Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

October 03, 2005

New Centre Will Be Hub For Cross-Cultural Studies at U of G

Every year, universities across the country welcome students from other nations who have chosen to study in Canada. Why they choose this country and how they feel once they're here are among the key questions psychology professor Saba Safdar will examine at the new Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, which opened today at the University of Guelph.

"It's important that international students have successful and positive experiences in Canada," said Safdar, who will oversee the facility. "When they go back to their home nations, they tend to act as our ambassadors. If they enjoy their time here, they can help create academic and economic links for the future."

Examining their transition is also important because Canada competes with other nations for international and exchange students, she said. "It's a great opportunity to look at how international students are doing here, what their concerns are and how we can improve their adjustment."

Safdar said the laboratory will make a valuable contribution to research pertaining to the academic, psychological and social adjustment processes among these students.

"Not many studies are being conducted on international students in Canada, said Safdar. "Most of the information and research we have about this particular group come from the United States and Europe, or they aren't done on a long-term basis, so this is unique."

Currently, her focus group includes international students from Guelph, the University of Saskatchewan and York University. She will look at factors that predict adjustment of international students, including social support, ethnic identification and well-being, and hopes to collaborate with post-secondary institutions from coast to coast.

Safdar added that future research is planned on the experience and adaptation of Canadians studying abroad. "The government of Canada has recently been discussing the internationalization of Canadian students and ways to encourage them to take advantage of international programs being offered. We want to address why students aren't using these programs and examine ways to make their transitions in other nations smoother."

Encouraging internationalization is also a priority for U of G administrators, said Alan Shepard, associate vice-president (academic). "The findings will help to develop ways to attract and retain students from around the globe and provide insight into strengthening international education. We are very excited about having this centre at U of G and are interested in what Safdar's findings will tell us."

Safdar received $98,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and $98,000 from Ontario Innovation Trust for the centre in April 2004. Data collection for her research began last month.

In addition, the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research will serve as a resource for researchers from various disciplines in any work related to cross-cultural studies.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, Ext. 56982.

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