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    First-generation Migrant Student Experiences in Higher Education Spaces in Ireland

    Croke, Miriam J. (2023) First-generation Migrant Student Experiences in Higher Education Spaces in Ireland. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    First-generation students are a growing cohort in higher education (HE) and research around this group of learners is a developing area in Ireland and internationally. This qualitative study explored the accounts by ten first-generation students who self-selected and who are the first in their families to attend higher education in Ireland, of their experiences while enrolled in a higher education institute in Ireland. One-to-one in-depth interviews were conducted using semi-structured questions in order to bring to light how they accessed higher education in Ireland, the difficulties they encountered, their motivations, and the strategies that helped them to successfully participate in higher education. The research presented here is guided by Bourdieu’s (1986) theoretical framework and his concepts of habitus, field, and capital, together with Yosso’s (2005) theory of Community Cultural Wealth (CCW), in particular her ideas around familial capital, along with drawing on the lens of Critical Race Theory (CRT) through which the experiential knowledge shared by the participants in the study is explored. The significance of the role of CCW is offered here as a form of resistant capital that may promote first-generation students’ access to and continued study in HE. In doing so, I suggest that a ‘personal capital of persistence’ is developed. The findings are centred on four key areas: the long journeys into higher education, the importance of family relationships; pressures; and student engagement with learning. Findings show that cultural capital is supported by positive values around education in the domestic habitus and related familial and peer support networks. The students in this study showed evidence of acting on their capital to accomplish access to HE, and they do this despite the highly complex nature of their lives and the structural barriers to access that were found including: finance, inadequate recognition of prior learning pathways, lengthy periods waiting for acceptance, and language needs. Based on the findings, there is evidence to indicate that the participants encountered a higher education system that did not always have their interests at heart. A richer understanding of first-generation migrant students’ experiences is necessary in order to promote equity and diversity in HE. Recommendations are made for policy, practice and future research.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: First-generation; Migrant Student Experiences; Higher Education Spaces; Ireland;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Adult and Community Education
    Item ID: 17281
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2023 14:11
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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