International Students and Mental Health Problems


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International Students and Mental Health Problems

  1. 1. INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS AND MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS: Understanding Causes And Engaging In Prevention Wayne Myles (Chair) and Dr. Mike Condra CBIE St. John’s, Nfld November 2, 2008
  2. 2. <ul><ul><li>Increased international student numbers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased partnerships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased exchanges </li></ul></ul>Internationalization means
  3. 3. <ul><li>Between 1996 and 2006 international student numbers on Canadian campuses rose from 25,500 to 83,000 </li></ul>National Statistics AUCC. Canadian universities and international student mobility . 2007 .
  5. 6. <ul><li>92% of institutions surveyed said they recruit international students to promote internationalization and greater diversity on campus. </li></ul>AUCC. Canadian universities and international student mobility . 2007 . Why recruit international students?
  6. 7. <ul><ul><li>47% said “yes” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>17% said “being developed” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>37% said “no” </li></ul></ul>Do the same institutions have programs to ensure international student success? AUCC. Canadian universities and international student mobility . 2007 .
  7. 8. <ul><li>Mobility means increased stress with </li></ul><ul><ul><li>complications in logistics (visas, travel and settling in) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a percentage of students who fall outside the usual university/college schedules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>students who are tired and disoriented </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>students whose English is unfamiliar </li></ul></ul>Students in transition
  8. 9. <ul><li>Institutions with systems that disadvantage international students due to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>different academic cultures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>strict timelines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>unfamiliar procedures and protocols </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>legislated formats </li></ul></ul>Internationalization can also mean
  9. 10. <ul><li>The &quot;system&quot; is built on the assumptions for delivering services to domestic students. </li></ul><ul><li>When international students run into difficulty, the institution, in effect, &quot;bumps into&quot; the inapplicability of some of its assumptions in the case of international students. </li></ul>Why?
  10. 12. <ul><li>A student is one of a handful of graduate students chosen by his government to receive funding to pursue a PhD abroad.  Of the group he is the only student who comes to Canada.  He has high expectations of himself and of the host university.  The program requires the passing of comprehensives before coursework and research begin. The student fails his comprehensives in part because he needed to do courses in order to settle into the academic system and prove to himself he could succeed. But the system did not provide for that to happen. During the next weeks, the relationship with his supervisor deteriorates such that they cannot speak civilly to one another.  Poor communication results in misunderstandings on both sides.  The student speaks of suicide and seeks personal support from all formal and informal options available.  Finally, the student is asked to withdraw.  He does so by moving to another Canadian university - with the hope of a better experience. </li></ul>Student Stories
  11. 13. <ul><li>A graduate student was assigned a supervisor by the department.  The student came to believe she was being treated differently than her peers.  She worked long hours on her supervisor's research projects, but found it difficult to assert her own research interests and to have time to advance her own work.  The student spent more than two years in researching her thesis but could not make progress due to the supervisor’s demands. To finish her degree the student had to begin from the start with a new supervisor, therefore creating serious financial and psychological stress. </li></ul>Student stories
  12. 14. <ul><li>A student is admitted into a one-year program that requires completion within that period. No extensions will be considered. The student who has borrowed money at a high rate of interest in his home country to pay for the course arrives three weeks late due to visa delays. The student can not cope with the intensity of the program given his late start. The pressure and worry cause the student to miss classes due to poor health. He is asked to leave the program with no consideration of alternatives or possible refund. Due to the stress caused by his failure in the course, an impossibly high loan that he can not pay back, and the dishonour brought to his family, the student commits suicide. </li></ul>Student stories