Abstract: International Students' Career Outcome Expectations: Cultural Difficulties, Social Support, and Institutional Constrains on Immigration Policy (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

507P International Students' Career Outcome Expectations: Cultural Difficulties, Social Support, and Institutional Constrains on Immigration Policy

Saturday, January 18, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
HaeJung Kim, PhD, na, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of (South)
Kirsten Song, PhD, Visiting Assistant Professor, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Hyung Jik Daniel Lee, PhD, Post-doctoral Researcher, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
According to the Institute of International Education (IIE, 2013), a major contributing factor for international students’ decision to study in the U.S. is to enhance career opportunities and gain experience for future employment at home or internationally. Although several studies have been done in social work field, most studies have mainly focused on international students’ acculturative stress, little has been known how it is associated with their career expectation outcomes. Considering international students are one of the biggest migrant populations in the U.S., understanding factors that impact to their career development is critical. This study examines international students’ career outcome expectations. More specifically, we investigate how perceived institutional constraints on immigration policies along with cultural adjustment and social support influence on international students’ career outcome expectations.

A cross-sectional study was used for this study. Online surveys were sent to international students in one institution located in the Mid-Appalachian region in the USA mostly rural in April, 2019. Using listserv of International Students’ Office, about 239 international students were participated to this online survey with 30% response rates. A reliable and valid standardized measures were used to assess career outcome expectations (McWhirter, Rasheed, & Crothers, 2000), perceived social support (Zimet et al., 1988), cultural difficulties (Sodowsky & Lai, 1997), In addition, to assess their perceived level of institutional constrains regarding immigration policies, eight questions were included such as “I am well informed of immigration rules or visa regulations applied to international students”, “I think it is difficult to find a job due to immigration rules or visa regulations.” Descriptive statistics and multiple regressions were performed using SPSS 25.0

 The average score on career outcome expectations was 37.57 (SD=5.04), relatively lower than the non-international students’ group. International students received information or guidance related to immigration rules mainly from the international student office and they identified that they are helpful. (M=3.98; SD=.94). They perceived relatively strong institutional constrains on immigration policy as a major barrier to limit their career choice (M=3.89, SD=.79). To examine factors associated with the career outcome expectation, hierarchical regressions analyses performed. A regression model with career outcome expectation as a dependent variable (N=217; R2= .393, p <.001), intercultural competence concerns (β= - .477, p<.001), social support from significant others (β= .155, p =.02), the level of information on immigration policies and regulations (β= .198, p<.001), and presence of the family members in the U.S (β= .13, p =.02) were significant. The level of information on immigration rules and policies explained additional 4% on the career outcome expectations, after controlling for other variables. However, age, gender, years in the U.S., acculturative stress, social support from friends, and social support from family were not statistically significant.

This study suggest the need of the informational support for the international students in promoting their career development. Differently from the previous studies, international student office were identified as a major source of the information; therefore, programs and resources at the university level would be critical in enhancing their career development and cultural competence.