Cross-cultural barriers for career success of international students

International students face several cross-cultural communication challenges during their job search processes that hinder their ability to succeed, according to a research published in The Journal of Employment Counseling. The purpose of this study conducted by Sangganjanavanich, Lenz and Cavazos was to examine the experiences of international undergraduate students who sought employment in the United States after completing their academic degree.

One of the major theme related to challenges was “coping with acculturation.” “All of the participants suggested that lack of familiarity with the U.S. culture impeded their ability to compete with their domestic counterparts. They reported struggling to manage their cultural backgrounds and cultural expectations in the United States.”

“In terms of verbal communication, participants reported feeling uncertain about the parameters of information sharing when attempting to balance the expectations of multiple cultures in a given situation.”

“participants perceived that having an accent or speaking broken English created challenges and made them more vulnerable to discrimination during a job search process.”

The research also suggested that in terms of career development practices, group coaching for international students could be effective as it provided an opportunity for group members to:

(a) reflect on experiences, values, and motivation during an employment-seeking process
(b) exchange positive and negative experiences about particular topics related to the job search
(c) gain perspectives of others that might help them comprehend and solve their problems.



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