Assets-Based Learning Abroad: First-Generation Latinx College Students Leveraging and Increasing Community Cultural Wealth in Costa Rica

Wick, Willis, Rivera, et al. / Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad / November 2019

This qualitative study counters deficit narratives about first-generation Latinx students by exploring multiple forms of community cultural wealth (CCW; Yosso, 2005) that 25 students leveraged and increased during service activities and homestays in Costa Rica. Through longitudinal data and with CCW as a conceptual framework, three key themes emerged. First, students were able to leverage their linguistic and familial capital to connect quickly and meaningfully with locals. Additionally, students drew upon their linguistic, familial, aspirational, and resistant capital while abroad to deepen their engagement. Finally, student interaction with their forms of CCW appeared to deepen their bicultural identities, strengthen their resistance to injustice, and instill a strong desire to inspire other Latinx students to pursue international education. Implications for practice include an integrated approach to recognizing and rewarding students’ CCW-related capital in the advising, application and preparation processes. Implications underscore the importance of using strengths-based pedagogies in the design of education abroad programs.