International students go through a series of issues during their initial stay in their foreign schools. Some of the key issues that affect these students are stress, and later, depression. Stress and depression are termed as some of the main issues that affect the well being and health of international students learning in Canada and in other parts of the world. The purpose of this project was to find out the reasons why international students in Canada experience depression and to research the best ways through which these students can be helped out of the depression or to prevent them from its onset. A review of relevant literature indicates some of the key causes of depression stem from language barriers, culture shock, financial constraints, technological addiction, and loneliness. On the other hand, some of the methods that can be used to reduce depression among international students in Canada as per the study include engaging in psychotherapy, strengthening their social connections, practicing, and being mindful in their exercises. It is important for students and those involved in the international scholarship programs to focus attention on developing proper communication channels, encourage the students to seek medication when needed, and set the right healthy boundaries. Finally, it would be effective if the students improved their nutrition patterns and start engaging in exercises that will help them to be fully engaged.
Keywords: International study. Depression, Stress, Post Secondary
There has been an increase in the number of international students over the last one decade (Schenk & Fremouw, 2012). The increase has seen Canada emerge a top academic destination for students seeking to further their education abroad. The choice of this country by majority of international students is linked to special and unique experiences that are offered by the country despite the experiences being considered insignificant parts of their lives (Smith & Khawaja, 2011). It is however important for the students to understand that keeping the right balance between their academic successes and leading a healthy life, something that has not been easy for a large portion of an international student to successfully meet (Poyrazli & Lopez, 2007). While keeping this balance has been a main issue amongst the international students, culture shock, lack of the right company, and future uncertainties are also considered as issues that cause the students a series of mental issues such as depression amongst other issues that make their lives difficult (Mackenzie et al., 2011). Despite the increasing number of foreign students in Canada, the country has not developed the right support systems to help college and university students deal with their psychological issues in the most appropriate way possible (Poyrazli & Lopez, 2007).
A good number of students choose to take their studies in Canada because its schools offer better academic resources compared to what is offered in their countries of origin (Hahn, 2010). What these students do not understand is that the company of those close to them such as their friends and family will affect their studies from the stress that they will undergo as they try to find new friends while at the same time fitting in their new environment (Brisset, Safdar, Lewis, & Sabatier, 2010). Current technological advancements such as video calls and video chats through Skype and other platforms have however solved part of this issue partially because the students are in a position to link up with their friends and family in an easier way (Smith, & Khawaja, 2011). Despite part of the problem being solved by these technologies, there is always a difference between seeing family members through online platforms and being physically around them (Poyrazli & Lopez, 2007). Due to the distance created, academic pressure and isolation sets in to a majority of international students. As such, when the conditions stated above are not well handled, the likelihood of depression setting in and affecting the students who deny or ignore their mental health issues increases (Brisset, Safdar, Lewis, & Sabatier, 2010).
Most students who suffer from loneliness are willing to get the relevant help from professionals, but the cost of getting the right counseling services has proved to be high compared to what they can finance (Poyrazli & Lopez, 2007). Universities and colleges in Canada are expected to invest more on helping their international students to adjust into the Canadian environment and education system easily and quickly (Hahn, 2010). As such, the purpose of this study is to find out more about the issue of depression amongst international students in Canada.
1.1 Description of the Problem
Despite Canada being a multicultural nation, there are a significant number of international students coming from countries with similar cultural backgrounds, thus making it easy for them to become friends, cultural differences are also experienced in the country. The differences in the many different cultures makes it hard for international students to settle, thus leading to a series of mental issues affecting the students that make the students to suffer from depression. The life of international students can be described as being monotonous and dull, and this affects the student’s life in a significant way, with majority of them ending up being depressed (Schenk & Fremouw, 2012). Despite this being one of the key problems that affect international students in Canada, a study by Schenkand Fremouw (2012) indicated that universities in the country are only interested in enrolling more students and winning in international competition while ignoring other university operation and curriculum, thus leaving the students entirely on their own.
Lo, Li, and Yu, (2019) the number of international students in Canadian universities and colleges has rapidly increased in the last 10 years with a likelihood of having more students immigrating to the country after their graduation. Previously, being an international student was a thing to be proud of because it meant the world to many because it opened a series of opportunities for them to explore and be exposed to different environments (Smith & Khawaja, 2011). However, due to the cultural differences experienced in the country, 60% of international students end up living by themselves, with the only motivation and reason for staying in the country being the cross-cultural adjustments and successful academic outcomes linked to the country’s universities (Oliffe, Robertson, Kelly, Roy, & Ogrodniczuk, 2010). Additionally, with the assignments and schoolwork becoming heavier as time progresses, the students tend to develop some form of uncertainty and become more worried about their future (Mackenzie et al., 2011). For example, 50% of the Chinese international students happen to be the only child in their families thus making their parents to spend everything at their disposal to make sure they get the best education from the best learning institutions in the world (Ibrahim, Kelly, Adams & Glazebrook, 2013). However, instead of these students focusing on their students, these students start thinking on how to improve the status of their families after graduating (Brisset et al., 2010). Once they get to school, their anticipated future is met with the tough reality of life, thus the students are exposed to a lot of pressure that easily transforms to depression when not well handled.
As such, the present international students and career centers in Canadian universities and colleges should offer more information and engage in events that will help international students reduce the pressure of insecurity and uncertainty on the future of the students who will join the universities in the future. Higher education institutions should not only involve their students in theoretical learning, but also involve some practical skills learning in their curriculum (Oliffe et al., 2010). The reason for teaching basic practical skills in Canadian universities is linked to the fact that fairly a good number of international graduates do not get back to their home countries and opt to search for jobs in Canada. The concerned ministry should always consider its international students as a special group that calls for special attention and treatment (Brisset et al, 2010). Previous studies have indicated that this group of learners is unique because they have to deal with different issues such as homesickness, adaptation problems, feelings of isolation, and language barriers, amongst other problems (Smith & Khawaja, 2011). A combination of these issues leads to stress accumulation amongst the learners, with depression setting in when the stress levels are not managed well at their initial stages. As such, from the literature reviewed above, some of the factors that have been leading to student’s depression in Canada include culture shock, language barriers, weather related issues, loneliness, and the pressure to succeed amongst other factors (Oliffe et al., 2010).
Based on the issues experienced, some of the approaches that could be used to deal with the issue of depression include developing the right communication strategies to help students deal with their issues before things escalate, adjusting the learning environment to fit the needs of the international students, and developing programs to improve the student’s emotional support that will help them deal with all the issues that could make them suffer from depression (Brisset et al.., 2010). It therefore takes a lot of mental and financial preparation and sacrifice for the students to leave their home countries and study in the country all by themselves. Attention should be focused by the Canadian educators to deal with the psychological issues faced by the international students in the right way, while at the same time helping them to adapt to the Canadian environment and society in the right way (Rice, Choi, Zhang=, Morero & Anderson, 2012).
To collect the right information on the issue of depression amongst international students in Canada, secondary data on the study was used in this research. Information from the Canadian ministry of higher education and other studies concerning the issue of depression were intensively used as the key data sources for this study. Phone interviews were also used to collect information from students. The data used for this study was collected from 200 respondents. The study population was made up of both the continuing and students who had already graduated from different universities in Canada. The contact information of the participants was obtained from the various alumni associations for students who had studied in different universities across Canada. Picking the study participants was randomly done from the long list of alumni and continuing students. During the interviews, an introduction was done with a brief summary of the study and the reason for calling being offered to the chosen participant. The researcher requested for the participant’s consent to participate in the study before asking the actual study questions. The data collected was analyzed using qualitative techniques. The privacy of the study participants was maintained by not revealing or indicating their identity in any way.
Discussion and Findings
Reasons for Depression amongst International Students in Canada
From the literature reviewed, there are definitely variations in depression causes amongst International students in Canada. A study conducted by Brisset et al., (2010) indicated some of the key causes of depression amongst international students living in the country to be high levels of loneliness, language barriers, and weather changes. The same research indicated that 60% of the students who come from different parts of the world that experience different climatic and weather conditions (Brisset et al., 2010). The fact that Canada is found in the extreme north makes it highly stressing for students who come from regions that experience relatively high temperatures (Poyrazli & Lopez, 2007). Adjusting to the extreme cold climate and unpredictable weather patterns characterized by snow throughout the year is stressing and can lead to students becoming depressed if they are slow in adapting to such changes. Students coming from East and Central Africa as well as from some parts of Asia tend to find it difficult to change and adapt to the extreme weather conditions that are experienced in Canada (Chow, 2007). In extreme cases, the effect of the unpredictable weather is loss of concentration amongst the affected students (Chow, 2007).
Language barriers are considered the second largest factor that make it difficult for international students to adapt to the Canadian system (Chow, 2007). Most of the literature reviewed found out that large populations of international students learning in Canada go through serious communication barriers, more so if they come from countries where English is not considered a primary or a secondary language (Poyrazli & Lopez, 2007). For English non-natives, it is difficult because they have go through a specific training that is meant to help them familiarize with the language that is commonly used by lecturers in their respective universities (Brisset et al., 2010). Not being a good English speaker not only makes the students to find it difficult in the class, but it also makes their interactions with other students difficult.
The amount of time and resources taken by these students to learn a language that will help them communicate perfectly with their peers as well as with their professors is amongst the toughest times that any individual in a foreign country undergoes (Poyrazli & Lopez, 2007). Not being in a position to communicate with other students makes an individual to go through some low moments of loneliness in their lives. Being lonely is considered stressing and when the same happens to students who learn other languages in a slow pace; depression sets in their way to share their feelings is by depending on the existing translation applications or relying on the services of a translator (Rice et al., 2012).
Language barriers are responsible for a large percentage of exam failures among international students in Canada. Not being in a position to communicate effectively with the examiner makes international students prone and vulnerable to exam failure. Irrespective of the knowledge that an individual has, being in a population to pass the knowledge to the examiner through writing is the only way that he or she passes their exams (Poyrazli & Lopez, 2007). However, the literature reviewed indicates that an approximated 60% of international students taking their studies in Canada cannot communicate flawlessly either through writing or orally (Brisset et al., 2010). The result of this has been an increase in the number of students failing in their first exams, thus making it like almost mandatory for them to re-take these exams when they become fluent in the common language for examination purposes in their respective colleges.
Failing in their first exams has been amongst the things that make them stressed as they have to find for ways to work for extra hours if they want their program to end at the required time (Oliffe et al., 2010). Working under stress not only makes the students depressed, and this calls for the adoption of some of the best effective strategies to deal with the rising number of depression cases being recorded by international students.
Another factor considered to contribute towards depression among international students in Canada is culture shock. Large populations of learners are introduced into new cultures when they first arrive in Canada, despite the country being multicultural by nature. For example, students from China find it difficult to cope in the Canadian culture because they cannot find comfortable places to carry out their religious practices (Brisset et al., 2010). Rather than the religious aspect of culture, other elements that give students culture shock include the dressing codes experienced in the country’s universities and type of foods commonly served (Chow, 2007). The research found out that students have to get used to the common dishes served in different restaurants because finding a hotel or a restaurant that offers their specific meals is always difficult and demanding (Oliffe et al., 2010). Due to the tough times that these scholars go through as they work towards fitting into a completely new culture that offers them different elements, learning gets difficult for them due to stress (Rice et al., 2012).
It is also worth noting that international students in the country live by themselves. Living alone makes it difficult for these students to concentrate in their studies because they do not have the right motivation to study hard and pass their exams (Rice et al., 2012). The research indicates that leaning is not always about going to class, taking notes and reading them to pass exams. There is a part of learning that calls for family backup because family motivates its members to study and achieve things that are considered unachievable (Brisset et al., 2010). On top of motivation, learning while living with your family gives you some extra time to read because family duties are sub-divided amongst all the family members. The fact that international students travel alone makes them prone to serious difficulties like lack of motivation and social support that contributes significantly towards their failure (Hahn, 2010).
Not being in close conduct with other family members often results in international students experiencing high levels of loneliness that makes them to be highly prone to depression (Rice et al., 2012). According to the research, an approximately 46% of first year students from the largest number of international students in Canada experience significant loneliness because it takes some time before the students get used to living by themselves and far from their families (Hahn, 2010). Being lonely makes these students to go through a series of psychological issues that make them suffer from home sickness and isolation symptoms that affect both their education and social lives significantly. Academic level concentration levels amongst international students is also considered to be very low compared to the concentration levels of the native students (Oliffe et al., 2010). Reduced concentration levels always lead to poor performances amongst the students, thus making their performance to decline (Ibrahim et al., 2013). The research found out that over 70% of international students always miss having their families close to them, are stressed, lack time and motivation to study, thus making them to be prone to depression (Rice et al., 2012).
Overreliance in Technology
The other key factor that has been contributing towards high depression levels amongst international students in Canada is overreliance in technology. A research conducted by Ibrahim et al., (2013) found out that over 50% of the students who move to foreign countries for further studies opt to use social media as a way of being in touch with their family and friends back in their home countries. Engaging in social media has been found to increase the level of isolation amongst these students because it impairs their social interactions (Oliffe et al., 2010). The research also found out spending a lot of time in social media creates some sort of competition between an individual’s virtual and real life (Rice et al., 2012). The competition between the student’s real and virtual lives make it difficult for them to make the right decisions on whether to enjoy the real moments they are experiencing, or to enjoy their virtual moments that are characterized by taking selfies and posting them on their social media sites (Oliffe\ et al., 2010).
A study conducted by Rice et al., (2012) also found out that a large portion of international students who engage in social media for longer times are living dual lives, with their virtual life always winning and becoming important than their real life. Rice et al., (2012) also found out that mobile phone addiction and excessive use of smartphones contributes significantly towards making students develop sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, and stress (Hahn, 2010). Sleep disturbances have been indicated as some of the main reasons why students are going through tough times because 50% of international students in Canada indicated that they wake up at night to respond to text messages. The study by Hahn (2010) also found out that a large population of the students only gets time to use these technologies at time and this affects their sleeping patterns, contributing to poor quality sleep (Mackenzie et al., 2011). Lack of sleep or poor living standards always make them to suffer from high levels of anxiety and depression. The use of social media has also exposed these students to high levels of cyber bullying (Oliffe et al., 2010). Due to their inability to share their worries with the counselors in their respective universities, stress and depression sets in and makes it impossible for the students to concentrate in their studies (Rice et al., 2012).
Engaging in Drug and Substance Use
Drug and substance abuse has been the leading cause why international students are getting depressed in Canada. Due to poor grades that first years students get in different universities within the country, 55% of them have always opted to get into drugs as an escape route to the reality of filing the exams (Rice et al., 2012). Additionally, 65% of students have also opted to indulging into drugs to cope up with the pressure they are exposed to by the new environment. The pressure to engage in extra reading to learn an extra language while at the same time working towards adapting to the new environment also makes it difficult for these students to remain sober, thus making it appropriate for them to get into drug use and abuse (Mackenzie et al., 2011). Attaining the specific goals set by their learning institutions combined with the fact that students are alone in foreign countries make it easy for them to seek assistance from drugs.
Additionally, a study carried out by Hahn (2010) found out that Ritalin and Adderall are the commonly abused drugs by students in various universities in Canada. While it is clear that these drugs are effective when used according to the prescriptions given by doctors, but international students have indicated that they use these drugs for other reasons that are better known to them. However, these students use the drugs without knowing their consequences that include high levels of depression and anxiety (Oliffe, et al., 2010). The use of this drug has therefore led to a significant increase in the number of students suffering from depression due to drug and substance abuse. Importantly, Hahn, (2010) also found out those students who engage in cigarette smoking sare among those who suffer the most from sleep disorders which also makes them highly prone to the risk of anxiety and depression (Smith & Khawaja, 2011). Smith and Khawaja (2011) also found out that a high number of college students who suffer from anxiety and depression have had a history of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder at some point in their lives. Any student who has any of these disorders always end up being depressed as they try to fit into their new environment.
Smith and Khawaja (2011) also found out that approximately 54% of students always experience financial stress and difficulties while living in Canada. The high cost of living in the country for foreign countries when they do not have any means of earning a decent income has always been considered one of the key factors that make these students experience stress before it becomes depression (Oliffe et al., 2010). Financial risks and stress have therefore been considered to be amongst the few factors that stress international students as they try to budget for their little money during their stay at the college (Mackenzie et al., 2011). The struggles that students go through are considered to contribute towards increasing their anxiety and depression risks while in college.
Methods of Dealing with Depression amongst International Students in Canada
Engaging in Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy was found to be an effective method of dealing with depression amongst the students since no one is able to cope with depression alone without being assisted (Pedersen, 1991). There is therefore a need for licensed and trained health professionals to provide the needed assistance in helping the students to find relief from their depression symptoms. According to an American psychological report on students’ depression, psychotherapy has the ability to reduce depression symptoms and also helps to prevent possible future episodes of depression (Ward & Kennedy, 2001). As the students seek psychotherapy services, it is important that they consider several things so as to ensure that they are fully assisted. Studies carried out by the National Institute of American Mental Health outline the type of specialties or psychotherapy offered by the therapist and the relationship between the student and the therapist as some of the central factors to positive change after therapy (Pedersen, 1991).
A study by Ward and Kennedy(2001) found that many Canadian college campuses do offer counseling services to foreign students so as to help them do away with depression (Kuo, 2014). An approximate 56% of the counseling services are offered from within the school counseling centers. Accessing counseling services from within the school is helpful in several ways. According to a survey report carried out by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, providing counseling assistance from within the college helps the staff to coordinate well with the Disability Resource Center within the college in cases where a student would require accommodation (Oliffe et al., 2010). For this reason, many Canadian colleges have decided to set up counseling centers within the school campus so as to be in a position to provide special accommodations for international students whose studies are being impacted by the depression. Students are then advised to seek for the psychotherapy services with their campus counseling center. For make this possible, many Canadian campuses have availed adequate information on how to access the college counseling centers on the college or the college’s website (Hahn, 2010). Making regular visits to the therapists help the students to cope with some of their stressing challenges. This is because the campus therapists help the depressed students to learn new useful skills and techniques, such as breathing exercises and also help them to work and study well (Pedersen, 1991).
Strengthen Social Connections
The research shows most international students in Canada experience the problem of isolation and loneliness in their first few months in Canadian colleges (Shaw & Gant, 2004). This is because as the students move from their home country to study in Canada, they are separated from their family and friends and are forced to start a new life in the new environment where they meet new people. The experience is at first very hard and overwhelming. For this reason, the students have to put energy and time into meeting new people and then develop new friends as a way of dealing with depression. A study conducted by the International Journal of Mental Health Systems indicated that strong social support minimizes the impacts of stress for the international students (Oliffe et al., 2010). According to the research, the Canadian campuses have been in the forefront in ensuring that all their international students are supported adequately to avoid stress that could ultimately exacerbate depression symptoms. To ensure this, students are advised to find new friends to avoid any form of loneliness and sense of isolation (Kuo, 2014). By doing so, they are able to break isolation and reach out to others hence able to fight depression.
The research found out that the Canadian colleges have devised ways of ensuring that their international students are not affected by stress due to loneliness and isolation from family and friends (Pedersen, 1991). All the methods employed are meant to strengthen the students’ social connections. Such methods include; encouraging the international students to interact with the local students by making weekly dinner dates, putting together study groups composed of both local and international students, encouraging the international students to join intramural or on campus sports teams; and/or helping the students enroll into an on campus organization that provides community service so as to help the students connect with others while at the same time giving back to the community (Kuo, 2014).Research shows that supporting fellow peers helps the students to cope with academic related stress hence reducing depression (Oliffe, et al., 2010). International students benefit from the trained multinational students through various culture awareness programs and language classes. Apart from making new foreign connections, the students are also advised to remain connected with family and friends back at home through phone calls and emails (Pedersen, 1991). These social networking help the international students to increase their level of academic achievement while reducing the level of isolation and loneliness hence doing away with depression.
Practicing Mindfulness Exercises
Mindfulness refers to staying conscious and aware in the present moment (Hahn, 2010). Studies indicate that many international students in Canada are faced with the challenge of remaining mindful as they are unable to be conscious and connected with their present (Kuo, 2104). The students find themselves having so many diverse commitments to manage at the same time such as work, classes and friends. They are therefore unable to stay focused without thinking of the next task to undertake (Smith & Khawaja, 2011). To avoid such problems, the students are advised to learn and practice mindfulness exercises such as attending a yoga class, reading about various mindfulness exercises and finding time to practice them, listening to different mindfulness meditations, attending a meditation retreat or class and meeting therapist to advise on mindfulness exercises (Pedersen, 1991).
Research reveals that Canadian colleges have embraced a therapy model known as Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy which involves the students working with on Campus therapists (Kuo, 2014). This model helps to treat depression and reduces the relapse rate among students diagnosed with depression. The campuses also encourage the international students to engage themselves in other mindfulness exercises at their own free time (Hahn, 2010). The exercises have proved to be effective since they can be practiced anywhere and at any time without others knowing.
The research reveals that there is need for proper information to be given to the international students as a way of providing efficient service to the students (Pedersen, 1991). The information is important as it helps the students to get to know their new environment and this can be achieved by providing the students with the necessary information about the new country and school so as to avoid shock upon arrival. Some of the information include; school regulation and rules, orientation program, arrival date and time for picking the students from the bus or train station (Kuo, 2010). To ensure provision of proper communication, the Canadian schools have been shown to use multicultural trained students so as to offer supportive programs to new international students (Pedersen, 1991). By interacting with the multicultural students, the new students are able to relax, feel more secure and make new friends hence preventing depression. The information provided by the trained students help the new international students to adapt easily to the new environment.
The study also revealed out that the international students organize extra classes so as to learn good learning skills (Shaw & Gant, 2004). This is because language is very crucial for communication and lack of proper communication between the local and international students would lead to culture shock. To avoid this, the international students organize for special communication classes so as to learn the new culture in the new environment. Such classes help the students to interact properly with their peers hence preventing depression due to culture shock and language barrier (Hahn, 2010).
Studies indicate that some of the depression cases experienced by international students in Canada are very serious to an extent that they cannot be solved through psychotherapy of any form of counseling (Oliffe, et al, 2010). For cases where the depression is unable to stop, the students are advised to seek medical solutions to avoid adverse effects. Such cases have been found to be triggered by factors such as discrimination, lack of inclusion of the foreign students by the local ones, lack of proper orientation, racism, poor intellectual capacity leading to low self-esteem and culture shock (Kuo, 2014). To avoid such challenges, Canadian colleges have put in place supportive programs meant to address depression challenges but for individuals who do not adjust easily, they are advised to seek medical attention. Most of the medical solutions are provided from within the schools as a way of ensuring that the students do not suffer more as they try to seek the services outside the school premises (Chen, 1999).
Setting Healthy Boundaries
The research shows that feeling excessive guilt or worthlessness is one of the many symptoms of depression (Chen, 1999). When one has such symptom, he/she is not able to say no or set boundaries in his/her own interest due to worry that builds up as one is not sure of what others need or want than what he/she want or need. International students do experience this kind of worry and end up saying yes to everything mostly at study groups. The students end up working for the best interest of others while inwardly he/she is stressed (Oliffe et al., 2010).
To address this, many Canadian campuses have programs that assist the new foreign students into knowing the importance of setting healthy boundaries regardless of the situation (Chen, 1999). Studies indicate that many international students in Canada have found life in campus very easy as they are helped as soon as they get to campus during their orientation periods (Hahn, 2010). The students are advised not to fall into or give in very easily to everything they are asked of as this may negatively impact their lives. Studies indicate that when people push themselves to set a boundary, even when it is hard to, their self-esteem and the feeling of self-worthy are increased (Kuo, 2014).
Many international students find it hard to get a balanced diet when they move to a foreign country. This is because most of the food eaten in the new foreign country may be very new to them or unworthy for consumption according to the culture of the foreigner (Hahn, 2010). The students may therefore find it hard to get a balanced diet during their stay in the new country. Due to this, the students end up developing nutritional deficiencies which may lead to symptoms of depression. Many individuals having depression have been found to lack balanced levels of carbohydrates, proteins, and fatty acid (Shaw & Gant, 2004).To address the issue of nutrition imbalance among the international students, many Canadian campuses do provide a list of foods available before the students arrive at the campus (Kuo, 2014). They ensure that the students are aware of what to expect after they arrive and this prevents any form of shock that may arise. The information is provided through the campus health centers which also help the new students into getting to know the best foods to take so as to ensure nutritional balance (Oliffe, et al, 2010). The schools also offer special nutrition classes for the international students improve their knowledge on diet. Such classes help to encourage healthy eating habits which help to combat winter blues (Kuo, 2014).
Studies have shown doing exercise as one of the best ways of improving one’s health as it lowers blood pressure, strengthens heart, improves strength and reduces body fat (Hahn, 2010). Doing exercise has also been shown to reduce depression, anxiety and stress (Kuo, 2014). Many Canadian campuses have encouraged this behavior of doing regular exercises so as to address the issue of depression among international students and to improve the students’ thinking skills and memory. The research found out that many Canadian universities and colleges have invested heavily in creating recreational resources for their students. Some of the recreational services include; gyms services, swimming pools, treadmills, stationary bikes, basketball courts, and weight lifting services (Ward & Kennedy, 2001). The schools also offer intramural sports and exercise classes that help the international students to avoid stress and also interact well with the locals (Hahn, 2010).
Based on the results of this study on the reasons and the methods that can be used to help international students deal with depression issue better and more effectively, there are a number of recommendations that should be adopted to reduce depression levels amongst the learners significantly. One of the recommendations that should be adopted is that of making students to go through a language training program while still in their countries of origin to help avoid any circumstances or situations that could make them depressed as they try to learn a new language in Canada. Learning a new language will be important for the learners because they will be confident enough to make new friends while at the same time making it easy for them to comprehend whatever is taught in their respective schools.
It would also be important for university students to engage in part time jobs within their universities or the cities where they are living as a way of dealing with their financial issues and any other stresses that could be linked to financial strains. Being engaged in different part time jobs helps the students to meet their financial needs, avoid being social media addicts, and interact with people from different cultures, thus making their social life better and high effective. It will also be effective is the students were allowed to either visit their home country after some time or be given opportunities to more into the country with at least one member of their family to deal with the issue of loneliness. Being engaged in part time engagements also help students to learn more about the Canadian culture better and more efficiently compared to when they learn it through their schoolmates and interactions.
To conclude, this project aimed at looking at some of the main causes of student depression amongst international students in Canada. Some of the key causes of depression as indicated in the research included language barrier, culture shock, financial constraints, technological addiction and loneliness. On the other hand, some of the methods that can be used to reduce depression amongst international students in Canada as per the study include engaging in psychotherapy, strengthening their social connections, practicing, and being mindful in their exercises. It will also be important for is the students and those involved in the international scholarship programs focused their attention on developing proper communication channels, encourage the students to seek medication when needed and set the right healthy boundaries. Finally, it would be effective if the students improved their nutrition patterns and start engaging in exercises that will help them to be fully engaged. The adoption of these strategies will reduce the number of students suffering from depression in Canada while at the same time helping them to cope well and effectively with the Canadian learning environment. Additionally, adopting the recommendations offered will also work perfectly in helping the learners to deal with some of the key issues that have been causing them stress and depression. All the recommendations should be adopted and implemented within the stipulated time period to help the students avoid going through depression in their daily operations.
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