The experiences of second generation Samoans in Australia

Glenda Stanley, Judith Kearney


Australia is a culturally diverse country with increasing numbers of people with Samoan heritage immigrating in search of better educational and employment opportunities. Indicators such as under-representation in university courses and employment outcomes point to adaptation difficulties for many second generation Australians with Samoan heritage, setting them apart from some other immigrant groups in Australia. This paper aims to provide a better understanding of the experiences of this Samoan cohort of young people and to suggest ways or pathways to better opportunities and outcomes. This is achieved through content analysis of eleven in-depth interviews. The findings reveal two key themes: protective factors for strong cultural identity and social connectedness; and constraints on educational opportunities. Findings also showed that some interactions with churches, friends and parents constrain educational opportunities. The paper concludes by reflecting on a suggestion that parents of Samoan young people reconsider traditional practices that might limit communicative interactions with their children. It also recommends a collaborative response from parents, families and church groups to help resolve competing demands on young people of Samoan heritage in Australia.

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