Identities of Chamorro college students in the mainland: A narrative study




Santos, KristiAnna T.

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The focus of this study was on Chamorro students attending colleges and universities in the United States mainland. The purpose of this study was to understand the experiences of Chamorro college students who leave Guam for higher education in the U.S. mainland, with specific emphasis on the identification of their strengths and challenges. Narrative inquiry and analysis was utilized in this research.

Eleven participants were interviewed as part of this project. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed utilizing narrative methodology. Narrative methods allowed the generation of stories in order to provide an understanding of Chamorro college student identity and the identity changes that were experienced by this population while in college. Results yielded the following themes: embracing home, openness to difference, and looking forward. These themes illustrate the identity changes experienced by Chamorro students in higher education in the U.S. mainland. The strengths of Chamorro students include: commitment, respect, adaptability, and sociability. Their challenges include: feeling behind academically, speaking in class, loneliness, and creating new friendships.

Results of this study extend the multicultural counseling literature to include Chamorro college students. Implications of this study include understanding the multiple identity frames that challenge Chamorro students as they journey from Guam to the U.S. mainland for higher education. Specific recommendations for counselors are provided.


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Chamorro, College, Counseling, Higher Education, Pacific Islander, Retention