The Role of Two Extracurricular Programs in International Students' Informal Learning Experiences in Atlantic Canada

The Role of Two Extracurricular Programs in International Students' Informal Learning Experiences in Atlantic Canada

Junfang Fu (Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5030-4.ch009
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This chapter is composed with a strong empirical base on international students' experiences at Canadian higher education institutions. It focuses on international students' sociocultural adjustment, development in intercultural awareness and professional skills, and integration within the community. A qualitative methodology has been applied in the study of 10 international student participants from two extracurricular programs in Halifax, the city with the most higher education institutions in Atlantic Canada. The author holds a unique perspective on this subject for her triple identity as a former international student, program organizer, and practitioner in international education for over 10 years.
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Canada has seen a significant growth in the foreign student population, which has risen at both the national and regional levels, as table 1 shows.

Table 1.
International students in Canada by province, 2004–2005 and 2013–2014
Province of StudyInternational Students (Percentage)

Source: Statistics Canada (2016)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Experiential Learning: The ability to learn from practice, to gain new insights from observation, to refine perspectives from reflection, to transfer existed skills in new situation.

Informal Learning: Non-institutionalized and voluntary learning, learning through participation, student-centered, self-directed, and meaningful experiences integrated in community life.

Extracurricular Activity: Activities for international students to expand social connections, develop valuable skills, and gain Canadian experience, which falls outside the realm of the standard curriculum of school, college, or university education.

Formal Learning: Structured and compulsory learning with objectives and goals, usually teacher-centered, happening within a school, university, or college.

Focus Group: A small group of people who have been invited to participate in a facilitated discussion whose purpose is to collect participants’ opinions and experiences on a certain topic.

Case Study: An in-depth study to describe and analyse a series of phenomena, such as a person, a program, an organization, a process, etc.

Retention of International Students: To keep international students in the local labour market after they complete study in Canadian universities or colleges, and the conversion of international graduates into productive labour force in Canada, which helps to alleviate the demographic issues, such as the aging society and out-migration.

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