & Elsayeda (2011) built on the work of Van der Zee & Van Oudenhoven who identified a set of personality traits – termed the “multicultural personality” – that facilitated cross-cultural adjustment. The authors found that social initiative, emotional stability, open-mindedness and flexibility contributed to better adjustment. The authors suggested that providing outreach programs to help students develop traits such as emotional stability and social initiative and that interventions such as post-arrival workshops can help develop awareness of intercultural differences.

Other studies that I reviewed examined specific groups of students. Foster & Stapleton’s (2012) qualitative focus group study on 19 Chinese international students in business programs at a Canadian university examined the attitudes of these students towards Canadian teaching methods. The Chinese students found class discussions difficult to follow and contribute to due to the quick pace and cultural references. The researchers were surprised to find that the Chinese students liked doing presentations. The students were able to prepare in advance (as opposed to class discussions), and they felt that they were developing important skills. In addition, the Chinese students appreciated greater interaction with professors in Canada, compared to China. Lee, Keske and Sales’ (2004) quantitative study on 74 Korean international students in the US examined areas of acculturative stress, namely, problems with language, cultural adjustment, academic pressures, financial concerns, and outlook for the future. The researchers found that acculturative stress was strongly correlated with mental health symptoms and that social support moderated and buffered the effect of stress on symptoms. Lee, Park & Kim (2009) conducted a survey study of 76 Korean international students in the US to test hypotheses of relationships between gender, English proficiency, social network and adjustments. The authors found a positive relationship between adjustment and age, gender, and English proficiency. Older students, female students, and students with higher self-perceived proficiency reported better adjustment.

Finally, in a survey study from Australia, Arambewela & Hall (2009) developed and tested a model of international student satisfaction, based on the customer service satisfaction model SERVQUAL (Service Quality). The respondents were 573 international postgraduate business students from China, India, Indonesia and Thailand studying in Australia. Gaps between expectation and post-choice perception on 36 items were used to measure satisfaction. Their findings highlight the importance of service quality factors related to both educational and non-educational services. Seven constructs affecting satisfaction were identified: education, social orientation, economic considerations, safety, image and prestige of university (internationally, in Australia and in home country), technology and accommodation. Satisfaction varied among nationality groups. Students from India had very high expectations for almost all key variables; students from China had the lowest expectations. Overall, students from China and Indonesia were more satisfied than students from India and Thailand.

To conclude, this review of previous research confirmed my decision to conduct a qualitative study, and provided support for research that focuses on two specific groups of students. The review also provided important background information on the types of challenges faced by international students, the factors that impede or facilitate the adjustment and success of international students, and the factors that affect their satisfaction.

Research Methodology

My research questions focused on the lived experiences of international students from China and South Korea at a Canadian college, specifically, what they liked and disliked about living in Canada and studying at the college, what their needs were (e.g., academic, sociocultural), and what similarities and differences could be discerned between international students from China and South Korea in terms of their experiences and needs.

In order to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences and needs of international students, I chose to conduct a qualitative research study. The primary participants for this study were international students from China and South Korea who had completed at least one semester (4 months) in a program at the college. The data from student participants were collected through written narratives in response to questions about the students’ experiences and needs. The rationale for using written responses to collect data was to allow students time to reflect on their responses, as English was an additional language for the target population for this study.

The research form was piloted in Phase 1 of the study. The research form comprised two parts: 1) a questionnaire to gather some basic demographic data such as age, gender, length of time in Canada, length of time at the college, program of study, and future plans; and 2) 5 open-ended questions that elicited written narratives about the students’ hopes and expectations before arrival, their experiences (likes and dislikes) since arrival, their overall satisfaction, and their suggestions regarding what the college can do to improve the experiences and satisfaction of international students.

In Phase 1, I met with 5 students (4 Chinese students and 1 South Korean student) to get feedback on the clarity of the form and questions. I also received additional written feedback via email from another South Korean student in this pilot phase of the study. Based on the feedback, I revised the wording of several of the open-ended questions.

In Phase 2 of the study, an information letter and revised research form were sent via email to all international students from China and South Korea by a college administrator. At the time of recruitment for this study (May – June 2014), there were approximately 1000 students from China and 300 students from South Korea at the college. I also provided flyers for faculty teaching the higher levels in the English for Academic Purposes program to distribute to their students. Given the time and resources available to complete this study, I was aiming for 10 to 20 student participants from each country. In total, I received completed responses from 22 students from China and 14 students from South Korea.

The following table provides some background data from the questionnaire completed by the student participants. The students were enrolled in a wide range of professional programs: Accounting, Chemical Laboratory Pharmaceutical Technician, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering Technology, Computer Programming and Analysis, Early Childhood Education, Graphic Design, Hospitality Management, Human Resources, International Business, International Transportation and Customs, Marketing, and Travel and Tourism.

Table 1: Background information of student participants

  Students from China

Students from South Korea
Number of participants 22 14
Age range 19 to 37 19 to 43
Average age 23 27
Female 16 10
Male 6 4
Married 3 3
Single 19 11
Length of time in Canada (Range) 5 months to 3 years,
8 months
4 months to 8 years,
5 months
Length of time in Canada (Average) 1 year, 2 months 2 years
Current semester
2 to 5 2 to 7
Current semester (Average) 2.5 3.1

In addition to the student data, I also included interviews with staff participants in order to gain additional perspectives on the experiences and needs of international students. To recruit staff participants, an information letter about the study was sent by a college administrator to staff members who work with international students. I conducted semi-structured interviews with 7 college staff members who had experience working with students from China and South Korea, such as advisors and support staff in offices and computer labs. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Participants were given the opportunity to review and revise the transcripts. One staff member also provided additional written responses to my interview questions. I used an interview schedule. All of the data were open coded for topics, which were then categorized into themes that addressed the research questions.

In the following report on the findings, I use single quotation marks for written responses and double quotation marks for excerpts from the interviews. Student participants are referenced by the letter ‘S’ followed by a number, and staff participants are referenced by the letter ‘P’ followed by a number. I use ellipsis to indicate that part of the text was omitted. I made minor edits in the student participants’ responses, mainly a few spelling errors; otherwise, the responses are as written by the participants. Square brackets are used to indicate clarifications that I added.


Student expectations.

Because this study sought to better understand the experiences and the satisfaction of international students, I first elicited responses about the students’ expectations concerning living in Canada and studying at the college. In my data analysis, I coded and categorized the students’ expectations into four themes: study environment, making new friends, and experiencing new culture and a new lifestyle.

Regarding studying in Canada, students mentioned expecting to improve their English skills, to be immersed in a different culture, and to have a more relaxed study environment compared to China and South Korea. Students also expected to make many new international and domestic friends. Regarding experiencing a new culture and lifestyle, students looked forward to a relaxing, clean and safe living environment, and a multicultural society. In general, the student participants had positive expectations about living and studying in Canada.

Students’ experiences.

My first research question related to the experiences of international students from China and South Korea, what they liked, what they disliked and the challenges that they faced.

Regarding what they liked about studying at the college, the student participants mentioned friendly and patient professors, getting support through mentoring services and tutorials and workshops, and learning useful skills. Students also commented about living in Canada. Chinese students, in particular, commented on the clean environment and the friendly people. Students also liked developing friendships and receiving support from international friends. A staff member who was a former international student at the college mentioned the helpfulness of the students’ association for students from her country of origin in providing practical information and social events:

“I got information on tax returns, study permits, where to buy second hand books, where to find an apartment, how to be careful, banking information. And Chinese festivals, they have parties. So if you don’t have friends and you get lonely, you go there. You speak the same language, so you feel better.” (P3)

However, there were many more comments regarding challenges that the students faced, and things that they did not like. I categorized the responses into five topics: academic issues, language and culture issues, social issues, living environment and financial issues, and other college issues.

One academic issue, which has been well documented in other research studies on international students, concerned differences in academic culture. For example, a student participant stated: ‘When I had assignments, I did not know how to making it for getting good marks. Also, I was surprised at prohibited plagiarism.’ (S23) While some students had positive experiences with faculty, other students were highly dissatisfied: ‘I’m not 100% satisfied with my experiences because of professors. Some professors did not explain projects enough.’ (S30)

Staff members offered additional insight on academic issues frequently faced by international students. International students need to develop independence when they study abroad. This is a challenge for students who are living alone for the first time and do not have the social networks and support that they are used to having. As one staff member stated: “They seem to be lost and do not know how to take steps to resolve simple problems before they become large problems.” (P7)

The second major topic regarding challenges faced by international students concerns language and culture issues. It is not surprising that living and studying in a new language and culture is a great challenge for many students. One student participant mentioned that it was difficult to understand lectures because of new terms and vocabulary, and that it would be helpful if professors used more visuals in class.

Staff members also confirmed challenges regarding language, especially for Asian students. Because of differences in language and culture, it is difficult for international students to connect and socialize with local students. In addition, the existence of a large Chinese-speaking population in Toronto and at the college, where one-third of the international student body is from China, contributes to difficulties for Chinese students to learn and improve their English.

A third area of challenges concerns social issues, specifically, difficulties in making friends, loneliness, and feeling homesick:

‘The fact that there was no family and no friend here made me alone which I didn’t expect. I am the only child in my family and have lived alone for around ten years. I thought I am not that kind of person who feels lonely. However, it was hard to get used to a totally new place. I got more and more obsessed with food because that was my only hope. Unfortunately, I gained a lot of pounds. Of course, there were some people around me, but I could not be absolutely comfortable with them like my friends in Korea.’ (S32)

Other students commented on the difficulties of making friends with Canadian students. For example, 2 Chinese students explained that in China, international students are popular and the local Chinese students are curious about them and wish to befriend them. In contrast, in Canada, some international students have the feeling that local Canadian students do not wish to befriend them. A staff member who was an international student at the college said:

“They (Canadian students) tend to not make friends with you, most of them, because first of all, your English is a second language. They don’t want to team with you to do presentations and teamwork, because they think you are not good, just because of the language. A little bit prejudice or something like that. Canadian students are very busy, … most of them have a part-time job. And they don’t come to class on time. And they hang out, they do party like until 3 a.m. I never thought I could party until 3 a.m. or drink up till 3 a.m. or go to clubs. It’s totally different, our lifestyles are totally different.” (P3)

A fourth topic regarding challenges concerns issues with the living environment and finances. Two primary concerns regarding daily life were the weather and the public transportation. A number of student participants commented on the cold winter: ‘It was December 26 that I came here. The first thing that came into my head was cold. It was brutal. I could not go out and just stuck in my room. School and the residence are all my routine.’ (S32)

Financial issues, in particular, high tuition fees were mentioned as causing difficulties for international students. Students and staff concurred on the need for scholarships for international students. One staff member explained that there was not much financial aid for international students and that it is a difficult process to apply for aid. As a result, most international students try to find a job. A student from South Korea mentioned an additional challenge for international students regarding part-time jobs: Many international students cannot get a “regular” job like at a Tim Hortons or Subway and often have to work within their own ethnic communities, for example, in a Chinese or Korea restaurant. There, they don’t get the normal rate of pay, and earn half or even less.

Finally, some students voiced strong complaints about poor college service and unhelpful staff:

‘At International Admission Office, the employees are rude to international students. One of my friends went to there for asking something. Actually, she was not good at speaking English yet, but the employees were rude and made face so annoyed by her. I couldn’t understand at all. If they work at international student office, they know we are not good at speaking English. They need to be patient or wait for us. I felt sorry to my friend and sad about the situation. I hope they will be changed then other international students won’t be sad about that.’ (S29)

Another student stated: ‘[The college] should give more specific and precise information to the international students. Most of them are afraid whether they miss some important information because of their language problem.’ (S33) Staff participants also discussed difficulties that international students face with college services, and explained that possible reasons include decentralized services, lack of information, not knowing where to get information, and insufficient orientation.

Student needs.

My second research question examines the needs that international students from China and South Korea have. Student and staff participants discussed needs regarding language and culture, and social needs. In addition, staff participants identified needs in the areas of academics, orientation, college services, and finances.

Improving English skills and functioning successfully in English were mentioned as a primary concern. A student from Korea suggested that each international student have an English mentor, which would solve their English problem as well as their loneliness. Another student also suggested a buddy/mentor system, and added that this would also enable a cross-cultural exchange and learning. In addition, a student suggested that the college create opportunities for greater contact between students of different nationalities. Staff also spoke of the need for greater support for international students in terms of language and culture. One staff member noticed that developing speaking skills was especially difficult for Chinese and Korean international students, in comparison with students from Russia, Turkey or the Ukraine. The staff member said that students from these regions socialized more with Canadian students, whereas Chinese and Korean students tended to stay in their own co-national group.

In addition, staff discussed the students’ need for practical information and tips, and suggested that the college provide some special classes and handouts for new international students about cultural adjustment and topics such as how to go grocery shopping, how to get a driver’s license, how to see a doctor, and other practical items for their daily life. A staff member mentioned that 95% of the students have these kinds of questions. One staff member also suggested that the Career Centre provide job search workshops developed specifically for international students who do not have the cultural knowledge of local students:

“International students have different needs from domestic students. … For example, in Chinese culture, to promote yourself aggressively would be impolite. They wouldn’t do it. But in Canada, you have to do it and domestic students are well aware of it. A college employee might not explain it to international students, because they expect them to know it.” (P6)

Regarding academic needs, one topic that both students and staff discussed was the different academic expectations, especially concerning plagiarism. A student explained: ‘International students have to know studying skills. In exams, they have to use our own word when we write down answers.’ (S23) A staff member stated that it was crucial to help students understand what plagiarism is and that it is a serious academic offence. Other academic needs of international students include becoming familiar and comfortable with the different teaching and learning style in the Canadian educational context, for example, the expectation of participating in class discussions and group work.

Interestingly, there were far more comments from the student participants about social needs than language/culture and academic needs. Many student participants expressed the wish to make new friends, and suggested that the college provide more social events for students.

‘[The college] can make more opportunity for international students to communication with each other. For example, some people are very shy; they don’t talk too much although they really want to involve in others discussion. More opportunity to communicate others could make the people feel not be alone in foreign country.’ (S13)

Students expressed a desire to meet more co-national students, students from other countries, as well as local Canadian students. One student stated: ‘[The college] could organize more activities for the international students, help them build a network here as soon as possible.’ (S17) Another explained: ‘I feel between international students and Canadian students are separate, I hope there are some activities can include both, we can have some friends who are Canadians.’ (S5) Students also mentioned that international students need extra support and encouragement socially. Because of differences in language and culture, many are shy.

Lastly, staff also spoke at length about orientation for international students. Some issues raised included the fact that orientations are conducted in English, which makes it quite difficult and overwhelming for international students who have a low level of English proficiency to understand the information. Some suggestions included providing some information in the students’ first language, having separate orientations delivered to groups of students at different proficiency levels so that pace of delivery could be modified, involving ESL professionals in the delivery of orientations, and having a variety of delivery modes, that is, not just lecture style.

Similarities and differences between international students from China and South Korea.

My third research question focused on the similarities and differences between international students from China and South Korea in terms of their experiences and needs. For this question, observations and opinions came mainly from staff, based on their experience of working with Chinese and Korean international students at the college. The purpose of this question was to attempt to gain insight into possible reasons why students from South Korea have expressed greater dissatisfaction with the college. Satisfaction levels are related to expectations. In my analysis, I explored some factors that may account for higher expectations of South Korean students compared to Chinese students. Interestingly, the study on student satisfaction by Arambewela & Hall (2009) revealed that Chinese international students had the lowest expectations compared to other groups.

In my study, several staff members spoke of the difference in the students’ reasons for studying at the college. Many Chinese students plan to stay in Canada, and therefore, often enroll as postsecondary students as a means to gain residency status, in addition to gaining a professional diploma that would help them in their future employment. Although some South Korean students also wish to immigrate to Canada, many more are exchange students or intend to return to Korea after completing their professional program. Thus, one reason for greater dissatisfaction may be because of higher expectations of Korean students who are on exchange and wish to optimize their experiences during their limited time in Canada. In contrast, Chinese students who are enrolled at the college for the longer-term goal of gaining residency may be more accepting of problems and issues.

A number of staff members also commented on the fact that South Korea is a highly developed country with high standards in education and a high standard of living. Therefore, students from South Korea may have higher expectations because of what they are used to.

Another factor that may account for differences in expectations and hence, satisfaction levels is the fact that many South Korean students have been in Canada for a longer period of time and have studied at private language schools before coming to the college. Furthermore, many South Korean students have already completed some form of postsecondary education in South Korea before coming to Canada. Having had these previous experiences may also contribute to higher expectations. In addition, they may be also be more comfortable about expressing their opinions and dissatisfaction, both as a result of having had more postsecondary experience and more local Canadian experience. In contrast, many Chinese international students are recent secondary school graduates who often come directly to the college.

Moreover, one staff member who was familiar with Chinese culture and the political context suggested that Chinese students who have grown up in a communist system may be less comfortable dealing with authority figures. Also, Chinese students may be more hesitant to express their true opinions and express criticism, for example, on the International Barometer Survey:

“The Chinese students are less forward with how they feel and what is in their minds. … If you grow up in a culture that does not promote self-expression or does not encourage that kind of thing, it is hard for them to express themselves. They may be looking for the right answers instead. It would probably take some time for them to really get in touch with their feelings, and to be able to tell you what they really think, without fear. That’s the process I went through myself, when I first came.” (P7)

In contrast, a staff member noted that South Korean students are more forthcoming with their opinions and requests: “Korean students are not shy. They come to the office and talk to you. The Chinese students are very shy. They hesitate to ask for things.” (P3)

Staff also identified differences in terms of support available to international students from China and South Korea. A staff member suggested that South Korean students had higher expectations regarding support from the college because students receive greater support and guidance in South Korean higher education institutions. Because of the large Chinese community in the city and at the college, Chinese students have a great deal of support from their ethnic community. While this may impede their learning of English and their integration and acculturation, as discussed previously, having this strong community support may also contribute to greater satisfaction and sense of wellbeing.

Implications of Research Findings

Regarding the challenges and needs of international students, my findings confirm previous research that identified major issues and barriers related to language and culture, academic norms and expectations, social contact and networks, college services, finances, and daily life. Based on my findings, I would like to suggest three areas in which programs and support can be developed to improve the experiences and satisfaction of international students: connection between international and local students; orientation and academic language and culture support; and developing the cross-cultural awareness of host country members.

The first area that would improve the experience of international students concerns bridging the divide between international students and local Canadian students. A number of students suggested that every international student have a mentor who is a local student at the college. However, because of the dominant deficit model concerning international students, that is, that international students are perceived to be lacking skills and knowledge and need to be helped, I would recommend a buddy system that emphasizes cultural exchange. Given the increasing importance of our globalized world and societies, having such an exchange would benefit both local students and international students in gaining cross-cultural understanding and competencies. Because college students need incentives to participate in such an exchange, this could be part of a credit course on developing cross-cultural understanding and competence. Such a course would provide increased opportunities for students from various backgrounds to make meaningful connections and learn from each other.

The second area in which improvements can be made is to develop a more extensive and ongoing orientation during the students’ first semester. As discussed by student and staff participants, a great deal of information is delivered to international students in a one-day orientation. Many students who have just arrived are overwhelmed by the amount of information given, and also, because of language proficiency issues, may not understand much of the information. As mentioned by a number of staff members, international students, many of whom are away from home for the first time, often feel lost. For this reason, it is understandable that many seek the safety and support of co-national friends. But the disadvantage is that many tend to stay within this safe network and do not integrate into the wider college community. Some institutions, for example, Westminster College in Utah and Arizona Western College have offered credit orientation courses for an entire semester that incorporates academic expectations and norms regarding teaching and learning styles, and give international students opportunities to practice participating in class discussions and group work in a safe, supportive environment. Such an orientation and acculturation course is particularly important for international students who enter a professional program directly, rather than first completing the Academic English preparatory program at the institution.

The third area that impacts the experiences and satisfaction of international students, as discussed by a number of student participants, concerns the attitude of host culture members, that is, local students, faculty and staff at the college. Given the importance of international students at the college – and also domestic students with international backgrounds, who may also speak English as an additional language and come from a different educational system – it would be helpful to have professional development workshops for faculty and staff to develop awareness of and empathy for the challenges faced by international students. Unless a person has had recent experience in a context with another language and culture, it may be difficult to empathize with the struggles of these students. In addition, because of the reported divide between local and international students, the college could develop a campaign to promote diversity at the college, and in particular, the benefits of having international students at the college.

To conclude, although this qualitative study was limited to two groups of international students and a small number of student and staff participants, the data provided some insights into the lived experiences of international students, their challenges and needs, and the types of support that may contribute to improving the experiences and satisfaction of international students at a postsecondary institution. Supporting the success and wellbeing of international students would better enable these students to contribute their diverse worldviews and experiences, which would benefit the entire postsecondary community.


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Ping Deters is a Professor in the English Language Institute at Seneca College in Toronto, ON. She can be reached at