Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Tarc, Paul


In recent years, an increasing number of Chinese international secondary school students have come to study in Canada. Upon arriving in their international context, their school and out-of-school lives are influenced by socio-economic, political and cultural forces circulating in and connecting across the home and host spaces of China and Canada. As the overarching frame, the study employs Ong’s (1999) notion of ‘flexible citizenship,’ examining the cultural logics mediating students’ lives and how they flexibly and not-so-flexibly engage in their learning and self-making in their transnational spaces.

This research is a qualitative ethnographic field study conducted in and around a Canadian international secondary school in Ontario. It follows 11 international students from mainland China in their in-school, out-of-school and online spaces across a time period of 14 months. The study affirms that cultural logics of capitalist accumulation and/in Western modernity mediated with Chinese cultural logics in influencing my participants’ academic learning, social connections and educational/career aspirations in their study abroad. Implications of the findings are addressed for educators, administrators, parents and policymakers to heed how institutional forces and dynamics of culture and power mediate international students learning and life challenges, needs and habits.