This paper is a qualitative descriptive case study focusing on the relationships between first
generation immigrant and college students and some of the many institutional and societal factors that
contribute to their experiences at a U.S. public research university. The analysis identified common
themes from the experiences of the nine participants, both positive and negative, regarding interactions
with their peers, instructors and other university staff and their sense of belonging on campus. As the
findings suggest, while there were a high number of negative interactions such as racism with peers, the
participants also provided a number of ways in which instructors can create a classroom environment
that could help mitigate those negative interactions such as allowing for small group discussions in class.
Among the nine participants, all reported feeling a sense of belonging on campus but their responses
provided insight into how complicated the concept can be. Ultimately, the findings from this descriptive
study could help drive institutional improvements, future research and contribute to a more positive
student experience for this population.
1 online resource (PDF, 101 pages). Submitted August 2013 as a Plan B paper in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a master's degree in English as a Second Language from the University of Minnesota.
Understanding the experiences of first generation immigrant, first generation college students attending a public U.S. university.
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