Realities and Anxieties to Live With: An In-Depth Inquiry of the Experience of Internationally Educated Professionals in the Bridging Programs at Universities in Ontario
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Researchers have identified a trend of brain waste, brain abuse and brain drain on the part of internationally educated professionals (IEPs) after they immigrate to Canada. University-based bridging programs have been implemented in the past decade to meet the need of this population to integrate to the new society. My dissertation attempts to inquire into the experiences, emotional experiences in particular, of the IEPs who studied in the university-based bridging programs in Ontario. I raised four questions: First, how do the IEPs perceive their new realities? Second, what are the anxieties of the IEPs? Third, what realities lead them to those anxieties and how do their anxieties affect their perception of the challenges they face? Fourth, what role does higher education play in mirroring and shaping the way the IEPs perceive and feel the realities? Using in-depth interviewing as the research method, I had three one-hour interviews with each of the five research participants who volunteered in this study. When analyzing the five cases, I focused on the conflicts, contentions and contradictions that the interview transcripts revealed of the participants experiences in relation to others. I resorted to theories in psychoanalysis in order to understand the IEPs anxieties when they encountered various challenges both internally and externally. I find that the IEPs anxieties are partly inherent in the process of immigration, partly reflective of their own modes of learning and the need of external support and partly the side effect of higher education which, questionably, attempts to reproduce the correlation between knowledge and privileges. I argue that the bridging programs and the IEPs need to learn from their anxieties and the social anxieties and engage in a critical exploration of the difficult knowledge of the-self-in-the-changing-world.