A Descriptive survey study of International students’ experiences studying at the University of Manitoba: Motivations, Challenges, Coping strategies and Supports

This is a Master thesis project by Jonathan Worae on international students’ experiences and challenges during their studies at the University of Manitoba. This thesis is submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies of The University of Manitoba in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts in Sociology and Criminology


Every year a growing number of international students move to other countries, specifically western countries, to pursue university education. They are motivated by various factors existing at home and in the prospective host countries and universities. These factors are known as the push-pull factors, forcing out and attracting international students to pursue university education in other countries. However, upon arrival, international students encounter a myriad of challenges as part of their university education experience. A substantial amount of research has been documented on international students experiences in western countries (their motivations for studies and challenges), but few exist on their experiences in Canada during university education. The current study endeavors to expand the literature by focusing on international students’ motivations for coming and their experiences (challenges, coping strategies and support systems) upon arrival in a particular Canadian university, the University of Manitoba. This study used an online survey method with a convenience sampling of 712 international students currently enrolled at the University of Manitoba. The results show that international students are influenced by various push-pull factors, although the pull factors appeared to be dominant. Challenges were mainly categorized into language, financial, academic, environmental and cultural, personal and social. The majority of the international students reported financial, personal and social challenges. Covid-19 presented additional challenges for most international students. A number of coping strategies and support systems were reported by respondents, ranging from personal supports (e.g. staying in touch with family) to institutional mechanisms (e.g. international students centre). Giddens’ (1984) Agency and Structuration theory was used to understand both enabling and constraining structural factors that may affect international students experiences both before (motives to study here) and during (challenges and supports) their studies in Canada and at University of Manitoba. Study limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed. Finally, following the suggestions of participating international students, a number of recommendations are made regarding how to improve the life of the international student body in Canada, and at the University of Manitoba.

Read the full thesis here: https://mspace.lib.umanitoba.ca/xmlui/handle/1993/35402