The support the university of new brunswick gives to international students final

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The support the university of new brunswick gives to international students final

  1. 1. The Support the University of New Brunswick Gives to International Students’ Spouses. A Needs Assessment4/10/2012University of New BrunswickPrepared by: Valerie Lewis
  2. 2. The purpose of this needs assessment is to look at the support the Universityof New Brunswick gives to international students’ spouses for them to befunctional within a new environment.. Table of Contents Chapters PagesIntroduction ............................................................................................................................................................ 3Population ................................................................................................................................................................ 5Methodology ........................................................................................................................................................... 6Findings .................................................................................................................................................................... 6Recommendations ............................................................................................................................................. 13Conclusion............................................................................................................................................................. 20Reference............................................................................................................................................................... 21Appendix A ........................................................................................................................................................... 22Appendix B ........................................................................................................................................................... 25Appendix C ............................................................................................................................................................ 29 2
  3. 3. Introduction The University of New Brunswick has a population of about 1000international students. These international students represent about 100different countries. Of this population, about 1000 international students,approximately 316 are graduate students, who are either doing their mastersor PhD. It is customary for older and more mature students to take along theirfamilies when studying. Ninety-eight percent of the international studentpopulation with spouses are male students and the other 2 percent are femalestudents with their husbands. The purpose of this needs assessment is to lookat the support the University of New Brunswick gives to international students’spouses, for them to function within a new environment. The needsassessment seeks to find the gap between the support that is given now andwhat should be given or what is expected. The University currently provides support for international students andtheir spouses through its International Student’s Advisor office. This officeemploys two people— one International Student Resource Coordinator and theInternational Students’ Advisor. The office provides support on immigrationmatters, forums for such matters as settlement for new students and theirfamilies, guidelines for working in Canada, and how to access health care.Students are also free to make appointments to speak to the InternationalStudents Advisors regarding any topics or issues that affect them. 3
  4. 4. From discussion with the International Students’ Advisor and byobservation, it was concluded that most international students’ wives are left athome every day with no friends or social life. Also, most are unable to read orspeak English or French. They are unable to conduct essential businesswithout their husbands. Some do not have a health card or a work permit andas a result, most do not work outside the home. These spouses also perceivethat the locals are not welcoming to them.The literature does not show that there are any studies done to support theimportance of spousal support in persuading further education/studies.Hence, I will use few quotes from two spouses to show the importance of theirsupport.One wife has this to say about her duties as a wife of an international student:“I feel that giving my husband respect, as well as supporting him in his duties andstudies, is my way of showing appreciation for him. My being here also helps him tofocus more on his studies because he knows exactly what is happening to his family.”Another one had this to say: “We are close and work together to achieve goals. Hewould be lonely here without me. He would not be able to concentrate.”These heartfelt expressions show the importance of spousal support in study.This kind of support benefits the student. It allows the student to focus onhis/her studies, without having to worry about the well-being of the family.The goal is to look at ways in which UNB can provide: 4
  5. 5. 1. Social experiences for these women at a reasonable, or no, cost.2. Help them to speak English or French.3. Integrate them into the Fredericton community.4. Immigration advisingPopulation The population studied for this needs assessment consisted of twenty-three (23) graduate students. Twenty (20) of these were male and one female.It also included twenty spouses, nineteen of whom were female, and one lonemale, along with the International Students’ Advisors. The age range of thepopulation was from age 26 to 45 and they were from such diverse countries asLibya, China, Bangladesh, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. They spoke theirown local tongues fluently, such as Korean, Chinese, Arabic, and many otherlanguages— some speaking as many as three languages. The majority of thepopulation spoke only a little English and no French. The population has beenin Canada between fifteen months to four years. Most of the families havechildren in ages ranging from one year to three years, with 99 percent of thefamilies having one child and one percent with two. 5
  6. 6. Methodology The data was collected using a variety of methods, in order to ascertainthe information as best as possible over a period of two months from Februaryto March of 2012. To collect the data from the students, an online survey wassent out via the international students’ news using Survey Monkey. This surveywas sent out twice, so as to capture as much of the international studentspopulation as possible. The second half of the data was collected using apaper-based questionnaire. This was handed out in person afterwhichinterviews were done using a focus group setting, where ladies met in acommon group of interest (children’s play group) and held a discussion. Theresearcher went twice, so as to garner additional respondents, to get a more in-depth view of the issues that affect these international students’ spouses, aswell as to clarify information from the previous week that was not understood.Some amount of data was also collected via interviews with a few Saudiwomen. Small, informal talks were also held with international students andtheir spouses throughout the period. Data was also collected from theinternational students’ website and informal interviews were done with theInternational Student Advisor.FindingsBelow are the findings from all of these data sources:Frequency in Attending Programs 6
  7. 7. When spouses were questioned about the frequency with which theyattended the current programs that the university hosts for them, they saidthey attended often. This was evident from the fact that most of the ladies I metwere at the children’s play group. The spouses also reassured me of theircommitment to attend any program that is put inplace for them (see chart 1).Spouses also rate the current programs they attend as excellent, and say theylearn a lot from the programs. They would be very interested to see otherprograms that are geared toward them. However, they also point to the factthat they only know about one program, the children’s play group that wasgeared toward them. Chart 1Language Class One of the most pressing concerns, among the international studentsand their spouses, is the need to learn the English language. This, for them, is 7
  8. 8. a major issue, since most of them are very qualified in various fields such aseducation, pharmacy, nutrition, and accounting, and many other disciplines.They would like to work in Canada, in their area of speciality.When questioned about the reason why they do not work, about 80 percentgave the reason of not being able to speak or understand English adequately.This was what one lady had to say: “I am a pharmacist but I cannot get a jobbecause I don’t speak English”Also, when asked about their ability to speakFrench, only 40 percent of the population could speak French a little and theothers not at all (see chart 2). This also affects their ability to socialize becauseof the language barrier of communication between them and the locals. Theycannot understand each other.Chart 2 The entire population of spouses are very educated and professional.However, it is clear that these ladies are non-functional in Fredericton, since 8
  9. 9. the official languages are English and French and they do not speak either ofthe two languages. Although French is also the official language, most wouldrather speak English, since they think it is the language spoken mostly in thetown and around the world. One graduate PhD student (Female) reported thather husband went to the multicultural office to ask for help with his English.He was told that he is not a permanent resident and, hence, could not accessthe services provided by the multicultural association.Support for Parenting Strategies Another pressing issue for the ladies was that of parental support.Most of the international student wives are young mothers with children inages ranging from 1-4 years.For most of these ladies that I met, the process ofreproduction,prenatal care, and parenting is new to them. These ladies havenever gone through these processes of parenting before they entered Canada.The ladies have suggested that informational sessions on prenatal care wouldhelp to them to be comfortable and adopt to the same understanding aboutchild care and birth as Canadian women.They also suggested that informationsessions about parenting would be beneficial, since they are new mothersimmersed in a new culture that has different standards and beliefs about childcare and parenting, which for them are new skills. As one mother said, 9
  10. 10. “This is my first child. I did not know what to expect at birth, what to feed, or how todress my child. We dress children differently in Libya than in Canada. I do not go outoften enough to see how children are dressed.”Social Women’s Groups Another suggestion was to have a women’s social group, whereinternational women can share ideas about obstacles and successes which canserve as insight /motivation for each other. This women’s social group wouldhelp with the English language, provide social interaction, andprovide a forumand seminar about any burning issues (e.g. Child care, immunization, etc.)Support for Children’s Actives In addition to parental support, another area of concern is support forchildren’s social development. Children, for the most part, only socialize withparents. They are introduced only to the official language of their parents.Children get littleor no time to be with their peers. Since most parents are inclass at the time of the play group (10 o’clock Thursday), they don’t have thetime to take them there and most ladies would be shy to be outside withouttheir husband. Parents are suggesting that children’s play groups should beheld in the evening and/or on weekends, so as to give parents options as totimes, and also to allow more children to participate.Parents are also convinced 10
  11. 11. that this would help them and their children develop their English skills.Another support that parents crave for kids is in the form of day care. Parentscomplain about the cost of daycare and also of the long waiting list that theyare placed on. Students feel that this could be remedied by the universityhaving a low cost day care program for international students.Orientation Program to Involve Spouses The students stated that although the present orientation programme isgood they would like it to be extended to their spouse. The spouses alsostrongly suggest an extension in the orientation programmes to students’spouses. They would also like the orientation to include a tour of the campus.A tour of the town, trips to the malls, and other key shopping areas and doctoroffices would also be welcome. They also suggested the orientation programmecould provide tips about dressing appropriately in Canada, since they arecoming from countries such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, and China where they donot experience such drastic weather change.Helping Assess Spouses’ Qualifications Another strong area of concern for both spouses was that of gettingqualifications assessed, since most of them were active professionals in theircountries. They stated that they would like to have an idea of what their 11
  12. 12. certification is worth in Canada, and about contributions they can make tosociety while they are here. They stated that they don’t know where to go todiscuss this matter. One wife has this to say, “I am a pharmacist but the university don’t offer any course in pharmacist so Idon’t know where to go to get my papers assess”.Without a doubt some helpwithin this area would be beneficial for the ladies.Food Choices It is difficult to find food from different cultures in Fredericton, since thepopulation of the different cultures is notlargeenough to support such uniqueneeds. Understandably, the international students have difficulty findingingredients to make dishes from their culture. This limits the choices of thefood that one eats. “I couldn’t believe it, I lost 15 pounds in the first 4 months I was here; we justdid not know what to eat”.Another factor that they cite is their inability to prepare foods/ dishes from theCanadian culture, so as to help them to be able to eat more of the food thatthey see around them. 12
  13. 13. Transportation Service One very large concern that international students have is that oftransportation on Sundays. Since most of the graduate students are TeacherAssistants and go to class all week, the students find it hard to do personalshopping during the week. Students,therefore, do shopping on Saturdays andSundays. On Saturday, students find it a little easier to get around using thelimited bus service.On Sunday, there is no bus service— hence, students haveto walk. Also, graduate students reported that they are being put out of “SafeRide” * as of this academic year, with drivers citing that safe rides are forundergraduate students and not for graduate students. Also their spouses arenot allowed to take Safe Ride, since they do not have an identification card.*Safe Ride is a means of transportation that is provided by the University forUndergrad students in the evening (6-12pm).Recommendations The recommendations made below are suggestions and are meant toservice as possibilities and options regarding the situation that exists, ratherthan as definite solutions. Suggestions presented here are based on our focus 13
  14. 14. group interviews, surveys, discussions, reviews of literature, personalknowledge of a variety of factors, and my position as an international graduatestudent, within a family. However,much of what is suggested in therecommendations comes from spouses of international students and theinternational students themselves.Additional Staff at the International Students’ Office In order to carry out all the necessary functions, I recommend thatadditional staff members be employed by the International Students’ Officeeither by means ofspouses, or students to help provide newcomers with someadvice and orientation. This would alleviate the burden on the current (two)staff and give students and spouses’ access to more personnel.Language Classes When you move to a different country or region, learning the locallanguage will definitely help you to communicate with the locals and integrateinto the local community. Doing so will demonstrate your interest in andcommitment to, being a part of the community and help you to be better ableto access services. It is with this view in mind that I make these suggestions:1.Extension on the English corner to include spouses of international students. 14
  15. 15. 2. Implementation of a Women’s Conversation Club where women speak toeach other using the two local languages. This will not only help the ladies tolearn the language, but also to form lifetime friendships.3. Ask international students to voluntarily teach a language class on rotatingbases.Support for Parenting Parenting is one of the most important jobs a parent can do. It is saidthat good parenting builds strong families, and strong families build strongcommunities. When families migrate to a new culture, it is difficult for them tounderstand the norms of the culture without any form of induction. In asimilar way, it is difficult for a young mother to totally understand how to carefor a child without any form of support from the outside world. It is with thisview in mind I made the following recommendations: 1. Request that volunteers from the School of Nursing have talks withinternational students’ spouses. This could be set up to be a part of thenursing students’ grades. 2. Invite doctors and nurses to sessions and workshops about parenting. 3. Request volunteers from the education counselling department. Again,this could be a part of student grades. 15
  16. 16. Social Groups for Women It is recommended that a woman’s social group be held once per weekWomen’s social groups could be used to discuss parenting, help to developlanguage skills, share ideas about food, culture, job searches, and any otherimportant issue.Children’s Play From my observation at the children’s play group, most of the children at the play group average about two years old, and are from different ethnic backgrounds. I observedthese children socializing with each other without reservation. This group also brings together adults that share the same interests and passions. Taking this into consideration, it would be recommended that the program be extended from once a week to twice, to include a weekend day to get more parents out. 1. School age children to participate, so as to get a wider mix of age groups.This could help to boost the small children’s language skills 2. To give parents who are busy during the week the opportunity to participate. 16
  17. 17. 3. Ask for volunteers from the education department to help with home work sessions for childrenOrientation Program to Involve Spouse According to (Info- Line, ASTD, 2000,p1) Orientation is a process … not anevent. It is part of the overall integration of new employees or people into theorganization or community by which the organization / community helps thenew hire / residents to adapt to the work environment / community and thejob. .. Successful orientation speeds up adaptation process, helping newemployees/residents feel comfortable at the job/community.An unsuccessfulorientation can mean more than slow adaptation for employees, it can mean noadaptation.” It is with this statement in mind that I make the followingrecommendations: 1. Extend orientation not only to students, but to their family at large. 2. Have orientation not just the first week, but over a period of time with different events. 3. Make orientation time flexible— not just week days but include weekends, evenings, and mornings so everyone gets a chance to be involved. 17
  18. 18. 4. Make orientation current and relevant (e.g. demonstrations of how to dress for winter, how to read a bus map, etc.)Helping with Assessing Spouses’ Qualifications After conducting my interviews with the spouses, it is surprising to learnthat most of these ladies are professional women, who gave up their jobs tochase their husbands’ dreams. It was noted that these ladies are from variouscareers such as teachers, pharmacists, accountants, computer specialists, andmany other professions. Recognizing this, I recommend that a committee be setup at the International Students Advisors office,whichcan look at theirqualifications. Also locally, the International Student Advisorcould providesessions, regarding places where qualifications can be assessed.Food In order to stay healthy one needs to eat foods from the entire foodgroups daily. It may be hard for international students to find the food theylove and enjoy in a small town like Fredericton, where the population ispredominantly Canadian. To help to alleviate the burden of food choice anumber of things can be done: 1. Continue to tell students where the different stores are located during orientation. 18
  19. 19. 2. Give students a hand book with basic Canadian recipes for which ingredients are readily available, for e.g. meat, burger etc. Also include places /sources of international food in town in the handbook. 3. Once per month, setup what is known as international quisling, starting with a few Canadian dishes first,and then extendingthis to other countries. Dishes would be prepared in view of the students / spouses. 4. Ask international students to share easy to cook recipes.Transportation Service Transportation inFredericton is a big problem. In order to help internationalstudents and their spouses to deal with this situation, the university can doother things along with giving them the bus passes they currently enjoy: 1.Provide international students with taxi discount. 3. Have talks with the undergrad office, to allow international grad students and spouses to take Safe Ride. 19
  20. 20. Conclusion The needs assessment carried out in this activity was meant to look atthe support the University of New Brunswick gives to the spouses ofinternational students, for them to be functional within a new environment. Itexplores some of the problems that the spouse faces, and givesrecommendations that can be used as a guide to implement changes wherenecessary. 20
  21. 21. ReferenceASTD. (2000). Successful Orientation Programs. Info-line , 1. 21
  22. 22. Appendix Ahttp://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LVQMS7KUNB Support Given to the Wives of International Students (StudentsSurvey)TO: International studentsFrom Valerie LewisRE: Needs AssessmentThe purpose of this survey is to complete my requirement for a course. It will also provideinformation that may be of use to the International Student Advisor, regarding ways in whichthey can improve and include more programs that are beneficial to the wife/ spouse ofinternational students. The information you provide will help them look at ways in which theycan help spouses of international students settle in Fredericton /Canada. It will also aid them infinding ways to reduce, and remove, some of the barriers that your spouse faces as the spouse ofan international student.This survey will ask questions about the present program that UNB offers to you, your spousesexperience as an international student’s spouse, and about other programs that you would like tobe put in place to benefit you as a foreigner. They would like to learn more about the barriers thatmay affect your ability to find employment. Your participation in this survey is completelyanonymous. Survey results will only be reported as a group, not as individuals. Your responseswill in no way affect your access to any programme that you now enjoy at UNB. If you have anyquestions, please email me at i1q04@unb.ca1. How long have you been here at UNB?How long have you been here at UNB?2. How many members of your family are here with you? 22
  23. 23. How many members of your family are here with you?3. Describe how well your spouse can speak and understand English? Describe how well your spouse can speak and understand English? Poor Barely Acceptable Fair Good Excellent4. What is your area of study and what level degree will you receive after youhave completed your studies?What is your area of study and what level degree will you receive after you have completed yourstudies?5. If you were speaking to someone from your country, who wants to come here(UNB) to study and bring their wife/family, what advice would you give them?If you were speaking to someone from your country, who wants to come here (UNB) to studyand bring their wife/family, what advice would you give them?6. if you were to travel to Fredericton with your family again, what would you dodifferently?If you were to travel to Fredericton with your family again, what would you do differently? 23
  24. 24. 7. What kind of support would you like UNB to provide for your family?What kind of support would you like UNB to provide for your family?8. How would you rate the support that UNB gives now? How would you rate the support that UNB gives now? Poor Fair Barely Acceptable Good Excellent9. Which programs that the University offers now are most beneficial to yourfamily?Which programs that the University offers now are most beneficial to your family?10. What programs would you like UNB to implement?What programs would you like UNB to implement? 24
  25. 25. Appendix Bhttp://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LD88B73UNB Support Given to the Wives of International Students (Spouse Survey)TO: International studentsFrom Valerie LewisRE: Needs AssessmentThe purpose of this survey is to complete my requirement for a course. It may also provide informationto the International Student Advisor, regarding ways in which they can improve and include moreprograms that are beneficial to you, as the wife/ spouse of an international student. The informationyou provide will help them look at ways in which they can help spouses of international students settlein Fredericton /Canada. It will also aid them in finding ways to reduce, and remove, some of the barriersthat you face as the spouse of an international student.This survey will ask questions about the present programs that UNB offers to you, your experience as aninternational student’s spouse, and about other programs that you would like to be put in place tobenefit you as a foreigner. They would like to learn more about the barriers that may affect your abilityto find employment. Your participation in this survey is completely anonymous. Survey results will onlybe reported as a group, not as individuals. Your responses will in no way affect your access to anyprogramme that you now enjoy at UNB. If you have any questions, please email me at i1q04@unb.ca.1. What is your gender? What is your gender? Male Female2. How long have you lived in Fredericton?How long have you lived in Fredericton? 25
  26. 26. 3. What country are you originally from?What country are you originally from?4. What is your official language?What is your official language?5. Do you have a health card? Do you have a health card? Yes No6. Please use the rating scale to answer the following questions, Not at all very little pretty well very well toHow well do you speak English?How well do you speak French?7. Do you work outside the home? Do you work outside the home? Yes NoIf not, why? 26
  27. 27. 8. Do you attend any programs that the university now offers?Do you attend any Very often sometimes rarely neverprograms that theuniversity nowoffers? AlwaysIf yes, please specify which program(s):9. Please use the rating scale to answer the following questions: Poor Fair Good ExcellentWould you say that the currentprograms that are offered now tointernational students’ wives arebeneficial?How would you rate these programs?10. If UNB provided programs for you, would you attend?If UNB provided Very often Sometimes Rarely NeverPrograms for you,would you attend?Always 27
  28. 28. Please comment: 28
  29. 29. Appendix CQuestion for Focus Groups 1. What are your expectations as the wife of a graduate student? _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ 2. On a weekly basis, how many times do you get out of the house? __________________ 3. What skills do you have? _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________4. What skills would you like to learn? _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________5. What programs would you like to be involved with? _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________6. What type of services would you like UNB to provide for you? _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ 29
  30. 30. _______________________________________________________________________ 7. What facilities would you like UNB to provide for you as a group? _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________8. Report any experiences you have had, as the wife of a UNB international student, whether it be apositive or a negative experience. _______________________________________________________________________ 30

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