Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Education


The number of recent immigrants to the United States has increased dramatically in the last few years, and more of these immigrants are members of a group often designated as "Generation 1.5" students. These immigrant students were born in another country, came to the United States at the age of 13 or older, and graduated from high school in this country. This qualitative research study occurs within two Illinois community colleges that require some students to enroll in courses below regular English Composition I as indicated by one or more placement tests. These courses are English as a Second Language (ESL) or developmental communication courses.

This study addresses many of the issues raised in the studies conducted by Oudenhoven (2006) and Hinkle (2006). Unlike those two recent studies, however, this one explores specifically the experiences of students who have come from Mexico.

The study attempts to explore the experiences of these immigrants and their adaptation to new cultural surroundings, through the use of four research questions: 1) What are the adjustments to U.S. culture in general? 2) What are the adjustments to the culture of the community college classroom and corridor? 3) Does the student encounter any feelings of anxiety in the language-learning process? And 4) Does the student encounter any feelings of stigma in the language-learning process?

It is documented that Latinos in general have faced a variety of obstacles in attempting to obtain a college degree (Gonzales, 2008; Hunter-Anderson, 2008;

Firmen, Whitthuhn, Riggins, & Carson, 1997). It is hoped this study will help college faculty and administrators understand any obstacles more fully.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.