Building Rapport Between International Graduate Students and Their Faculty Advisors: Cross-Cultural Mentoring Relationships at the University of Guelph
Most graduate students are required to work closely with their faculty advisors to successfully complete their graduate studies. Mentoring graduate students is very challenging, even when both the student and faculty have similar cultural values. To the degree most international students have a different culture from that of Canadians, the challenge for international graduate students to adapt to their new environment, and for their faculty advisors to understand and work well with them is significantly increased. This research explored the relationships, experiences and challenges of international graduate students and their faculty advisors at the University of Guelph, through focus group discussions, semi-structured face-to- face interviews and online surveys. Language barriers and financial difficulties were among the major challenges international students face adapting to their academic and social environment and working with their faculty advisors. Understanding graduate student and advisor formal responsibilities and expectations are important to building good student-advisor relationships.