To Be, or Not To Be "Canadian": The Role of Acculturation Motivation in International Student Adjustment and Future Residency Intent
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Increasing international student recruitment and post-graduation retention rates represent numerous political, economic, and sociocultural advantages for the host country. For Canada to reap such benefits, international students must first successfully transition to the Canadian environment. Given the challenges involved in cross-cultural transitions, the present study investigated the role of acculturation motivation in the international student experience. Using a mixed-methods design, acculturation motivation was measured in a sample of 266 international students (Mage = 21.92). A comparative thematic analysis revealed that international students with low acculturation motivation more frequently endorsed themes relating to a negative experience in Canada, whereas the opposite was observed in international students with high acculturation motivation. Following this qualitative exploration, quantitative analyses confirmed the predictive validity of acculturation motivation in both international student adjustment and future residency intentions. This mixed-methods approach not only validates and expands initial qualitative findings, but also supports the role of acculturation motivation in the international student experience.