The interplay between ethnic and academic identity construction among South Asian students in Hong Kong tertiary education

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Abstract

This qualitative study investigates the interplay between the ethnic and academic identity construction of a group of university students with South Asian backgrounds in Hong Kong. The findings indicate that ethnic identity and ethnic socialization have protective and facilitative effects on learning motivation and academic achievement. It is found that these ethnic minority students receiving tertiary education, holding congruent views of ethnic and academic identity, display a sense of agency and critical reflectivity of both the host society and their heritage communities and see facilitating community uplift and developing a more positive social image of ethnic minorities as their generation’s responsibility. Reconstructing an ethnic identity and developing new social images therefore motivate them to pursue academic success. The findings indicate that the South Asian students figured out ways in which to interact with the outer world and set up new roles and spaces (i.e., a heritage community with more positive social image). The findings shed light on how to provide better opportunities for and assistance to ethnic minority students when they pursue higher education. Copyright © 2019 Springer Nature B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1109-1127
JournalHigher Education
Volume78
Issue number6
Early online date16 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Citation

Gu, M. M., Guo, X. G., & Lee, J. C.-K. (2019). The interplay between ethnic and academic identity construction among South Asian students in Hong Kong tertiary education. Higher Education, 78(6), 1109-1127. doi: 10.1007/s10734-019-00391-7

Keywords

  • Ethnic identity
  • Academic identity
  • Ethnic minority students
  • Tertiary education
  • Hong Kong

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