What About My Career? Accompanying Partners of International Students

[Speaker] Arthur, Nancy M:1
[Co-author] Domene, Jose:2, Robinson, Alexandra:1
1:University of Calgary (Canada), 2:University of New Brunswick (Canada)

International education provides increasing opportunities for students to study in new countries and cultural contexts. Many international students are accompanied by their partners; however, the experiences of accompanying partners have often been marginalized or ignored, including their career plans and expertise. This presentation will discuss the results of interviews with 20 female accompanying partners of international students in a Canadian context. Critical incidents were collected to examine the influences of the international transition on their career development. Results underscore that the decision to pursue international education is not only critical for the partner who becomes the international student. Accompanying partners identified several strategies, such as placing their career plans on hold, focusing on support for their partner's academic success, and actively seeking employment as a means for furthering their career goals. Implications for programming to support accompanying partners of international students will be discussed.
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