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Abstract

An increasing number of international students come to Canada for their higher education. As a unique group on Canadian campuses, international students deserve our attention so that we can understand their special needs. Using Tinto’s retention model as a theoretical framework, this study investigates the experiences of the first year international students at a Canadian university. It pays special attention to the challenges these students face in the process of their social integration into the new learning and living environment. Data were collected through surveys and focus groups. Data analysis reveals a comprehensive picture of international students’ socialization patterns and challenges. Since student retention has been a central concern for many universities, the findings of this study are informative for higher education institutions to optimize their services to meet international students’ preferences and needs.

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