This paper pertains to a retrospective study of immigrant students’ experience of making friends and gaining social confidence in secondary school. In the study, 17 undergraduate students participated in either a one-to-one semi-structured interview or focus group. Questions were asked to understand their experiences in making friends and gaining social confidence when they came to Canada between grades five to nine. Thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) was used to analyse the data. This method was useful in looking for commonalities in meaning in participants’ responses. In total, seven themes and 20 subthemes were discovered, which are discussed in detail. Implications for school professionals are discussed along with suggestions for future research.


Immigrant, Adolescence, School, Social Confidence, Friendship, Thematic Analysis

Author Bio(s)

Shyanna Albrecht earned her BA in Psychology and Sociology at the University of Calgary and is currently a Masters of School and Counselling candidate at University of Saskatchewan. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: spkalbre@ucalgary.ca.

Gina Ko is an Educational Leadership PhD candidate at the University of Calgary. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: gina.chau@gmail.com.


We would like to thank Dr. Tom Strong, University of Calgary, for his input and guidance in this study.

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