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"At School, It's a Completely Different World": African Immigrant Youth Agency and Negotiation of Their Adaptation Processes in U.S. Urban Schools

Thu, April 8, 4:00 to 5:00pm EDT (4:00 to 5:00pm EDT), SIG Sessions, SIG-Multicultural/Multiethnic Education: Theory, Research and Practice Roundtable Sessions


African immigrant youth adaptation processes in US schools remain under-researched. Using a qualitative case study, this article examines West African immigrant middle- and high-school youth adaptation experiences in US urban schools. Findings show that racialization, English proficiency levels, and multilingualism affected social relationships (both supportive and conflicted) with families, communities, peers, and school contexts. These experiences crucially influenced African immigrant youths’ adaptation processes. Participants drew from community resources and developed resilience skills to negotiate acculturative stressors when seeking friendship, belonging, and an integrated sense of identity in their new home. Recommendations for further supporting positive adaptive strategies are discussed.
Keywords: African immigrant youth, adaptation, cultural clash, multilingualism, belonging