Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Education




Julie Byrd Clark


With the increasing number of immigrant youth, often referred to as the 1.5 generation, settling in Canada every year, it is important to understand the experiences and national identity perceptions of this immigrant generation. This qualitative case study investigates national identity perceptions and the experiences of 1.5 generation youth with English language learning and first language maintenance. A focus group was held with five high school students to understand their current experiences of being 1.5 generation. In addition, seven individual interviews were conducted with college/university students who were asked to reflect on their past and current experiences. The findings indicate that 1.5 generation youth feel comfortable with their conversational English skills but have difficulty with academic English. This study also demonstrates that even though some youth spent an almost equivalent period of time in Canada as they have in their country of birth, they do not perceive themselves solely as Canadian. Participants in this study often claimed having their national identity divided between Canada and the country of birth. Research on the experiences of immigrant youth, particularly in the Canadian context, is largely untapped and this research study contributes to our understanding of the experiences of 1.5 generation youth.