Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Greig, Christopher


Canadian employment, Curriculum, International cohort, Internationalization, International students, Neoliberalism



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


In an era of widespread neoliberal ideology underpinning the organizational field of education, universities are thrust into developing revenue generating education systems. The ramping up of higher education internationalization through international student mobility is undeniable when looking at the growing number of international students on Canadian university campuses. According to the Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE) (2016), the number of international students pursuing academic studies has increased from 353 570 in 2015 to 438 157 in 2016. The projected increase to 450 000 by 2022 (CBIE, 2016) has already been surpassed with a total of 494 525 international students at all levels of study in 2017 (CBIE, 2018). International student expenditures will continue to contribute over $16.1 billion to the Canadian economy annually (Canada’s International Education Plan, 2014). This qualitative study explores the case of 32 NNES undergraduate and graduate international students’ university schooling experiences at one Canadian institution with the hope of providing insight to the complexities involved in higher education internationalization. Students’ reported experiences from semi-structured interviews and one focus group are critically examined against the mutual understanding, revenue generating and skills’ migration rationales of internationalization. The emergent themes revealed are discussed around three areas: The Commonsense of English-Medium, High Quality Education; On the Periphery – Caught in a Space of In-betweenness; and Friendship Redefined – Amassing Cultural Capital. The discussion suggests that the infiltration of neoliberal ideology in education works against the mutual understanding and skills’ migration rationales of higher education internationalization whereby reproducing NNES international students’ participation in their own marginalization. Finally, recommendations for enhancing international students’ Canadian university schooling experiences are made.