Relationship between Acculturation and Career Beliefs for Asian students

Highlights of the research:

  • The findings show that approval of others, influence of others and comparing oneself with others play a prominent role in Asian international students’ career decisions.

A research titled “Acculturation and career beliefs – is there a relationship for international university students?” published by Lakshmi Mahadevan in the College Student Journal explores the relationship between acculturation and the career beliefs of Indian, Chinese and Korean international students.

First, the study examines whether acculturation of international students into another cultural group influences career beliefs regarding current employment status, career plans, attitudes toward acceptance of uncertainty.

Secondly, the research looked into whether the relationship between acculturation and career beliefs is influenced or moderated by gender.

Thirdly, it considered whether acculturation is affected by changes in language preference, adoption of common attitudes and values, membership in common social groups and institutions, and loss of separate political or ethnic identification.

“The results of this study suggest that acculturation and career belief patterns among Asian international students are different from those of European American students. Further, these patterns are unique to each of the three countries studied indicating that there are differences within the Asian sub­ cultures. Therefore, it would be a fallacy to generalize to the entire Asian population based on the results obtained from one country.”

The findings suggested “culturally relevant career counseling and multicultural career assessment.” Due to the rising number of international students from different multicultural backgrounds in higher education, career education and development need to take a new approach that addresses new unique multicultural needs and concerns. Career counselors need to have appropriate multiculturally sensitive training to aid them understanding and appropriately addressing students’ cultural and psychological adjustment to the new country.

Based on the findings, the authors made the following recommendations:

  1. Avoid generalizations: Career counselors and workplace professionals should treat each of their clients as an individual and avoid pre­conceived notions of what they think all Asian international students’ counseling needs are.

  2. Be Sensitivity to Stereotyping: Counselors should become aware of the possibility that their Asian clients are susceptible to such phenomena as occupational stereotyping, segregation and “glass ceilings.”

  3. Keep Awareness of cultural factors: In using career assessment instruments with international students, counselors should be knowledgeable of the possible cultural influences on the response patterns.

  4. Clarify concepts: When international students are not comfortable with specific concepts due to language barriers, counselors need to avoid misinterpreted inferences and specify meanings behind concepts addressed during counseling.

  5. Be aware of nonverbal cues: Counselors should be aware that Asian international students may have a reluctance to disclose information about themselves. Counselors may have to rely extensively on non­verbal cues to learn more about these students.

  6. Gather demographic information about students: This study has shown that to a certain extent, such factors as age and length of U.S. residency influence career development behaviors. Given this scenario it will be useful for counselors to explore and gather key demographic information from their clients.

Do you have a large percentage of Asian international students on campus? What do you do to meet their unique needs and expectations?  Share with us your experience by commenting below.


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