Educational and cultural challenges of bicultural adult immigrant and refugee students in Australia

Author/s: Abi Brooker and Jeanette A. Lawrence

Edition: Volume 52, Number 1, April 2012

Summary: We report the relationship between the cultural and educational challenges of immigrant adult students. Thirty-five recently arrived adults in a bridging course completed a self-administered, online computer interview to rate their exploration and commitment to their heritage and Australian cultures, and express their experiences with their own challenges (size and effect of challenges, people who helped them deal with their challenges). Students’ biggest challenges differed in relation to their bicultural identities (their cultural identities for both heritage and Australian cultures): money and school tasks for the more bi-culturally committed; English and personal skills for the less. Students who were more bi-culturally committed appeared to experience some advantages in their experiences with their challenges. How newly arrived immigrants develop their bicultural identities can have implications for how they address their challenges, and find a place for themselves within the new culture and their heritage culture.

Keywords: cultural challenges, educational challenges, immigrant adult students, bicultural identities

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This article is part of AJAL, Volume 52_1. The entire volume is available in .pdf for purchase here.

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