“Lock Us in a Room Together”

Local Students’ Suggestions for Improving Socialization with International Students


  • Vander Tavares York University




Canada, higher education, international students, local students, multiculturalism, peer interaction, social interaction


In Canada, research has examined international-local student interaction by focusing on international students’ perceptions and experiences. As such, the perspectives of local students toward socialization with international students remain less explored. Designed as a survey-based case study with 17 local students at a university in Ontario, this study sought to understand the perspectives of local students on how to improve socialization between the two groups. Additionally, this study investigated how local students conceptualized their experiences of multiculturalism and multilingualism at their university, considering the importance of diversity for the development of intercultural knowledge and intercultural relationships. Findings suggest that local students considered their university to be multicultural/multilingual primarily based on the availability of cultural events and different languages being spoken on campus. Additionally, local students ascribed much importance to socialization with international students, but expected the university to assume a more formal role in developing structured opportunities for the two groups to come together.


Download data is not yet available.


Alenuma-Nimoh, S. J. (2016). Reexamining the concept multicultural education: Recommendations for moving beyond “eating the other multiculturalism.” Journal of Intercultural Disciplines, 15, 128–146.

Ammigan, R. (2019). Institutional satisfaction and recommendation: What really matters to international students. Journal of International Students, 9(1), 262–281. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v9i1.260

Arkoudis, S., & Baik, C. (2014). Crossing the interaction divide between international and domestic students in higher education. HERDSA Review of Higher Education, 1, 47–62.

Arthur, N. (2017). Supporting international students through strengthening their social resources. Studies in Higher Education, 42(5), 887–894. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2017.1293876

Block, D. (2006). Multilingual identities in a global city: Globalization and language teaching. Routledge.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2012). Thematic analysis. In H. Cooper, P. M. Camic, D. L. Long, A. T. Panter, D. Rindskopf, & K. J. Sher (Eds.), APA handbook of research methods in psychology: Research designs: Quantitative, qualitative, neuropsychological, and biological (pp. 57-71). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/13620-004

Brown, J. D. (2009). Open-response items in questionnaires. In J. Heigham & R. Croker (Eds.), Qualitative research in applied linguistics: A practical introduction (pp. 200–219). Palgrave MacMillan.

Chen, L. H. (2008). Internationalization or international marketing? Two frameworks for understanding international students’ choice of Canadian universities. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 18(1), 1–33. https://doi.org/10.1080/08841240802100113

Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches. Sage.

Crisp, G., Palmer, E., Turnbull, D., Nettelbeck, T., Ward, L., LeCouteur, A., Sarris, A., Strelan, P., & Schneider, L. (2009). First year student expectations: Results from a university-wide student survey. Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice, 6(1), 11–26. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ867293.pdf

Durkin, K. (2008). The middle way: East Asian master’s students’ perceptions of critical argumentation in UK universities. Journal of Studies in International Education, 12(1), 38–55. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315307302839

Fell, E. V., & Lukianova, N. A. (2015). British universities: International students’ alleged lack of critical thinking. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 215, 2–8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.11.565

Fu, J. (2021). The role of two extracurricular programs in international students’ informal learning experiences in Atlantic Canada. In V. Tavares (Ed.), Multidisciplinary perspectives on international student experience in Canadian higher education (pp. 156-176). IGI Global. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-7998-5030-4.ch009

Gaulee, U. (2018). Headbump or headway? American students’ engagement with their international peers on campus. In K. Bista (Ed.), Global perspectives on international student experiences in higher education (pp. 192–209). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315113456

Gosh, R., & Abdi, A. A. (2004). Education and the politics of difference: Canadian perspectives. Canadian Scholars’ Press.

Guo, S., & Chase, M. (2011). Internationalisation of higher education: Integrating international students into Canadian academic environment. Teaching in Higher Education, 16(3), 305–318. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2010.546524

Guo, Y., & Guo, S. (2017). Internationalization of Canadian higher education: Discrepancies between policies and international student experiences. Studies in Higher Education, 42(5), 851–868. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2017.1293874

Hammer, M. R., Bennett, M. J., & Wiseman, R. (2003). Measuring intercultural sensitivity: The intercultural development inventory. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 27(4), 421–443. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0147-1767(03)00032-4

Hartwell, L. M., & Ounoughi, S. (2019). Expanding the comfort zones: Divergent practices of host and international university students. European Journal of Higher Education, 9(4), 377–392. https://doi.org/10.1080/21568235.2019.1643755

Heller, M. (2003). Globalization, the new economy, and the commodification of language and identity. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 7(4), 473–492. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9841.2003.00238.x

Hendrickson, B., Rosen, D., & Aune, R. K. (2011). An analysis of friendship networks, social connectedness, homesickness, and satisfaction levels of international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35(3), 281–295. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2010.08.001

Heng, T. T. (2017). Voices of Chinese international students in USA colleges: ‘I want to tell them that…’. Studies in Higher Education, 42(5), 833–850. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2017.1293873

Heng, T. T. (2018). Chinese international students’ advice to incoming first-year students: Involving students in conversations with them, not about them. Journal of College Student Development, 59(2), 232–238. https://doi.org/10.1353/csd.2018.0020

Houshmand, S., Spanierman, L. B., & Tafarodi, R. W. (2014). Excluded and avoided: Racial microaggressions targeting Asian international students in Canada. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 20(3), 377–388. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0035404

Hubain, B. S., Allen, E. L., Harris, J. C., & Linder, C. (2016). Counter-stories as representations of the racialized experiences of students of color in higher education and student affairs graduate preparation programs. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 29(7), 946–963. https://doi.org/10.1080/09518398.2016.1174894

Jones, E. (2017). Problematising and reimagining the notion of ‘international student experience.’ Studies in Higher Education, 42(5), 933–943. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2017.1293880

Knight, J. (2011). Five myths about internationalisation. International Higher Education, 62 (Winter), 14–15. https://doi.org/10.6017/ihe.2011.62.8532

Leask, B. (2012). A conceptual framework for internationalisation of the curriculum. Internationalizing the Curriculum, 26–40.

Leavy, P. (2017). Research design: Quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, arts-based, and community-based participatory research approaches. The Guilford Press.

Lee, J. J., & Rice, C. (2007). Welcome to America? International student perceptions of discrimination. Higher Education, 53(3), 381–409. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-005-4508-3

Lordly, D., Guy, J., & Li, Y. (2021). Increasing awareness: Cultural food experiences of international students in Canada. In V. Tavares (Ed.), Multidisciplinary perspectives on international student experience in Canadian higher education (pp. 21–40). IGI Global. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-7998-5030-4.ch002

Luo, J., & Jamieson-Drake, D. (2013). Examining the educational benefits of interacting with international students. Journal of International Students, 3(2), 85–101. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v3i2.503

Montgomery, C., & McDowell, L. (2009). Social networks and the international student experience: An international community of practice? Journal of Studies in International Education, 13(4), 455–466. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315308321994

Myles, J., & Cheng, L. (2003). The social and cultural life of non-native English speaking international graduate students at a Canadian university. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 2(3), 247–263. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1475-1585(03)00028-6

Peacock, N., & Harrison, N. (2009). “It’s so much easier to go with what’s easy.” Journal of Studies in International Education, 13(4), 487–508. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315308319508

Rienties, B., Nanclares, N. H., Jindal-Snape, D., & Alcott, P. (2013). The role of cultural background and team divisions in developing social learning relations in the classroom. Journal of Studies in International Education, 17(4), 332–353. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315312463826

Rienties, B., & Nolan, E. (2014). Understanding friendship and learning networks of international and host students using longitudinal Social Network Analysis. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 41, 165–180. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2013.12.003

Robinson, O., Somerville, K., & Walsworth, S. (2020). Understanding friendship formation between international and host-national students in a Canadian university. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 13(1), 49–70. https://doi.org/10.1080/17513057.2019.1609067

Sherry, M., Thomas, P., & Chui, W. H. (2010). International students: A vulnerable student population. Higher Education, 60(1), 33–46. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-009-9284-z

Srivastava, S. (2007). Troubles with anti-racist multiculturalism: The challenges of anti-racist and feminist activism. In S. Hier & B. S. Bolaria (Eds.), Race and racism in 21st century Canada: Continuity, complexity, and change (pp. 291–311). Broadview Press.

Statistics Canada. (2021). International student enrolments in Canadian universities and colleges by field of study, 2008/2009 and 2018/2019. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/201125/t003e-eng.htm

Stein, S., & de Andreotti, V. O. (2016). Cash, competition, or charity: International students and the global imaginary. Higher Education, 72(2), 225–239. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-015-9949-8

Tavares, V. (Ed.). (2020). Multidisciplinary perspectives on international student experience in Canadian higher education. IGI Global. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-7998-5030-4

Tavares, V. (2021a). International students in higher education: Language, identity, and experience from a holistic perspective. Rowman & Littlefield.

Tavares, V. (2021b). Multilingual international students at a Canadian university: Portraits of agency. American Journal of Qualitative Research, 5(2), 92–117. https://doi.org/10.29333/ajqr/11135

Tavares, V. (2021c). Feeling excluded: international students experience equity, diversity and inclusion. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2021.2008536

Tavares, V. (2021d). Theoretical perspectives on international student identity. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 13(2), 83–97. https://doi.org/10.32674/jcihe.v13i2.2949

Tavares, V. (2022). Worlds apart: Visualising multilingual international student sociocultural adjustment through pictures. Apples: Journal of Applied Language Studies, 16(1), 45–68. https://doi.org/10.47862/apples.110026

Walsworth, S., Somerville, K., & Robinson, O. (2021). The importance of weak friendships for international student satisfaction: Empirical evidence from Canada. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 80, 134–146. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2020.11.004

Wei, M. L., & Bunjun, B. (2021). “We don’t need another one in our group”: Racism and interventions to promote the mental health and well-being of racialized international students in business schools. Journal of Management Education, 45(1), 65–85. https://doi.org/10.1177/1052562920959391

Wyatt, J. C. (2000). When to use Web-based surveys. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 7(4), 426–430. https://doi.org/10.1136/jamia.2000.0070426

Xiao, M. (2021). Chinese international graduate students at Canadian universities: Language barriers, cultural identities and perceived problems of engagement. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 26, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2021.1941318

Zhang, Z., & Zhou, G. (2010). Understanding Chinese international students at a Canadian university: Perspectives, expectations, and experiences. Comparative and International Education/Éducation Comparée et Internationale, 39(3), 43–58. https://ojs.lib.uwo.ca/index.php/cie-eci/article/view/9162/7348

Zhou, G., Liu, T., & Rideout, G. (2017). A study of Chinese international students enrolled in the Master of Education program at a Canadian university: Experiences, challenges, and expectations. International Journal of Chinese Education, 6(2), 210–235. https://doi.org/10.1163/22125868-12340081

Additional Files



How to Cite

Tavares, V. (2022). “Lock Us in a Room Together”: Local Students’ Suggestions for Improving Socialization with International Students. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 14(4), 22–36. https://doi.org/10.32674/jcihe.v14i4.4280



Empirical Article