Globalization and Community Colleges

8 First Generation, Generation 1.5, and International Students

As noted in the previous chapter, students who enroll in community-college based English language programs may be immigrants or international students. Among immigrants, students may be further classified as ‘first generation’, ‘generation 1.5’, and ‘second generation’.

Are you familiar with these terms–‘first generation’, ‘generation 1.5’, and ‘second generation’ students? Let’s look at them more closely.

  • First Generation: There are people who migrated from one country to another as adults. In the host country, where they now live, they are identified as ‘first generation’ immigrants because they are the first among their generation to live in that country.
  • Generation 1.5: Sometimes, migrants are very young–in their preteens or early teens–when they move to another country, generally with family and sometimes by themselves. Because they migrated when they were children but were not born in the host country, these migrants are often identified as ‘generation 1.5’.
  • Second Generation: These are persons whose parents would be identified as ‘first generation’ immigrants. Unlike their parents, ‘second’ generation students are often born in the host country and/or have spent the majority of their lives in the host country.

Then, there are also international students at community colleges. These are students who generally hold an F1 or a J1 visa, which allows them to stay in the host country specifically for the purpose of gaining higher education.

Based on the above information, how would you identify yourself? Do you fit into any one of the categories above? Compare and contrast the above information with your own background and life experiences.

Now, read this article published in the New York Times and learn more about a student who moved to the U.S. and started her studies at a community college. As you read the article, also try to identify the central/main idea, key major details, and important minor details. In addition, compare and contrast the experiences of the students described in the article with your own, and also think about the similarities and differences between the community college described in the article and Montgomery College. This will help you connect the information in the article with your own background and prior knowledge, a useful strategy to understand new material and to do some critical thinking.


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Demystifying Academic English Copyright © by Rashi Jain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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