Career development from school to work: A holistic understanding of the physical and psychological process of international student transition
By Liton Furkawa
With the growing population of international students changing the demographics in Canada, and the dramatic increase of internationalization in the academy as a part of the Canadian present and future, the federal government now offers a new immigration category called the Canadian Experience Class to assist a certain number of graduates. The transition from school to work is crucial for the international students who wish to apply as a skilled worker under the Canadian Experience Class. For the majority, getting a job or being self-employed as a new entrepreneur after graduating from a school is an inevitable process, which is a significant transition in an individual’s career life. Comparable with any other noteworthy life event, school-to-work transition creates challenges that require readjustments and might result in exciting or distressing experiences. Existing research has not yet reached consensus on the mechanism for a well-adapted career transformation, and school-to-work programs emphasizing individuals’ lifestyles, career adaptability and school-to-work transition are lacking. The present study aims to explore the underlying factors that influence an individual’s experience of school-to-work, thereby guiding career counselling professionals to promote a satisfying school-to-work transition for individuals.
In a literature review, the researcher probes issues such as international students’ lifestyles, school-to-work transition as a career developmental process, school-to-work transition and career adaptability, and the new challenges of school-to-work transition and career counselling in Canada. This research aims to gain a holistic understanding of the physical and psychological process of individuals going through their school-to-work transition and the researcher employs a narrative analysis to evaluate a student’s lifestyle. The research assumes that the quality of an individual’s experience in a school-to-work transition, physically and psychologically, depends on their career adaptability, which is determined by their lifestyle and the social and economic environment as a theoretical framework for career adaptation.
The relationships between international students’ lifestyles, career adaptability and school-to-work transitions will be explored in a cross-sectional and mixed design study of 100 international students divided into two groups. The first group has 50 participants in their last year of study at two universities in the province of British Columbia – University of Victoria (UVic) and Royal Roads University (RRU). The second group is a control group of 50 international student graduates from these two universities who are currently employed. All participants will be recruited by RRU’s international offices and the UVic Global Community. A mixed design of quantitative and qualitative methods will be used in this study in order to gain a holistic understanding of the mechanisms that impact an individual’s response to the school-to-work transition. Both the Well-Being Inventory (Vogt, Taverna, Nillni, & Tyrell, 2018) and Career Transition Inventory (Gysbers, Heppner, & Johnston, 2014) will serve as frameworks for the open-ended questions in the semi-structured interviews ranging from 30 to 45 minutes. The narrative data will be analyzed and the statistical program – MANOVA will be used to test the hypothesis.
Liton Furukawa speaks five languages and has taught courses across the curriculum and instruction, arts education and educational technology at universities in Asia and North America. Her doctoral interdisciplinary research transformed from theory to practice and involved the topics of school-to-work programs, cross-cultural adaptation, entrepreneurial education from an international perspective, and career exploration and development play in children.