“I Thought It [University] was the Only Way to Go:” Competent Agents in Pursuit of Possible Paths beyond University Walls
Roberta Soares
University of Montreal
Marie-Odile Magnan
Yifan Liu
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University experiences
immigrant parents

How to Cite

Soares, R., Magnan, M.-O., & Liu, Y. (2024). “I Thought It [University] was the Only Way to Go:” Competent Agents in Pursuit of Possible Paths beyond University Walls. Journal of Culture and Values in Education, 7(1), 37-55. https://doi.org/10.46303/jcve.2024.3


This qualitative study documents the experiences of youths in Montréal during both their university and post-university phases, specifically focusing on individuals whose parents originate from the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, or Latin America. Through semi-structured interviews with six youths who interrupted their university studies, our investigation employs the theory of structuration and the concept of intergenerational temporality.   The findings illuminate the challenges these individuals face in deciphering the intricacies of the academic landscape and highlight their struggle to establish a genuine sense of belonging within the university environment. Furthermore, our analysis sheds light on the discernible impact of parental expectations, which contribute to prolonging their educational journey. Notably, following the interruption of their university studies, our examination accentuates the agency displayed by these youths beyond the confines of the university.   Their choices to either reenroll in a college or technical program or directly enter the job market underscore their agency. In conclusion, we underscore the imperative need to deconstruct the prevailing university model, advocating for a paradigm shift that prioritizes adapting the educational system to the diverse needs of students.   This approach, rooted in principles of equity and social justice, emphasizes the significance of reconfiguring the educational landscape to better serve the student body.

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