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What is the Impact of International Transition on Social and Emotional Health: A case study of East Asian International Students in the Coquitlam School District

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Author: Nelson, Joel
In the Coquitlam school district, International students arrive in great numbers and contribute a substantial amount of money to the district (Kuehn, 2012). But what is happening to them after they arrive? At such a vulnerable time in their lives, these young people are uprooting their lives and travelling across the world alone. The bulk of research surrounding international students focuses on those enrolled in post-secondary schooling. This research focuses on the stressors in the lives of International students in the Coquitlam high school system. A series of 4 focus groups were conducted to interview 12 students of Chinese or Korean heritage. The students ranged in age from 15 to 18 years old and all attended the same high school in the Coquitlam school district. The interviews were transcribed and the results were compiled to represent the voice of these 12 students. Subjects came to Canada eager to further their education but most were concerned with forming new friendships. After a transition described as confusing, challenging and lonely many struggled to forge meaningful relationships. Their friendships were almost exclusively with International students of the same age, from the same country, who arrived in the same year. Participants indicated that students born in Canada or those with landed status rarely befriended them. It was also noted that students did not turn to school counselors for support. Participants made several recommendations to ease this transition for future International students.
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