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Surviving to Thrive: The Experiences of Second Generation Cambodian Americans Students in the University


Research on second generation Cambodian Americans in the university setting remains scarce in terms of determining the motivators and barriers of practicing resilience at the university level. Factors which pervade the Cambodian American community at large such as the intergenerational transmission of trauma, the push-pull dynamic felt largely by the second generation, and the aggregated data under the model minority myth for Asian Americans which largely ignores the poverty levels of specific Southeast Asian ethnic populations must be addressed. This qualitative study seeks to examine the experiences of three second generation Cambodian American university students. The implications of this research will help shed light on a specific group often overlooked in lieu of aggregated data of Asian Americans and the specific motivators and barriers they face in the university setting. This study will also help contribute to the Cambodian American experience of students’ progress toward their undergraduate degree.

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