CULTURAL AND LINGUISTIC LEARNER DIVERSITY: STUDENT CASE EXMPLE



My name is Kiwi. My family came to the United States from South America when I was eight-years old. For the most part, my transitions into public schools within a large urban school district were relatively free of major problems. I do feel that I was encouraged and prepared to pursue a college education and degree. However, upon completion of high school my decision to attend college was extremely difficult for my family largely because I chose to leave home and live in another part of the state. I entered college not having a firm choice about a future occupational career. During my first two-years of college I gave a great deal of time and energy to my friends and various social activities. I also had to work part-time in order to help defray some of my tuition fees and living expenses. It seemed like I was always compromising myself, e.g., being late or rushing to complete assignments, not spending adequate time studying for examinations, not developing a network of study partners or friends in my classes, not becoming active in student professionalizing organizations, and not taking advantage of the many intellectually and culturally enriching activities offered on campus. Frankly, I just wasn’t in the “loop.” Now that I have entered my junior year and have finally made a career choice, I feel much more directed and focused. I seem to be better able to establish priorities and manage my time. The content of my courses has become far more interesting and meaningful because I now see relationships to my life beyond college as well as my future career. Coming from a large urban high school I wasn’t sure that I would ever attend college. No one in my family ever completed college and it wasn’t a topic that was discussed seriously throughout my high school years. In fact, none of my older brothers and sisters encouraged me to think about going on to college. Fortunately, I was identified by one of my high school teachers as someone with the potential to benefit from a college education. Subsequently, I received advisement from that teacher and a school counselor about the college selection and application process. Now that I have completed what has been an exciting but very challenging freshman year at college, I feel that I know myself much better. While I made many new friends at college, I tended to spend a great deal of time with students who shared many of my cultural traits and values. Many of us lived on campus in the college dorms and did many things together. While I enjoyed these social interactions, I now feel that my base of friends wasn’t as diverse as it could have been. Concerning my academic life during the past year, I received a great deal of help and support through various programs that were available to me. However, I had a very difficult time establishing priorities, organizing and managing my time, note- taking in class, studying for examinations, preparing written projects, and generally establishing a routine for getting everything done on time. I really think that I learned a lot this past year about what it takes to be a successful college student. I feel sure that the confidence that I have developed in my capabilities as a result of the problems I had to deal with during my freshman year will only make me a better student in my remaining years of college.