Skip to main content

International secondary students in BC public school: Navigating neoliberal discourses and living in the in-between

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
The rise of international education and the institutional push for it in Canada necessitates further investigation in the K-12 public sector, for which there is limited research. This dissertation is based on a one-year qualitative ethnographic study in a secondary school located within Metro Vancouver, British Columbia (BC). It explores the experiences of eight international students at the high school level as they navigated internationalization and globalization discourses and led in-between lives while trying to achieve their educational goals. Drawing upon a range of literature, this dissertation is an examination of international education as it intersects with neoliberal ideology and the phenomenon of globalizing English. The thesis applies internationalization and international education frameworks in exploring the narratives and experiences of these secondary international students. Data includes interviews with students, teachers and administrators, and fieldnotes from participant observations and impromptu conversations that occurred during school visits and interactions with participants. Additionally, data incorporates references to policy and program documents that reflect official discourses around international education in the K-12 system. The dissertation identifies and contextualizes the market paradigm underscoring international secondary education, even as participants and educational programs aspire to more idealistic notions of it. The constraints of a neoliberal system are shown as leading to an ad hoc quality in international programming design and practices. Analysis also focuses on students' imaginaries and the pressures faced as they buy into competitive and instrumentalizing discourses regarding competency accumulation. In addition, poststructural and postcolonial theorizations surrounding hybridity and discursivity highlight instances of in-betweenness and opportunities wherein international students might negotiate dominant discourses along their international journeys. The thesis also reflects upon possibilities for reimagining international education through consideration of such factors as students' liminality and their positions as younger participants in study-abroad programs. By identifying how students can be affected by an economized education system, as well as how they take up and/or dialectically engage with dominant discourses, this dissertation contributes to knowledge and programming for internationalization at the secondary level.
244 pages.
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Ilieva, Roumiana
Member of collection
Download file Size
etd22122.pdf 1.49 MB

Views & downloads - as of June 2023

Views: 0
Downloads: 0