Chinese international students at two Canadian universities: Learning from their emotional labor to re-align support services


  • Guanglong Pang Michigan State University
  • Jean Michel Montsion M. Montsion


Over the past 20 years, Canadian universities have focused on recruiting Chinese international students. They have created support services reflecting certain assumptions about who these students are and what they need to succeed. In this chapter, we contrast the assumptions made by universities in Ontario, Canada with the educational journey narratives of some Chinese international students at these universities. Using Astin’s input-environment-outcome model as a starting point, we zero-in on their emotional labor to show how feelings prior to arrival in Canada and pertaining to post-graduate plans are active parts of their studies in the present. Chinese international students perform emotional labor to give coherence to educational journeys that encompass their pre-migration expectations and dynamics, their lives as student migrants, and their future career plans. This points to the need for rethinking institutional assumptions about this student group and related university support services.


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