Lost in Translation: The (Unseen) Experiences of International Graduate Students and Families

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Despite the regular inflow of international graduate students (IGS), who contribute 21 billion dollars annually to the Canadian economy (Government of Canada, 2019), most research on migration in Canada focuses primarily on economic immigrants and refugees. Little to no research explores the lives of graduate students who exist in a liminal space between immigrants and visitors while having fewer rights and opportunities than students with Canadian citizenship. Even more invisible are the experiences of family lives of graduate students. My research fills this gap by qualitatively examining the experiences of 26 IGS and the experiences of 12 spouses of IGS at the University of Calgary. To gain a better understanding of how this population is supported on-campus, I also interviewed university staff who directly support international students. Considering how gender, race, citizenship, and family composition affect these experiences, I analyze potential singularities in the international student experience that include students’ and spouses’ access to networks, (re)division of labour in the household, and changes in the family. I also analyze the impact of race and citizenship status on IGS’s ability to achieve what I have termed in my thesis as substantive legal positionality. I argue that IGS and the families of IGS experience gendered and racialized effects at the individual and institutional level, that prevent them from accessing full membership within the university and greater community. I also utilize the concept of the ideal worker to understand how IGS and their families are impacted by the ideal-student worker notion,
migration, international student, work, family, gender, race
Ramos Fandino, I. (2021). Lost in Translation: The (Unseen) Experiences of International Graduate Students and Families (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca.