The number of Latinas in higher education has been steadily increasing over the years leading them to comprise a significant portion of the student body in colleges and universities. However, little is known about their experiences navigating higher education as the first ones in their family to set foot on the college campus. Given that the university setting is guided by values, beliefs, and expectations that may differ from the cultural values that Latinas bring with them to the college campus, Latina/o students often experience an incongruence of their cultural values with those of the of educational setting. To gain a better understanding of how first-generation Latinas experience navigating cultures, this study looked at well-being in relation to balancing the individualistic school culture and the collectivistic family-oriented home culture. Semi-structured interviews with eight undergraduate Latinas in a public four-year institution in southern California revealed the following themes: living in two worlds, the self as central concern, and well-being in the context of balancing cultures. Within the first theme, the women described being grounded in their cultural/ethnic background, family’s understanding of school demands, and a clash in perspectives. The second theme highlighted the women’s experiences in pursuing higher education for their own benefit, being their true self on campus, and presenting a censored version of themselves at home. Lastly, this study found emotional and social well-being to be influenced by balancing cultures in combination with other life stressors (e.g., breakups, financial hardships, balancing work, school, and family responsibilities, etc.). The women’s wellness promoting strategies along with recommendations for practice and research are discussed.
|Commitee:||O'Brien, Jonathan, Rojas, Leticia|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 81/1(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Higher education, Educational leadership, Womens studies, Hispanic American studies|
|Keywords:||Academic achievement, Cultural congruity, Cultural values, Latinas, University environment, Wellbeing|
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