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The networking aspect of international students’ integration into Finnish working life : a case study of Team&Client project course
DisciplineIntercultural Communication (maisteriohjelma)Master's Degree Programme in Intercultural Communication
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This thesis explores how the social networks developed during Higher Education Studies contribute to international students’ integration into Finnish working life. Previous research provides evidence that international students experience difficulties with finding jobs in Finland after completing their studies, and the lack of social networks is recognized as one of the main employment barriers. According to the Strength of Weak Ties theory, weak social networks, especially when they connect representatives of different social groups, provide better employment outcomes for an individual. Team&Client project course organized by the University of Jyväskylä is used in this study as an example of a university course, where international students have an opportunity to create such ties. This research was done from a qualitative stance and focused on the international student’s perceptions of networking with other parties during and after the course. The research is based on two sets of data: 68 written documents produced by the course participants in 2016-2020, and 8 semi-structured interviews with former students conducted in 2021. The analysis indicates that half of the interview participants was able to utilize the created social network in a way that enhances their employability in Finland. However, the findings also suggest that it can take some time before international students are prepared to enter the labor market, and by that time they may perceive the created ties as too weak or even absent. Another important factor found is that some international students may not be prepared to take an active approach to networking and employability development. ...
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