Skip to content
  • Immigrating into a New World

    Inside Higher Ed - 04/02/2013

    Being first at anything is hard, but being first at college is a bewildering and sometimes terrifying experience.

    I work with a scholarship program at Northeastern University that funds students from underprivileged backgrounds; all are first-generation college attendees, most are from poor families, and with a few exceptions, either they or their parents are recent immigrants. This past week I gave a class simulation, offering a lecture on a complex political issue to a group of scholarship finalists. They were being judged on their responsiveness in the class, their ability to grasp the information and to process it. It was the end of a long interview day, and I could feel not only their exhaustion, but their need to prove themselves worthy of this award.

    I feel a close affinity with this group: my mother was an immigrant from a large–and poor–family from a coal-mining area in Scotland, and my paternal grandmother and great grandmother were both immigrants, settling in blue collar areas. We were definitely a working class family and my generation of siblings and cousins were the first to attend college, a point of pride, but also skepticism from the older folks.

     

  • Cookies on Northeastern sites

    This website uses cookies and similar technologies to understand your use of our website and give you a better experience. By continuing to use the site or closing this banner without changing your cookie settings, you agree to our use of cookies and other technologies. To find out more about our use of cookies and how to change your settings, please go to our Privacy Statement.