Research shows how international students prepare for Canadian labour market

Karla Karcioglu, Contributor Ω

Nancy Bepple presents results from her survey of international students about Canadian job goals. - Photo by Karla Karcioglu

Nancy Bepple presents results from her survey of international students about Canadian job goals. – Photo by Karla Karcioglu

Nancy Bepple, TRU career education coordinator and city councillor, presented preliminary findings from her research on “how international students are preparing for career-related work in the Canadian labour market after graduation,” as part of TRU’s International Days.

More than 50 per cent of international students surveyed want to stay in Canada after their education, according to Bepple’s research.

Bepple focused her research, conducted through surveys and focus groups, on two questions. First, what are international students’ strategies to gain “capital?” Second, what is the role of TRU and its career education programs and services?

According to Bepple, capital can be divided into four categories. Human capital is knowledge and abilities such as language skills and work experience. Social capital is the relationships formed through university participation, workplace connections and academic connections. Cultural capital is ways of doing and communicating. Symbolic capital is what is valued, for example a Harvard degree may hold more symbolic capital in North America than a degree from King Saud University.

Bepple said while international students have several types of capital, it might not be valued in Canada.

English skills were most important and social relationships outside of Canada were least important for gaining employment in Canada, according to a survey of international students. They felt it was important to talk to people and get involved in the community in order to get practice with language and cultural skills.

TRU international students expressed desire for more work experience, more volunteer experience, more access to the career education department and more program-specific job fairs.

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