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Positive aspects of international students’ cross-cultural transition: a qualitative exploration

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(Thesis) M.A.
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As the international student population grows, it becomes increasingly important to understand the experience of crossing cultures. The literature has focused predominantly on associated problems while positive aspects have received little attention. The current study combines a Critical Incident Technique methodology and a positive psychology lens to explore the cross-cultural transition of seven international students, focusing on facilitative factors, growth, and personal resources. Nine categories of helpful factors emerged from the 134 critical incidents recounted in the interviews: growth and/or change, social support/building relationships, learning to navigate host culture, enjoyable activities outside of schoolwork, previous experiences and preparation, supportive faculty and staff, persevering through hard times, sense of belonging, and staying connected to roots. Further interpretation revealed four overriding themes: connecting with others, maintaining a foundation, embracing the process, and discovering strengths within. I also presented suggestions for future research and implications for counsellors and postsecondary institutions.
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