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An Exploratory Study of Resilience in Refugee Post-Secondary Students Open Access


Other title
Post-Secondary Education
Multicultural Psychology
Post-Secondary Students
International Migration
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Wong, Andrew Hon Cheung
Supervisor and department
Yohani, Sophie (Educational Psychology)
Examining committee member and department
Rossiter, Marian (Educational Psychology)
Pei, Jacqueline (Educational Psychology)
Merali, Noorfarah (Educational Psychology)
Este, David (Social Work, University of Calgary)
Richter, Solina (Nursing)
Department of Educational Psychology
Counselling Psychology
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Refugees are faced with a variety of challenges throughout the migration journey. One unique refugee population that has been neglected in the body of research is post-secondary refugee students. World University Services of Canada (WUSC) annually sponsors 70 refugee students to attend Canadian post-secondary schools. It is reasonable to expect that students under this program may experience a number of resettlement challenges especially when they are expected to excel academically soon after arriving in the country. Yet, it is remarkable that 85% of WUSC sponsored students graduate with a Bachelor’s degree (WUSC, 2007). The ecological-transactional model of resilience was utilized to understand the multifaceted nature of resilience in this refugee population. Using a qualitative case study method, four WUSC sponsored post-secondary refugee students living across Canada were interviewed. Results revealed unique migration trajectories and pre- and post-migration challenges for this population that differed from other immigrant groups. Furthermore, the results suggest that resilience is cultivated by the interactions between family, community, and educational supports as well as policies and cultural beliefs that enhance one’s ability to cope. These salient findings inform the need to reform post-secondary institutions, non-profit organizations, and government policies in order to foster successful resettlement for post-secondary refugee students in Canada.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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