What Arab Students Say about Their Linguistic and Educational Experiences in Canadian Universities

  •  Ibrahim Abukhattala    


In this inquiry, I examine the cross educational experiences of ten Arab undergraduate students in two English-language universities in Montreal. Participants were from Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco and have been in Canada for three to seven years. Classic qualitative methodological tools of in-depth interviews, participant observation and document analysis were employed to record, analyze and interpret the experiences of these students. In order to give voice to these students’ insights and experiences, a narrative approach is used in presenting and interpreting the data. Three themes identified as educational issues emerged from the analysis: Student-Teacher Relationship; Teaching Methodology; Teaching and learning foreign languages and Examinations. The analysis revealed differences in culture, language, and social and educational systems between these students’ countries of origin and Canada as the major sources of these students' positive and negative experiences. The study concludes that Canadian educators can assist these students by becoming aware of their home culture, different learning styles, frustrations in adjusting to school life and in overcoming cultural shock; and by helping them adjust to Canadian educational system and learn about the Canadian culture.

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