Citation
Being Bicultural

Material Information

Title:
Being Bicultural The Conflict, Negotiation, Integration of Korean American Female Undergraduate Students
Creator:
Kim, Sun-Young
Place of Publication:
[Gainesville, Fla.]
Florida
Publisher:
University of Florida
Publication Date:
Language:
english
Physical Description:
1 online resource (189 p.)

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Higher Education Administration
Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education
Committee Chair:
Mendoza, Maria Pilar
Committee Members:
Campbell, Dale F
Harper, Candace
Koro-Ljungberg, Mirka E
Graduation Date:
12/15/2012

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Asian Americans ( jstor )
Asians ( jstor )
College students ( jstor )
Cultural identity ( jstor )
Cultural values ( jstor )
High school students ( jstor )
High schools ( jstor )
Korean culture ( jstor )
Parents ( jstor )
Women ( jstor )
Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
culturalidentity -- highereducation -- koreanamericanwomen -- qualitativeresearch -- transnationalfeminism
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
born-digital ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Higher Education Administration thesis, Ph.D.

Notes

Abstract:
The purpose of this study is to understand how Korean American female undergraduate students negotiate cultural conflicts and develop their own cultural identity. This study utilized qualitative data collection and analysis methods to understand the unique world of these women students in their own voices. Five Korean American female undergraduate students who attend a large public university participated in this study. Primary data collection consisted of two in-depth semi-structured interviews with each participant of 60-90 minutes long per interview. Data analysis was based on Charmaz’s (2006) constructivist grounded theory.  Findings presented in the conceptual model indicated that the cultural Identity of the Korean American college students is affected by their cultural environments. During high school, they were more likely to develop an identity in order to assimilate to the primary culture that they belonged to. As a result, participants identified themselves as either Asian (Korean) or American, depending on how much they were exposed to their ethnic culture or to the American culture. However, participants identified themselves biculturally as Korean American during their college years. College allows these students to become mentally and intellectually independent, which forms the groundwork for developing their bi-cultural identity. In addition, it gave them more opportunity to expose culturally diverse environments resulting in deeply understanding their own cultural identities. The cultural Identity of the Korean American students is also affected by their own personal challenges. Korean American women participants perceived distinctions between their home culture and mainstream culture, and they realized that they were controlled by their traditional values. These students also felt internal conflicts with their parents when they were expected to be obedient. Outside home, they faced racial alienation and a lack of cross cultural relationships.  All of these aspects hindered these women’s efforts to integrate into their campus community, and further into American society. However, addressing their own challenges allowed these students to learn where they stood as a bicultural individual between two cultures and how they were able to negotiate their dual cultural lifestyle. Therefore, the bicultural Identity of the Korean American students was strengthened by negotiating their personal cultural circumstances. These women did not ignore the challenges they faced. Instead, they actively negotiated these cultural struggles in their own ways, and each tried to integrate the differences into their developing bicultural identity. Consequently, their efforts encouraged them to deeply understand, “Who am I?” and to develop their bicultural identity during their college years. The emerging theory suggests that young Korean American women needed institutional support and educational programs, which are easily accessible to students, so that they could feel a sense of belonging on their campus and emotionally safe when developing their values. Attention to Asian American college women’s cultural lives moves the field of diversity forward and encourages academic scholars to conduct studies to better understand these groups of students and mitigate misunderstanding of Asian American college women. As this study states, Korean Americans typically become bicultural. This study ultimately suggests that these students must have support in their efforts to negotiate their cultural lives in order to safely develop their own bicultural identity. ( en )
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description:
This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Local:
Adviser: Mendoza, Maria Pilar.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Sun-Young Kim.

Record Information

Source Institution:
UFRGP
Rights Management:
Copyright Kim, Sun-Young. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
870712985 ( OCLC )
Classification:
LD1780 2012 ( lcc )

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BECOMING BICULTURAL: THE CONFLICT NEGOTIATION, IN TEGRATION OF KOREAN AMERICAN FEMALE UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS By SUN-YOUNG KIM A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORID A IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012 1

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2012 Sun-Young Kim 2

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To Sang-Yeol and MiKyeong 3

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS My deepest gratitude goes to my committee chair and mentor, Dr. Pilar Mendoza, for great academic support that made this study possible. I express my heartfelt gratefulness for her support. I am also very grateful to Dr Mirka Koro-Ljungberg for her valuable guidance and great support for the methodology of this study. I will not forget her support and cheering. Additionally, I woul d like to thank to Dr. Dale Campbell who always encouraged me and provided me extensive support. Lastly, I specially thank to Dr. Candace Harper who gave me constant support and valuable advice. Im truly appreciative of the support and encouragem ent of my committee members. I also want to express my gratitude to my family. I would first like to thank my parents, Sang-Yeol Kim and MiKyeong Bok, and parents-in-law, In-Heop Jung, SunHee No, for their love and great support. I also gr eatly appreciate my brother Jun-Sub, and his precious family Min-G yeong, Dong-Hoo, and Ji-Min with lots of love. I special thank my sister Myung-Sub, and her family Jae-Sung, Ji-Hyeon, Gi-Seok. I would not finish my PhD without their support and cheering. I truly thank them all. I would like to thank fa culty members and friends. I would first like to thank Dr. Gratto for her warm support and caring. Additionally, I would like to thank Dr. BeharHorenstein for her loving encouragement. I would like to thank my academic friends: Megan director of the department of ELI as well as me mbers of womens support group, Cheryl, Betsy, and Mary Anne in the Specia l Education, English teacher Heather, Zack and Nancy in the Educational Administra tion and Policy, Kate and Haesun, and Leah, the Asian Pacific Islander American Affairs director. I also want to thank my friend AJ in Educational Technology ; I will never forget her support. I specially owe a great big thank you to Laura Waltrip, PhD, who enc ouraged and greatly helped me to finish my study. 4

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Finally, I am very grateful to my best friend Sylv ia and her family. She is always sending me the deepest love. I truly appreciate her for her love and cheering. I greatly appreciate them all. Finally, I would especially like to thank my husband Jae-Mo and beautiful daughter Vicky, whose love made me accomplish my dream. I cannot find sweet words to express my feelings for his love, patience, and great support. He is my soul mate, my personal chef, and my encourager. Vicky is my special cheer leader. She is the all and everything of my life. I truly want to express my deepest gratitude to my husband and my daughter. I love both of you. Thank you! 5

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ..................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................9 LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................10 LIST OF TERMS ...........................................................................................................11 ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................13 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUC TION....................................................................................................16 Purpose of the Study and Research Questions ......................................................19 Significance of the Study ........................................................................................20 2 LITERATURE REVIEW..........................................................................................24 The Bicultural Experience of Asian Americans .......................................................24 Asian American Ethnic Identity .........................................................................25 Acculturation .....................................................................................................27 Bicultural Asian Americans ...............................................................................30 The College Experience of Ethnic Asians ...............................................................31 Challenges Facing Asian American Women ...........................................................37 Korean Americans Lifestyle ...................................................................................40 Immigration History ..........................................................................................40 Life Style on a Daily Basis ................................................................................42 The Confucian Value System ...........................................................................43 Conceptual Framework: Phinney and Devi ch-Navarros Bicultural Identity ............46 Summary ................................................................................................................49 3 METHOD OLOGY...................................................................................................52 Theoretical Perspective ..........................................................................................52 Participants and Research Setting ..........................................................................56 Emilys Background ..........................................................................................57 Judys Background ...........................................................................................58 Alexs Background ............................................................................................58 Marys Background ...........................................................................................59 Graces Background .........................................................................................60 Data Collection .......................................................................................................61 Emilys First Interview .......................................................................................63 Emilys Second Interview ..................................................................................64 Emilys Final Interview ......................................................................................64 6

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Judys First Interview ........................................................................................65 Judys Second Interview ...................................................................................66 Judys Final Interview .......................................................................................66 Alexs First Interview ........................................................................................67 Alexs Second Interview ...................................................................................68 Alexs Final Interview ........................................................................................68 Marys First Interview .......................................................................................69 Marys Second Interview ..................................................................................70 Marys Final Interview .......................................................................................70 Graces First Interview ......................................................................................71 Graces Second Interview .................................................................................72 Graces Final Interview .....................................................................................73 Data Analysis ..........................................................................................................74 Data Analysis in This Study ..............................................................................77 Member Checking ............................................................................................81 Validity ....................................................................................................................83 Subjectivity Statement ............................................................................................88 Limitations ...............................................................................................................90 4 FINDING S...............................................................................................................91 Overview of Findings ..............................................................................................91 Cultural Exposure ...................................................................................................96 Cultural Environments Affecting Identity ...........................................................97 Experiencing Independenc e from Parents ........................................................99 Having a sense of independence ...............................................................99 Confusion associat ed with independence ................................................101 Being Exposed to Ethnic Diversity ..................................................................104 Lack of Social Integration Caused by Cultural Differences ...................................107 Facing Gender Expectations ..........................................................................108 Preconceived gender role expectations ...................................................109 Restricted social relationships ..................................................................111 Personal appearance ...............................................................................114 Experiencing Power Relations ........................................................................117 Facing Stereotypical Image of Asians ............................................................120 Lack of Cross Cultural Social Relationships ...................................................122 Cultural Negotiation ..............................................................................................126 Balancing Two Cultures to Minimize Cultural Conflicts ..................................127 Managing cultural co nflicts with parents ..................................................127 Overcoming struggles related to religious beliefs .....................................129 Making up for negative cultural values .....................................................131 Balancing Cultures to Int egrate Dual Cultural Lives .......................................133 Switching cultural behaviors .....................................................................133 Maintaining ethnic language ....................................................................134 Summary of Findings ............................................................................................136 5 DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATION S.....................................................................137 7

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Overview of the Study ...........................................................................................137 Discussion ............................................................................................................141 Implications and Recommendations .....................................................................153 Implications for Practice .................................................................................154 Implications for Research ...............................................................................157 Concluding Thoughts ............................................................................................161 APPENDIX A IRB DOCUMENT ATION.......................................................................................163 B CONSENT FO RMS..............................................................................................166 C INITIAL PR OTOCOL.............................................................................................168 D FOLLOW UP INTERV IEW PROTOC OL...............................................................169 E FINAL INTERVIE W PROTOCOL..........................................................................170 F CODING TR AIL....................................................................................................171 G RECRUITMENT EMAIL........................................................................................173 LIST OF REFERENCES .............................................................................................174 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ..........................................................................................189 8

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1 Demographic of participants ...............................................................................61 3-2 Data collection time line. .....................................................................................74 9

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4-1 Theoretical model: Korean American students bicultural identity development .......................................................................................................96 10

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LIST OF TERMS Acculturation Cultural diversity Originally refers as phenomena which result when groups of individuals sharing different cultures experience changes in the original culture patterns as a result of their immersion into a different culture (Redfield, Linton, & Herskovits, 1936). The representation of people with a number of distinct cultural significance, includ ing languages, races, as well as ethnicities within one social group (Sullivan, 2009). Cultural identity It is defined as the em otional significance we attach to our sense of belonging or affiliation with the larger culture (TingToomey, 2005, p.214). Ethnic identity It is defined as part of an individuals self-concept which derives from his knowledge of his membership of a social group (or groups) together with the value and emotional significance attached to that membership (Taifel, 1981, p.255). ESOL English for Speakers of Other Languages IB Independence Internal struggles International Baccalaureate Hoffman (1984) defined four aspects of adolescent psychological separation from their parents: functional independence, emotional independence, conflictual independence, and attitudinal in dependence. In this study, independence would be ident ified as functional independence, which means that participants controlled by their parents during high school are allowed to make own decisions for their academic and social lives as they attend college. In this study, internal struggl es would mean negative feeling resulting in bicultural conflicts or confusion associated with cultural differences. First generation Korean American People who came to the Un ited States as adults, having lived their childhood and adolescent years in Korea (Danico, 2004, p.9). Konglish It refers to a combination of fusion of Korean and English (Danico, 2004, p.9). 11

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Model minority Racial stereotype Racial stereotypes including Asian Americans as having low crime rates or no juvenile delinquency, positive physical and mental health, higher incomes, and high scholastic achievements (Kobayashi, 1999). Stereotype refers to a fix ed idea or image that many people have of a particular type of person or thing, but which is often not true in rea lity (Hornby, 1995, p.1169). In this study, racial stereotypes of Asian Americans would refer to socially and historica lly constructed Asian American images in the United States, including negative (e.g., the yellow peril, exotic ) and positive images (e.g., the model minority). Second generation Korean American Refers to people who were born in the United States and are strongly influenced by Am erican cultural heritages. Thus, English/ local cultur e are primary, and Korean language and culture are second ary (Danico, 2004, p.11). 12

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Abstract of Dissertation Pr esented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulf illment of the Requirements for t he Degree of Doctor of Philosophy BECOMING BICULTURAL: THE CONFLICT NEGOTIATION, IN TEGRATION OF KOREAN AMERICAN FEMALE UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS By Sun-Young Kim December 2012 Chair: Pilar Mendoza Major: Higher Education Administration The purpose of this study is to understand how Korean American female undergraduate students negotiate cu ltural conflicts and develop their own cultural identity. This study utiliz ed qualitative data collection and analysis methods to understand the unique world of these women students in their own voices. Five Korean American female undergraduat e students who attend a large public university participated in this study. Primary data co llection consisted of two in-depth semistructured interviews with each participant of 60-90 minutes long per interview. Data analysis was based on Charmazs (2006) constructivist grounded theory. Findings presented in the conceptual model i ndicated that the cu ltural Identity of the Korean American college student s is affected by their cultural environments. During high school, they were more likely to develop an identity in order to assimilate to the primary culture that they belonged to. As a result, participants identified themselves as either Asian (Korean) or Am erican, depending on how much they were exposed to their ethnic culture or to the American culture. However participants identified themselves biculturally as Korean American duri ng their college years. College allows these students to become mentally and intellect ually independent, which forms the 13

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groundwork for developing their bi-cultural identity. In addition, it gave them more opportunity to expose culturally diverse environments resulting in deeply understanding their own cultural identities. The cultural Identity of t he Korean American students is also affected by their own personal challenges. Korean American women participants perceived distinctions between their home culture and mainstream cult ure, and they realized that they were controlled by their traditional values. These students also felt internal conflicts with their parents when they were expected to be obedi ent. Outside home, they faced racial alienation and a lack of cross cu ltural relationships. All of these aspects hindered these womens efforts to integrat e into their campus community, and further into American society. However, addressing their own challenges allowed these students to learn where they stood as a bicultural i ndividual between two cultures and how they were able to negotiate their dual cultural lifestyle. Therefore, the bicultural Identity of the Korean American students was strengthened by neg otiating their personal cultural circumstances. These women did not ignore the challenges they faced. Instead, they actively negotiated these cultur al struggles in their own ways, and each tried to integrate the differences into their developing bicult ural identity. Conse quently, their efforts encouraged them to deeply understand, Who am I? and to develop their bicultural identity during thei r college years. The emerging theory suggests that young Korean American women needed institutional support and educatio nal programs, which are easily accessible to students, so that they could feel a sense of belonging on their cam pus and emotionally safe when 14

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developing their values. Attention to Asi an American college wom ens cultural lives moves the field of diversity forward and encourages academic scholars to conduct studies to better understand these groups of students and mitigate misunderstanding of Asian American college women. As this study states, Korean Americans typically become bicultural. This study ultimately s uggests that these students must have support in their efforts to negotiate their cultural lives in order to safely develop their own bicultural identity. 15

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION American society has created societal expectations that Asian Americans are problem-free high achievers (Suzuki, 2002, p.29). Thus their unique cultural circumstances behind this image have been underrepresented and ignored. Asian Americans face internal struggles different than this image would imply. In particular, their challenges are closely related to their cultural dualism. An alarming issue is the fact that many Asian American students suffer from mental health issues in part related to their cultural struggles (Cho, Hudley, & Back, 2003; Hovey, Ki m, & Seligman, 2006; Hwang & Goto, 2009; Lee, 2003; Museus & Chang, 2009; Phinne y, Ong, & Madden, 2000; Suyemoto, Kim, Tanabe, Tawa, & Day, 2009; Ying, Lee, Tsai, Lee, & Tsang, 2001). However, little research has been conduct ed related to the cult ural struggles of Asian Americans. Asian American college students have emer ged as a distinctive racial group in American higher education. These students influence the ways in which American higher education develops and responds to dive rsity on campus. College enrollment of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders incr eased from 169,000 to 950,000 from 1976 to 2004 (KewalRamani, Gilbertson, Fox, & Provasnik, 2007). In 2005, the percentage of graduate degree completion among these groups (17%) was higher than the degree completion of Whites (11%), Blacks (5%) Hispanics (4%), and Indians/Alaska Natives (4%) (KewalRamani et al, 2007). Despite their significant role in higher educ ation, comparatively little research has been conducted on these ethnic groups (Mu seus & Kiang, 2009; Museus, 2009). Museus (2009) estimated that out of the five most commonly read peer-reviewed high 16

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education academic journals, roughly only one percent specifically addressed Asian American or Pacific Islander college student s. In addition, previous studies have portrayed Asian Americans as one homoge nous group, and have provided aggregated data as if it were representative of the whole Asian popu lation (Constantine, Chen, & Ceesay, 1997; Gim, Atkinson, & Kim, 1991). As a result, the statistics pertaining to some Asian American ethnic groups are inaccurate. This overgeneralization related to Asian American ethnic groups gives rise to misconceptions, such as the model minor ity myth which serves to perpetuate stereotyping. Summarily, students are portrayed as problem-free high achievers (Susuki 2002, p.29). However, the model minority stereotype burdens Asian American college students with implicit expectations and pressures, both academically and socially. In addition, due to the stereotypes that Asian Americans face, many endure excluded attention in school and their needs often become ignored (Suzuki, 2002). Asian American students face unique circumst ances of their own. As immigrants, they are likely to encounter negative cultural experiences. Thus, Asian American students have to contend and negotiate cultural conflicts and stereotypes given by the dominant group and learn how to integrate their heritage cu lture with the mainstream culture. For example, despite their effort to acculturat e, the dominant society still perceives Asian Americans as foreigners (Min, 2002). Because they are perpetually considered as foreigners to other Americ ans, some second generation Asian Americans are embarrassed of their cultural heritage and their non-Wh ite appearance (Min, 2006a). 17

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However, these students develop their own i dentity by integrating their ethnic and American culture to overcome the series of challenges faced on a daily basis. In some cases, integrating these two cultures causes conflicts due to their respective differing values. In particular, conflict appears in issues related to gender inequalities (Hune, 1998). Asian Women struggle bet ween American cultural va lues and traditional gender roles expected of Asian women (Yee, D earyshe, Yuen, & McCubbin, 2007). Today, many researchers have focused on the issues of minority women; however, few studies have been directed towards Asian American women in particular (Bassett, 2002; Chhuon, Kyratzis, & Hudley, 2010; Ngo & Lee, 2007). Despite the fact that these challenges negatively impact their academic success and social satisfaction, these issues have not been given much a ttention by academic scholars. For this study, I focus on Korean American female undergraduate students because they face not only the critical iss ues that I have briefl y described above, but also unique challenges that their Korean culture pose (Kim & Yeh, 2002). In general, Korean cultural heritages grounded in Confucianism si gnificantly impact Korean American students way of life in America (Chen, 1982; Danico, 2004; Hurh, 1998; Moon & song, 1998). As a result, some Korean Americans, as many other Asians first generation students, face psychological distress while they negotiate these two cultures (Ahn, Kim, & Park, 2008; Chung, 2001; Yeh et al., 2005). For exam ple, Ahn et al. (2008) identified that Korean American students adhere to less traditional Asian cultural values than their parents. Due to the cultural gap between the two, they argued that Korean American students experience emot ional struggles with their parents regarding certain issues including dating and marriage. 18

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Many Korean immigrant families still follo w Confucian philosophy, which includes a strict authoritative relations hip between parents and children as well as between sons and daughters (Park & Cho, 1995). Korean Am erican female students are likely to struggle developing their ow n way of life as Korean Am ericans given that Korean traditional beliefs impose restrictions on women in terms of education, relationships, and gender roles (Park & Cho, 1995) and these rest rictions negatively impacts these Korean American female students while they develop t heir identity. Compounding this issue is the fact that American society pays little attention to this student population (Hune, 1998) As members of a diverse American society, Korean American female undergraduate students need to learn about their multiple heritages and themselves as individuals in order to compr ehend their unique world. They must negotiate living in bicultural worlds, as Koreans and Americans. T hey also have to overcome the challenges that they face as women and as people of color, the fear of alienation from their families, and underrepresentation in academia This study was designed to theorize Korean American female students voic es and to understand how these students negotiate their unique cultural circumstances and successfully develop their cultural identity. Purpose of the Study and Research Questions The purpose of this study is to understand how Korean American female undergraduate students negotiate Korean and American cultures and establish their bicultural identity. Because individual identities are developed based on their own experiences, understanding t heir unique world in their own voices is critical in this study. To accomplish the purpose of the study and signify the individual voices of Korean American female undergraduate st udents, this study used qualit ative research methods. 19

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By comprehending how individuals make sense of their everyday lives (Hatch, 2002, pp. 6-7), this study can provide insights into the unique world of Korean American female undergraduate students. The following research questions guide this study. How do Korean American female under graduate students negotiate their bicultural lives? How do Korean American female undergraduat e students develop their bicultural identity? Significance of the Study This qualitative study is designed to understand Korean American female students cultural negotiation that leads to their identity formation. By listening to and understanding this group of students individual voices, this study can gain insight into their unique world. The study attempts to disaggregate the Asian American experience. By focusing on the Korean American ethnic group, this study offers the research community an opportunity to better underst and these students and provides rich knowledge regarding their cultur al circumstances, which is normally veiled by the model minority image. Through this understanding, this study can support college administrators and student services professionals in their efforts to service this ethnic group of women. For many years, mens experienc es have been used as a frame of reference to explain womens experiences. However, it could be limited in understanding womens way of life. Women have different voices from thei r male counterparts, and it is difficult to understand women through mens per spectives. Therefore, this research provides a fitting lens with which to view Asian American women students. By focusing on Korean American womens cult ural lives, this study offers college administrators more information about t heir Asian female students cultural 20

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circumstances. Korean Amer ican students are often neglected when colleges and universities design support programs for ethn ic minority students due to their typically high academic performance and their socially constructed racial image as a model minority. This phenomenon discour ages administrators from paying more attention to this group of students. Therefore, this study results encourage administrators and service providers to pay more attention to these women students and look closely at their cultural circumstances. In particular, this research provides valuable information for counseling service and multicultural affair s department in that counselors and student affairs professionals can use findings of th is study as data when they plan appropriate support services. This study also can help high school counselor s in their effort to provide service to immigrant students. In particu lar, Immigrant women students may struggle with cultural oppression and gender inequality orig inating from their ethnic cu ltural values, and they may face internal challenges when they feel their lives are controlled by their immigrant parents. Therefore, this study encourages school counselors to carefully monitor immigrant students cultural struggles and approach the students issues by connecting to their ethnic cultures. Additionally this research also encourages high school administrators and teachers to offer culturally and ethnically diverse issues in their class discussions. During high school mo st students are relatively little exposed to cultural diversity or cultural identity issues, wh ile these students have more opportunity to experience during college years. The lack of experiences of cultural identity and diversity issues hinder students effort to express t heir own cultural identity. Therefore, this research provides high school adminis trators including teachers and counselors an 21

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opportunity to better understand their immigrants students and appropriately support these students. This study is significant in that it gi ves first generation immigrant parents and ethnic communities an opportunity to underst and their college daughter s so that they can effectively help and support them. Many Korean American female students struggle with conflicting cultural expectations includ ing gender expectations, and these different cultural expectations may give rise to inte rgenerational conflicts. This research offers immigrant parents and ethnic communities insi ght into how Korean American female students may struggle with their dual cultural lives. It further suggests how these students may try to overcome their cultural challenges in order to maintain healthy relationships with their parents and ethnic community. This study also theoretically contributes to bicultural identity development of Korean American female students. In order to understand thei r cultural identity, this study closely approached to multiple aspe cts concerning Korean womens racial, cultural, and gender issues. As a result, it make s their specificities visible, and provides a broader perspective to better understand Korean American female students way of life. Previous work on ethnic minority i dentity development has focused on how students acculturate or assimilate to Am erican mainstream cu lture while developing their identity. This study argues that Kor ean Americans develop their own identity with their two cultures, rather than acculturating to one culture over the ot her; therefore, it is helpful to focus on bi-dimensional cultural identity development instead. Finally, this study provides educators with detailed informa tion useful for designing future studies 22

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related to cultural i dentity development of second generation immigrants in the United States. 23

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CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW The literature is reviewed in this chapter in order to understand Asian American college undergraduate students in general and Korean Amer ican students in particular. Exploring existing research and connecting it to this study is imperative to comprehending Asian Americans bicultural experiences. In order to better understand how this group develops their cultural identity, this chapter reviews previous research studying aspects of Asian Americans et hnic identity includi ng ethnic identity development theories, acculturation, and bi culturalism. This chapter then reviews literature on college experienc es of Asian American students in order for the reader to understand how their dual cultural lives a ffect their academic and social lives on campus. In addition, this chapter reviews Asian American womens particular struggles associated with gender and cultural issues. This chapter also reviews Korean American culture inducing brief immigrant history, Korean Americans daily life style, and Confucianism, to better understand how Korean culture affects Korean American womens daily life. Lastly, this chapter discusses Phinney and Devich-Navarros (1997) bicultural identity theory as a theoretical framework. The Bicultural Experience of Asian Americans Asian Americans are described as a heterogeneous group defined by their language, cultural heritages, and l ength of their residence in the United States, such as long established populations of Chinese and Japanese, as well as the more recent immigrants of Hmong, Cambodians, and Laotians (Reeves & Bennett, 2004). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 11.9 million Americans, which is 4.2% of the total U.S population, are Asians (Barnes & Bennett, 2002), compared to the Asian American 24

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population of 1940, which was less than 1% (Nakanishi, 2001). This group, including Pacific Islanders, is projected to make up 6% of the total U.S popul ation by 2020 (Ong & Leung, 2003). In addition Asians in the U.S. are mostly immi grants. In 2000, 76% of the Asian population who were foreignborn ca me to the United St ate over the past decades (Reeves & Bennett, 2004). They settl ed in the United States with strong cultural heritages including langu age, customs, and traditions. Asian American Ethnic Identity Ethnic identity is a critical aspect to understanding Asian Americ ans. It is created from the shared culture, re ligion, geography, and language of individuals who are often connected by strong loyalty and kinship (Evans, Forney, & Guido DiBrito, 1998, pp.7980). Several researchers have conceptualized ethnic identity developm ent (e.g., Cross, 1978; Phinney, 1993; Kim, 1981). In particu lar, Kim (1981) developed an Asian American identity development m odel drawing from Erikson s ego identity theory. By utilizing semi-structured interviews, she ident ified a linear progression of stages from ten third-generation Japanese Am erican women whose ages were between 20 and 40. More specifically, Kim (1981) conceptua lized five stages of Asian American identity development: ethnic awareness, White i dentification, awakening social political consciousness, redirection to an Asian Am erican consciousness, and incorporation. First, in the ethnic awareness stage, whic h corresponds to the period for Asian American children prior to entering school (e.g ., the ages of 3-4), Asian Americans are surrounded mostly by their ethni c culture and their family me mbers. During this period, Asian Americans feel comfortable with their own ethnic origin. Then, the White identification stage begins when Asian Amer ican children enter school. During this stage, Asian Americans internalize the va lues and standards of the White dominant 25

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group and view themselves as White. They associate mainly with White people rather than with people of their own ethnicity. Continua lly, in the awakening to social political consciousness stage, Asian Americ ans acquire their own sense of identity in the White society and are more experienced socially as well as more politically involved, so that certain issues, such as racism, could be conf ronted. During this stage, Asian Americans in the study felt good about their new aware ness of themselves as a minority (Kim, 1981, p.144). In the redirection to an As ian American consciousness stage, Asian Americans begin to feel secure enough to look at their own experiences while having support from others. Lastly, Asian Americans in t he incorporation stage, Asian Americans develop a clear sense of identity in the White society and acknowledge that being an Asian American is important but not their only identity (Kim, 1981, p.152). Accordingly, Asian Americans integrate their ethnic identity with the rest of their identities so that they feel comfortable as Asian American. Based on this, developing an ethnic identity is crucial for Asian Amer ican college students in order to adjust to campus life. Ethnic identity is described as a dynamic, mu ltidimensional construct that refers to ones identity of sense of self as member of an ethnic group (Phinney, 2003, p.63). Individuals develop their et hnic identity by recognizing di fferences among other ethnic groups and by learning and accepting the impor tance of their ethnic ity within a broader society (Phinney, 2003). This sense of ethnic identity helps Asian American students to build a strong bond with other Asian Americ an students, and provides the opportunity for positive interpersonal relationships as well as an open mind to embrace other ethnic groups. Developing and maintaining a strong ethni c identity is an important strategy for 26

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Asian American students to overcome their vul nerability. In fact, many Asian American students establish positive attitudes towards the Asian ethnic culture by engaging in Asian cultural behaviors (Kim & Omizo, 2006). Many studies report a positive relationship between a well-defined ethnic id entity and psychologic al well-being among Asian American students (Bracey, Bamaca & Umana-Taylor, 2004; Cheryan & Tasi, 2007; Martinez & Dukes, 1997). Bracey et al (2004) acknowledged that ethnic identity positively contributes to ethnic students se lf-esteem. Similarly, Martinez and Dukes (1997) stated that minority adolescents who had hi gher levels of ethnic identity also had higher levels of self-esteem, purpos e in life, and self-confidence. Strong ethnic identity plays a buffer against challenges such as discrimination as well (Greene, Way & Pahl, 2006). Greene et al (2006) conducted a 3 year longitudinal study on adolescents from Black, Latino, and Asian American backgrounds and found that adolescents who experienced higher leve l of discrimination suffered lower selfesteem and more depression compared to ot hers who experienced less discrimination. However, this study also found that ethni c identity may act as a buffer for negative effects of discrimination. Mossakowski (2003) also suggested that ethnic identity buffers the effects of racial/ethni c discrimination, and therefor e well developed ethnic identity offers ethnic minorities a good coping resour ce. However, in some cases, it is challenging for some Asian Americans with well-developed ethnic identities to cope when they experience racial discriminati on (Noh, Beiser, Kaspar, Hou, & Rummens, 1999; Lee, 2005; Yoo & Lee, 2008). Acculturation An American identity is also important to Asian American college students. Establishing an American identity differs for individual Asian Americ an college students, 27

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and it will depend on how much each individual adopts the Amer ican culture or acculturates (Cheryan & Tsai, 2007). Acculturation is the process of adjusting to a different culture (Tsai, Chentsova-Dutton, & Wong, 2002, p.42), and therefore Asian American college students have different acculturation processes based on their birth status and /or length of residence in the Un ited States. For exam ple, foreign-born, recent immigrants have differ ent acculturation processe s than second generation Asian Americans who were born in the United St ates or who immigrated at a young age. Classic views of acculturation were c onceptualized as a one-dimensional process, in which individuals pull away from their her itage culture while they assimilated to their new host culture in a linear manner (Trimb le, 2003). More recently, researchers have conceived acculturation as a bi-dimensional process where it is assumed that identification with the new host culture and their own ethnic culture are independent. Therefore, acculturatin g individuals are able to adhere to their ethnic culture while they adopt their mainstream culture (Berry, 1980; Ryder, Alden, & Paulhus, 2000). Applying this concept to the Asian American population, it is noted that the acculturation process of Asian American students can also be identifi ed as bidirectional (Abe-Kim, Okazaki, & Goto, 2001; Nguyen & von Eye, 2002). For ex ample, a study done by Tsai, Ying, and Lee (2000) indicated that American-born Chinese students developed being American and being Chinese in dependently. Therefore, it is possible for Asian American students to maintain two cultures and construct bicultural identities. Many Asian American college student s experience positive psychological outcomes through the accultur ation process. For exam ple, Chungs (2001) study examining differences in intergenerational conflict indicated that highly acculturated 28

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individuals have less intergenerat ional conflict than both bicu ltural and low-acculturated individual Asian American students. A be and Zane (1990) proposed that more acculturated U.S.-born As ian American college student s had a lower level of interpersonal distress compared to their foreign-born Asian American counterparts. Tata and Leongs (1994) study of Chinese American college students (N=219) suggested that highly acculturating students had a more positive attitude toward seeking professional psychological help. In their st udy of Asian international students (N=170), Zhang and Dixon (2003) also hi ghlighted that Asian inter national college students higher level of acculturation positively influenced their attitude toward seeking professional psychological services. However, in some cases, Asian American students suffer from acculturation stress (Thomas & Choi, 2006; Yeh, 2003). Lorenzo, Frost, and Reinherz (2000) noted that older Asian American adolescents perceived themselves more negatively and suffered an increase in poor interpersonal relationships than their Caucasian peer s did. It is this lack of social connectedness that may be a refl ection of the challenges Asian American immigrants struggle with, bot h in western culture and th eir ethnic culture. The acculturation gap between immigrant parents and their children may give rise to intergenerational conflict due to differences of cultural expectations. Ying et al. (2001) found in their study of American born Chin ese, early immigrant Chinese, and late immigrant Chinese student s that early immigrant Chines e college students, who most likely perceive themselves as Americans, fa ced greater intergenerat ional conflict with their parents. Because Asian American se cond generation students who are born or raised with having lived in the United States fo r a long time are affected equally by both 29

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western and their ethnic culture, balanci ng between two cultural influences may contribute to family conflict and poor psychological well-being. Similarly, a study done by Phinney et al. (2000) indicated that U.S.-born and raised adolescents had greater intergenerational discord than foreignborn and short residence adolescents. Bicultural Asian Americans As a result of acculturat ion, from a global and trans national perspective, it is common for immigrants to belong to two cultures. Some scholars suggest that ethnic minority students adopt mainstream culture and at the same ti me maintain their heritage culture (Berry, 1980; Birman, 1994; LaFromboise, Coleman, & Gerton, 1993; Phinney & Devich-Navarro, 1997). In general, Asian American students are exposed to multicultures from various social institutions, such as schools, family, and community. They are mainly surrounded by the American culture, but they are also strongly influenced by their cultural heritages from their parents who still maintain the transnational life style. Consequently, Asian Americans are bicultural (Devos, 2006; Lee, Falbo, Doh, & Park, 2001). These bicultural Asian Americans successfully internalize their distinct cultures and identify themselves with two cultures (Benet-Martinez, Leu, Lee, & Morris, 2002). Biculturalism is identified as one of the acculturation st rategies (e.g., separation, marginalization, assimilation, and integrat ion/biculturalism) among immigrants (Berry, 1980), and this biculturalism is further expl ained in detail by sc holars through concepts such as fusion and alternation (LaFrom boise et al.,1993); blended, instrumental, integrated, and exploration (Birman, 1994) ; or blended and alternating (Phinney & Devich-Navarro,1997). These concepts will be explained further in the theoretical framework. These theories contribute to the understanding of the reorganization of individual differences into a bicultural identit y. In some sense, integrating two cultures 30

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may be difficult for some Asian Americ an college students because of differences between ethnic and mainstream cultures. Thus conflict may occur while Asian Americans negotiate developing their bicult ural identity. For example, Stroink and Lalonde (2009) found that se cond generation bicultural Asian Canadian college students were confronted with c onflict between their Canadian and Asian cultures. This bicultural identity conflict is also found in other racial minorities such as Native Americans (Garrett, 1996), as well as Af rican Americans and Mexican Americans (Phinney and Devich-Navarro, 1997). Despite their challenges, many bicultural in dividuals reconcile their cultural values and successfully develop a bicultural ident ity (Phinney & Devich -Navarro, 1997). In order to establish their bicultural identity, some Asian American college students sustain equal fluency between their heritage language and English. For instance, a study done by Lee (2002) revealed that second generat ion Korean American students, who are fluent in Korean, strongly ident ified themselves as bicultural. Her study suggests that dual language proficiency gi ves Korean American students an opportunity to deeply navigate their ethnic culture, and ultimately to balance their cultural values. This endeavor promotes the fostering of a bi cultural identity in these students. The College Experience of Ethnic Asians Many Asian American coll ege students are quite visible in their academic achievement in higher education (Teranishi, 2007). Out of the Asian population in the United States, 60% achieved a bachelors degree in 2008 (Aud, Fox & KewalRamani, 2010), though the rate differed among the various Asian ethnic groups. For example, 80% of Asian Indian, 70.3% of Chinese, 59. 6% of Filipino, and 54% of Korean college students attained bachelors degree in 2008 (Aud et al., 2010). Research on Asian 31

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American college students has been conducted since minority issues emerged in American society. Most of the times, this population is consider ed a homogenous group and categorized as one single racial categor y to be compared to other racial groups (Teranishi, 2007). Consequently, the aggregated re sults led earlier researchers to the misconception that all Asian Americans were high achievers in comparison with other racial groups (Suzuki, 2002). For instance, Asian American college students completion rates of a baccalaureate degree are higher than any other racial groups in general. However some Asian American college student groups, such as Cambodian, Hmong and Laotian, obtain college degrees at rates that are lower than both the national average and other racial populations (Lee, 2006; Museus & Chang, 2009). This academic gap within Asian American ethnic groups is invisible because of the aggregated data, and therefore Asian American colle ge students as a whole are misconstrued as one of the most academically successful racial groups in American higher education. Because not all Asian American college student s are fairly represented by these data results, some academic researchers have paid specific att ention to certain Asian American ethnic groups in particular, rather than Asian Am ericans as a whole, and have consequently provided disaggregated data on t hese groups. For example, one study found that Asian American ethnic subpopulations of college students such as Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, South Asians, and Southeas t Asians have different socioeconomic characteristics, academic performance, and educational aspirations (Kim, Rendon, & Valadez, 1998). 32

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Statistics of strong academic perform ance have created a veil, undermining the needs of Asian Americans. They garner littl e media attention, are frequently neglected in policy and scholarly venues concerning Am erican college students characteristics, and their academic experiences and circumstances on campus are ignored due to their small numbers and seemingly high academic performance in American postsecondary education (Nakanishi, 2001). Campus incid ents involving Asian American students happen sporadically, but persistently. Becaus e of the lack of research on Asian American college experiences, it is difficult to understand the circumstances that they face. One study indicated that first year Asian American, His panic, and African American students experience a lesser feeling of belonging on campus than their White peers (Johnson et al., 2007). These students may be struggling with racial stereotypes that White students may not face during their academic life. Racial discrimination is a negative experience for all students, including Asian American college students who ar e trying to develop a str ong self esteem. Indeed, Rhee, Chang, & Rhee (2003) state that Asian Americ ans have low self-esteem compared to their White college counterparts. Several studies have demonstrated that Asian American college students face racial bias and discrimination (Chou & Feagin, 2008; Sue & others, 2007), that they do not perceive the ca mpus environment as a safe place for them, and that they experience more incidents associated with racism than White college students (Kotor i & Malaney, 2003). For exam ple, Lubman (1998) noted in the San Jose Mercury News, at least four Asian students on University of California campuses have experienced strong anti-Asi an phone calls, email or graffiti. This includes an incident during which a former UC Irvine student sent an email to 59 Asian 33

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students and staff expressing that he wanted to kill Asians because he believed that the competition they posed was preventing him fr om academic achievement. This incident illustrates that the campus environment ma y still harbor racial bias toward Asian American students as many As ian American students face negat ive social integration into their campus community. According to Cho et al. (2003), Korean American students experience social and cultural challenges associat ed with acculturation. These students struggle to resolve their inner selves with their social personas (Kuo, 2001). In addition, Korean American students may feel isolation because they ar e neither fully American nor fully Korean (Kuo, 2001). They are no longer Asian, not yet American (Chou & Feagin, 2008, p.131). Korean American students typically speak English fluently, have had an American education, and have accult urated to American cultural values, so they believe that they are Americans. Howe ver, they are not typically viewed as Americans; rather, they still viewed as foreigners (Min, 2002). One Korean participant of a qualitative study conducted by Jeon (2010) described his feeli ng about his view of American mainstream. I do not think I will be able to view myself as an American in this country because people will never look at me as an American I am often-if not always-labeled by society as a foreigner or as an As ian, but never an American (p.50). In turn, Korean American students also may feel they cannot be Koreans because although they embrace their Korean cultural heritage, their beliefs and lif estyles are too similar to Americans, so they are not fully Koreans (Kuo, 2001). These negative social experiences may hinder Asian American students in developing healthy relationships within their campus community. In general, positive 34

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relationships with faculty members can affect students academic success and satisfaction (Kuh & Hu, 2001; Lundberg & Schr einer, 2004; Sax, Bryant, & Harper, 2005). Kims (2010) quantitative research on student-faculty interaction found that faculty-student interaction makes a signifi cant contribution to the improvement academic performance (e.g., GPA), as well as student educational aspirations. In addition, by engaging with diverse peers on campus, college students may enhance their academic, social, and community ro les, and have increased self-esteem (Chang, Astin, & Kim, 2004; Gloria & Ho, 2003). Despite the benefits, many Asian American college students struggle with developing re lationships with people due to negative campus climates, and they ar e confronted with more social isolation, self-segregation, exclusion and less satisfaction with soci al support than non-Asian American peers (Suyemoto et al., 2009, p.42). Consequently, as Museus and Chang noted (2009), they may suffer more from psychological c hallenges than other racial groups. There are many factors related to incr eased psychological distress among Asian American college students. First, as mentioned above, racial discrimination on campus is a critical factor negatively affecting t heir psychological wellbeing (Lee, 2003). Hwang and Goto (2009) examined the relationship bet ween racial discrimination and mental health for ethnically minority college student s including Asian Americans and Latinos, and they found that perceived racial discrim ination negatively affects mental health outcomes including stress, anxiety, and depressi on. In addition, cultural duality is another factor negatively affecting some Asian American students mental health. For instance, some Korean American students deny their own ethnic culture; however, they 35

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may also feel rejected by the dominant White American group, so these students endure a sense of alienati on (Kim & Miura, 1999). Hovey et al. (2006) acknowledged that some Korean American students experience low self-esteem and increased anxi ety and depression when they adhere to Korean cultural values. Conflict with family may also lead to poor psychological wellbeing. According to Cho et al. (2003), 80% of Korean Americans experience parental pressure. Parents have high educational expectations and adhere strongly to Korean culture. However, Korean American student s acculturate quickly to the American culture, while their parents still adhere to their native ethnic cultural heritage. Cho et al. (2003) assert t hat the model minority image may also contribute to the negative feelings of some Asian Am erican students who have poor academic performance. The model minority image has cr eated a stereotype assuming that Asian American students are academic hi gh achievers, and therefore th ey are not considered members of underrepresented or a dis advantaged minority (Takagi, 1994, p.232). However, numerous researchers have found that not all Asian American students achieve academic success as the model minor ity image would imply (e.g., Hune, 2002; Hune & Chan, 1997; Yin, 2000). Some Asi an American students have internalized the model minority image. In a sense, when t he model minority image becomes accepted by the students themselves as a means of measurement to gauge their self-worth, this internalization may have a damaging effect (Lee, 1996). Researchers found that Asian American students may be reluctant to seek educ ational assistance when they struggle with low academic performance because they feel humiliated for not living up to the model minority image (Kim & Yeh, 2008; Y ang, Byers, Ahuna, & Castro, 2002). As a 36

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result, their academic challenges are more lik ely to become a serious issue, yet these students rarely have the chance to remedy their academic stress. Challenges Facing Asian American Women Asian American female students in Americ an higher education stand out. In 1997, these students comprised 51.3% of total As ian American enrollment (Wilds, 2000) and increased to 53.8% of the total Asian American college student population in 2004 (KewalRamani et al., 2007). Despite being a distinguished and unique group on campus, they have not received attention from academic researchers. Literature on women of color has been primarily focus ed on the experiences of African American women, generalizing those experiences to al l women of color (Bassett, 2002). As a result, little research has been conducted e xclusively on Asian American women (Hune, 1998). In some ways Asian American women and other minority women have certain shared experiences, so they can sometimes be accurately viewed together with a single lens because most of women of color also suffer from gender and racial prejudice. However, Asian American wome n are struggling with unique ch allenges of their own. They are faced with not only gender stereotypes and racial stereotypes, but they also may suffer from conflict caused by significant cultural differences. According to Hune (1998), Asian Am erican women are a double and triple outsider in academic institutions (p.3). Gender stereotypes for Asian American women include conventional gender roles such as a good Asian female as being subservient, passive, and docile (Kawahara & Fu, 2007, p. 182). These stereotypes influence Asian American female students relationships both inside and outside the classroom (Bassett, 2002). Classroom climate may pose a disadv antage to students who are different from the majority in relation to sexual orientation, race, social, or disability (Allan, 2002). In 37

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the classroom where students are normally l ed by the dominant gr oup, Asian American women are invisible. It may be difficult to voice their thoughts due to their insecurity, and moreover, it is an even greater challenge to ex press different opinions than those of the majority group. Asian American wom en students may perceive an unwelcoming environment with from their fa culty and peers, and this experience may prevent them from joining discussions, which, in turn gives them the appear ance of being passive (Hune, 1998). In addition, Asian American women face ra cial stereotypes such as exotic and erotic (Hune, 1998, p.10). Th is stereotype is not common for other minority women in American society because this stereotype is formed as a by-product of war. World War II imported the image of the exo tic geisha girl who catered to mens sexual fantasies (Root, 1998, p. 213). Asian women have been portrayed in American popular culture in a variety of ways, such as China dolls, gei shas, Polynesian dancers, and as characters in the movie "Miss Saigon," yet all of these images show the women as an erotic figure (Hune, 1998). Consequently, World War II and the subsequent media images contributed to the stereot ype of Asian American women as sexual property and perpetrated this image in American society (Kawahara & Fu, 2007). This stereotype impacts female college students social rela tionships. According to Hune (1998), Asian American women students express t heir feeling as I stay away from guys who have an Asian fetish or I dont want to be a We stern male fantasy (p.10). These excerpts demonstrate how Asian Americ an women students may have limit ed positive interracial relationships within the dominant societ y, and how they consequently may feel uncomfortable in their campus lives. 38

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In addition to these stereotypes, Asian American women students also may suffer from conflicts within their family Family relationships tend to play a more critical role for Asian Americans than for non-Asian groups Traditionally, Asian countries are characterized by collectivism, focusing primarily on family and being communityoriented, rather than valui ng individualism (Lee, 1997). Fam ily members are expected to support one another financially, and children are taught to respect their parents and try to make an effort to succeed in ways that will reflect well on their family. For this reason, education is an important and valuable tool to achieve honor for their family. Historically, higher education was offer ed to sons, and daughters would primarily be provided with living expenses with the expectation that their time would be sacrificed to help with the household chores. Asian American families frequently experience conflict when traditional gender roles are eschewed (Yee et al., 2007), and many Asian American girls experience significant disco rd with their parents when challenging their gender role expectation (Tang & Dion, 1999). More specifically, some Asian American women who grow up in the United States may feel confused and discomforted with the gender inequality in family relations. Al though Asian American women have achieved education equality in the United States, they oftentimes re cognize gender imbalance in the greater independe nce and mobility that is given to their male siblings, even those that are younger than them (Esp iritu, 2001), and may come to re sent this cultural bias. This family conflict persists with Asian immigrants. Most fi rst generation parents hold tightly to their native cultural heritage and teach their children their beliefs and native cultural values. On the other hand, their children are earning an American education, which is greatly influenced by the American cultural values of equality, 39

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egalitarianism, and individualism, so their beliefs and cultural values may differ from their parents. Because their parents do not understand their childrens divergent cultural values, Asian American women students are vul nerable to psychological health issues. Some studies proposed that t he conflict with their parents gi ves rise to poor mental health for these students (e.g., Chung, 2001). However, Asian American women students may possess a more optimistic help-seeking attitude and promote cultural harmonization than their non-immigrant counterpar ts (Gloria, Castellanos, park, & Kim, 2008; Shim & Schwartz, 2007). For instance, Song and Moon (1998) found that some Korean American women students have dist anced themselves from conventional gender Asian socialization to overcome their psychological distress. Korean Americans Lifestyle The Korean American community has grow n to become one of important ethnic minorities in the United States It greatly influences Kore an American students way of life. In order to better understand this group, th is section reviews a brief history of Korean Americans and the Korean culture. Immigration History Korean immigration in the Unit ed States is characterized by three distinct historical periods. The first period of Korean immigrati on started with plantati on laborers in Hawaii and political refugees. Betw een 1903 and 1905, approximately 7300 Koreans came to the United States and settled in Hawaii (Gudykunst, 2001). Despite difficult circumstances in their new land, most early Korean immigrant s established and developed their Korean ident ity through Korean churches, Korean language, and cultural schools (Gudykunst, 2001). In additi on, picture brides, Korean women who had 40

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arranged long-distance marriages with early Kor ean plantation workers, arrived in the United States during that period and joined Korean male immigrants. The second period of Korean immigration began after the Korean civil war in 1951, and lasted until the 1965 Immigration Act (Gud ykunst, 2001). During that period of time, Korean War brides and war orphans, as we ll as a small number of students and professional workers came to the United States (Hurh, 1998). At the end of the Korean War, many Korean orphans were adopted by American families in increasing numbers until an eventual decline of adoptions in the late 1980s (Min, 2006b). In addition, Korean young women, who were mostly uneducated, married American servicemen and came to the United States without family members. They suffered from extremely difficult situations such as ignorance of American culture, lack of language proficiency, and culture shock after joining the Americ an society (Gudykunst, 2001). The immigrant war brides declined in number by the late 1980s (Min, 2006b). The third period of immigration started af ter the passage of t he Immigrant Act of 1965. During this period, many Korean immigr ants came to the United States as large families (Gudykunst, 2001; Hurh, 1998). This population was mostly a highly educated, middle class, urban group from Korea (Light & Bonacich, 1988; Min, 2006c; Weinberg, 1997). Until the 1990s, a significant number of Korean immigrants such as students, medical professionals, and intellectual refugees came to the United States to escape the dictatorship (Min, 2006c). Then Korean immigration declined in the 1990s because of the economic growth in Korea (Min, 2006c). However, Korean immigration once again increased to significantly higher numbers in the last years of the twentieth century 41

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and the first three years of the twenty-first century, because of the pursuit of more opportunities in higher educatio n and better jobs (Min, 2006c). Life Style on a Daily Basis One of the qualificat ions for immigration under the Immigrant Act of 1965 was for the applicant to have a close relationship with a family member already residing in the United States (Min, 2006d). A fter the passage of this law, many Korean immigrants arrived as a family unit and had extended relati onships with their relatives in the United States (Hurh, 1998). Today Korean immigr ant families maintain and develop their cultural heritage through the ce lebration of Korean holidays, as well as cooking and eating Korean foods while living in American society (Danico, 2004). In addition, they speak Korean at hom e. Language plays an important role in maintaining the connection between immigr ants and their traditional Korean family values and cultural heritage (Hur h, 1998). For Koreans, it is important to convey these values to each family member through la nguage. Lee (2002) high lighted that Korean language fluency supports Korean Americans in developing their ethnic identity. Furthermore, Lee (2002) argued that Korean Americans promote biculturalism by maintaining both Korean and English languages Ideally, speaking dual languages give Korean American families an oppor tunity to retain strong family relationships. However, frequently Korean immigrant families face an internal gap with their children due to poor communication skills (Choi & Dancy, 2009). Yang and Rettigs (2003) study found that some Korean mothers struggle with languag e barriers when they communicated with their children. One mother in Yang and Rettigs study expressed how hard it was to convey her feelings to her children due to her lack of language skills. She said, My son 42

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doesnt understand Korean very well. I cannot tell him something inside my heart. I cannot speak English well, either. I c annot fully send my heart to him (p.365). Religious participation has become a way of life among Korean Americans (Hurh & Kim, 1990). Korean churches in the United States provi de various services for new immigrants and support them unt il they can adjust to their new life (Min, 1992). Many Korean immigrants obtain information about American cultures from church and emotionally comfort themselves with others who can shar e their ethnic language and culture. In addition, Min (1992) argued that many Korean Americans maintain their ethnic heritages by participating in Korean church activities. Their children learn how to speak their ethnic language at church and maintain their ethnic language fluency as they primarily speak Korean at their chur ch. Therefore, Kor ean Americans ethnic identities are developed and strengthened through their religious life (Chong, 1998). Many Korean churches bolster traditional Korean cultural values, which are heavily influenced by Confucianism, and maintain these cultural values with religious values (Min, 2001). Therefore, Korean church is organized in a vertical, male-oriented, hierarchical structure, headed by a male pastor who wields considerable authority and power, and governed by a large group of elder s, all of whom ar e male(Chong, 1998, p.272). The traditional values are unquesti onably reproduced by Korean American communities and are pervasively taught with religious values to their Korean second generations. The Confucian Value System Korean Americans have shaped their lives by maintaining traditional cultural values. Korean traditional culture is based on Confucius philosophy (Son, 2006). Confucianism proposes to esta blish stable, reciprocal, et hical, but fundamentally non43

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egalitarian social relationships based on gen der, age, and position in society (Chinn, 2002, p.304). This doctrine impacts individual Koreans ways of life pervasively and has been sustained by Korean society for a long time. A kin-based society is one of the characteristic of Confucius ideas. The idea is that community mem bers are related to each other within the kin-family framework and thus are identified as uncle, aunt, and so on, instead of as Mr., or Mrs., or Miss in the individual fram ework (Kim, 1998, p.26). So, Koreans call each other brother sister, uncle, aunt, grandmother, or grandfather in the community instead of using a persons given name. Korean Americans also treat other Koreans as family in this manner and fo rm strong family relationships in their community, even if they are actually not related. This is possible even for Korean American second generations who have had an American education because their first generation parents hold fully to this idea and bec ome their childrens role models in who they act within their community. Confucian culture also shapes family structure, in which the family relationship is hierarchical in nature. C onsequently the Korean male wh o is head of household has more power than the Korean female, who occupies a subordinate position (Park & Chesla, 2007; Park & Bernstein, 2008). Kor ean American women are largely influenced by Confucian ideas and predictably marginalized in their society (Moon & Song, 1998). They are expected to obey their male counterpart, and are discouraged from having their own voice in decision making (Son, 2006). The Confucian Korean American family has different gendered expectations for their children. For example, according to Moon and S ongs (1998) study, 62.6% of Korean immigrants mothers believe that their daughter s should live with their parents until the 44

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daughters get married, while only 25% of t heir daughters agreed. However, the same mothers did not hold the same idea for t heir sons. In addition, 93% and 68.9% of Korean immigrant mothers and daughters, respectively, believe that it is more important to take care of family than it is to pur sue a career. Furthermore, young Korean American women are faced with the inequa lity of their gender role. Traditionally, daughters are not only relegated to domestic respons ibilities, but also are subservient toward male family members (Kim, Atkinson & Umemoto, 2001), which are not roles that are commonly experienced by sons in Korean American soci ety. Different gender expectations in the household, which are heavily influenced by Confucian gender ideas, frequently contribute to cultural conflicts betw een parents and their female daughters (Pho & Mulvey, 2003). A patriarchal family culture shapes the hi erarchical relationships between Korean parents and their children. Root ed in Confucius philosophy, children subordinate to their parents (Park & Cho, 1995). Alt hough parents and their children share a benevolent attitude, the child is always obedient to their par ents (Danico, 2004). Parents authority is oft en witnessed in patriarchal Korean American family. Kang, Okazaki, Abelmann, Kim-Prieto, and Shansh an (2010) found in their study that many Korean parents continued to assert authority over their adult children even after they attended college and controlled certain dec isions for their careers. The filial piety is also another characteristic in patriarchal family culture. Filial piety forces Korean children to take care of their parents with respect, honor, fidelity, dutifulness, and sacrifice (Chen, 1982). Many Korean American parents believe that filial piety is an important cultural value to establish strong family relationships, and they 45

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expect their children to uphold this idea. A survey on Americanization shows that 62.2% of Korean Americans believe that older par ents should not be sent to a nursing home, and that 74.6% of Korean Americans responded that children should bear responsibility and the obligation of supporting t heir elder parents (Hurh, 1998). Conceptual Framework: Phinney and De vich-Navarros Bicultural Identity Understanding how Korean American female undergraduate students negotiate their bicultural identity is the central element in this study. Bicultural identity is closely linked to acculturation. The seminal develop ments on acculturation state that, migrants discard their ethnic culture as they acquire a new mainstream culture (Berry, 2003). However, recent research has developed t he concept of acculturation as a multidimensional process, in which individuals embrace cultural values of their new host culture while retaining their or iginal ethnic culture (Berry, 1980). In fact, many immigrant young adults characterize themselves as bicultural (Van Oudenhoven, Ward, & Masgoret, 2006). Therefore, I drew from bicultural identity t heory in my study in order to better understand how Korean American fe male undergraduate students negotiate cultural conflicts and develop bicultural identities. In particular, I use Phinney and Devich-Navarros (1997) bicultural models as the conceptual framew ork for this study. Much research is based on Berrys theoretical model to understand the process of acculturation. In this process, Berry (1980; 1990; 2003) developed four identity modes: separation, marginalization, assimilation, and integration. According to Berry, during separation, individuals reject the dominant culture and retain the ethnic culture, whereas assimilation rejects the original culture and adopts the new host culture. In addition, when immigrants reject both t heir original culture and thei r new mainstream culture, identities are categorized in the marginalizat ion mode. However, wh en they adopt their 46

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new mainstream culture and retain their her itage culture at the same time, this is considered integration. The integration/biculturalism in Berrys model is further elaborated by a few researcher s with various bicultural m odels exploring individuals bicultural identity. For exam ple, LaFromboise et al. (19 93), Birman (1994), and Phinney and Devich-Navarros (1997) have attempted to identify various types of conceptual models of biculturalism. LaFromboise and colleagues (1993) proposed two types of biculturalism: fusion and alternat ion. LaFromboise et al. (1993) indicated that alternating bicultural individuals switch their behaviors between two cultures according to their situation. Fused bicultural i ndividuals create a third culture, which combines their two cultures and therefore the two individual cultures are not distinguished anymore. Birman (1994) further expanded on LaFromboise et al.s(1993) conceptual framework of biculturalism and proposed four types of bi cultural individuals : blended bicultural, instrumental bicultural, int egrated bicultural, and identity exploration. According to Birman (1994), blended bicultur al individuals have the same characteristics as LaFromboise et al.s (1993) fused bicultural individuals. In addition, instrumental bicultural individuals are behaviorally competent in their two cultur es, but identified with neither and as a result they feel margi nalized. Furthermore, integrated bicultural individuals are behaviorally comfortable in their two cultures; however, they strongly identified with their ethnic culture. Lastl y, bicultural individuals adopting identity exploration style are highly and behaviorally involved in mainstream culture, however, they identify with only their heritage culture. Phinney and Devich-Navarro (1997) int egrated Berrys (1980), LaFromboise et al.s (1993), and Birmans (1994) bicultural models by proposing two conceptual 47

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theories of biculturalism: blended and alternating. According to Phinney and DevichNavarro, blended bicultural individuals maintain their two cultures positively. These two cultures can be overlapped and consequently create a new culture. Phinney and Devich-Navarro considered this overlap as bl ended biculturalism. Alternating bicultural individuals identify themselves with their two different cultures. They switch their behaviors in different situat ional and cultural contexts. Phinney and Devich-Navarro considered each non-overlappin g side of cultures as al ternating biculturalism. Phinney and Devich-Navarro (1997) devel oped their bicultural framework by conducting both a qualitative and quantitative study with African Americans and Mexican Americans. The study indicated t hat blended bicultural adolescents had a positive feeling about being American as well as a strong sense of their ethnicity. They identified themselves as equally ethnic and Am erican. In addition to that, Phinney and Devich-Navarro further explai ned that for blended bi cultural adolescents, the sense of being American is more salient for these stu dents to develop their bicultural identity. However, because the sense of being Americ an is more salient for these students to develop their identity, it does not necessar ily mean that blended bi cultural individuals could be categorized as in the assimilati on stage as articulated by Berry (1980). Blended bicultural process is di fferentiated from assimilation in that individuals positively develop both mainstream culture and ethnic culture. Phinney and Devich-Navarro also suggested that alternating bicultural indi viduals have a strong sense of connectedness to their ethnic culture all the while having a positive feeling for the American culture. Therefore their ethnic culture is highly sa lient for these students in developing their bicultural identity. For ex ample, according to Phinney and Devich-Navarro (1997), 48

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alternating bicultural adole scents described themselves as [I am] mostly Black. I am both, but I am more Black or I am American and Hispanic, but I consider myself more Hispanic (p.15). Also, Phinney and Devich-Navarro (1997) found that alternating bicultural adolescents alter thei r identity in different social contexts such as their school or home. Like other ethnic minority groups, Korean Americans live with two cultures. Their ethnic heritages strongly influence their American life and ar e negotiated with the mainstream culture to recreat e an American bicultur al life. Berrys (1980) theoretical model of acculturation gives us the cue that many acculturat ing individuals are bicultural. This study further elaborates Berr ys integration/biculturalism model and uses Phinney and Devich-Navarros theories of biculturalism to understand how second generation Korean American fe male students develop their bicultural identity. Summary Literature is reviewed in this chap ter in order to understand Asian American students in general and Korean American students in particular. Exploring the existing research and connecting it to this study is imperative to comprehend Asian American students. Many recent res earchers have paid attenti on to Asian Americans characteristics, academic and social experiences, and their circumstances, though still relatively little known in so ciety. Aggregated statistical data on Asian American students have resulted in widespread misi nformation that all Asian Am ericans are successful in their life. Because of relatively high academic performance results, other life experiences including social experiences and cultural exper iences are neglected. Asian American students, distinctive for their ac ademic success, struggle negative social experiences such as discrimination, social isolation, and cultural challenges while they 49

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attend college. In particular, Asian American female students face multiple biases as women, people of color, and Asian cult ural image. These negative experiences contribute to poor psychological health. However, many Asian American students strengthen their identity to overcome their cu ltural challenges. In particular, developing and maintaining a strong ethni c identity protect Asian Am erican students from negative social experiences in cluding discrimination. In some senses, many Asian American st udents integrate both t heir ethnic culture and the American culture and devel op a bicultural identity. T hey are strongly influenced by their ethnic cultures fr om their parents while they al so are mainly surrounded by American cultures. Like other Asian Americ an immigrants, Korean Americans maintain their own traditional cultures while they adopt the Amer ican mainstream cultures. Korean traditional culture is strongly infl uenced by Confucian philosophy and creates patriarchal family culture. In a Confucian patriarchal family culture, Korean Americans are confined to different gender role expectations and hierarchical relationships between parents and their children. In addition, the Confucian cultural values are often times maintained with religious values as Korean Americans participate in their ethnic church activities. Consequently Confucian tr aditional values pervasively influence the American way of life while Korean American students develop their own bicultural identity. As a theoretical framework, this st udy adopted Phinney and Devich-Navarros (1997) bicultural identity theory to capture the Korean Am erican students experiences in developing bicultural identit y. Phinney and Devich-Navarros theory (1997) assumes that individuals defined as blended bicu ltural have a positive feeling about being 50

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American, as well as a str ong sense of their ethnicity, or individuals defined as alternating bicultural have a stronger sense of connectedness to their ethnic cultures and alternate between their ethnic culture and the American majority culture. 51

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CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY The purpose of this study is to understand how Korean American female undergraduate students negotiate cu ltural conflicts and establish their own bicultural identity. The following research questions guide this study: How do Korean American female under graduate students negotiate their bicultural lives? How do Korean American female undergraduat e students develop their bicultural identity? To accomplish the purpose of this study, th is study utilized qualitat ive research. This qualitative study seeks to elucidate on the individual experiences and thoughts of Korean American female undergr aduate students. Qualitative researchers examine how and why social experience is shaped as well as how it is given meaning (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000). In this section, I provi de and describe my research methodology for pursuing the purpose of the study. Theoretical Perspective The theoretical perspective of this study is transnational feminism, which focuses on gender and migration. I chose this fram ework because first generation Korean American female students develop a bicultur al identity given that these students are normally heavily influenced by the Korean culture on the one hand and the new identity as immigrants in the U.S. on the other. Transnational feminism has emerged from introspective critiques of post-colonial feminism (e.g., Mohanty, 1991). Non-Western postcolonial feminists critic ize the global sisterhood approac h based on the notion that all women suffer universalized oppression (Lorber, 2005). Mohanty (1991) also argues that third world women are homogenized by We stern feminists and as a result make 52

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their specificities invisible. Women have different experiences depending on their unique circumstances associated with race, class, gender, nationa lity, and sexuality. Consequently transnational feminists resist the universalization of inequalities of nonwestern women and provide a broader per spective to better understand women and gender inequality. Transnational feminist scholarship on mi gration has undergone several changes. Hondagneu-Sotelo (2005), w ho applied gender theory to transnational migration research, provided three stages of research on gender and immigration. According to Hondagneu-Sotelo (2005), feminists during t he first stage recognized the exclusion of women from immigration research and insert ed womens experiences into the study of migration. Therefore, wom en were added as a variable and compared with migration mens patterns (P.5). However, this approach gave rise to further marginalization of immigrant women by segr egated women into a subcategory. Consequently, this women only and add and stir (p.6) approach moved feminists to the next stage. The second stage during late 1980s an1990s changed the first stage of women and migration to gender and migration. Du ring this era, feminists focused on the aspect of how gender differentiated the ex periences of men and women in migration (Parrenas, 2009, p.3). This seco nd stage allowed feminist sc holars to actively explore women and mens lives and focused on social institutions such as family, households, community institutions, and soci al networks. However, becaus e many feminists in this era paid much attention to the domestic arena such as the household, other arenas and institutions such as the work place were overlooked. This limitation prompted feminist scholars to move to the third stage. A ccording to Hondagneu-Sotelo (2005), the third 53

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stage, which she calls the gender as a constitu tive element of migration (p.10), is now emerging. She articulates that in this current stage: Research is beginning to look at t he extent to which gender permeates a variety of practices, identities and institutions implicated in immigration. Here, patterns of labor incorporation, globalization, religious practice and values, ethnic enclave businesses, citi zenship, sexuality and ethnic identity are interrogated in ways that reveal how gender is incorporated into a myriad of daily operations and inst itutional, political and economic structures (p.10). The third stage of transnational feminism helps feminist scholar s on migration to better understand how immigrant women with different circumstances face conflicts and negotiate their unique transnational immigrant life. A number of migration researchers focus on various aspects and areas includi ng household or family, ethnic community, labor market, ethnic identity to just name of few, in order to understand gender relations between immigrant men and women (e.g., Es piritu, 1999; Kurien, 2003; Menjivar, 2003; Toro-Morn & Alicea, 2003; Tyner, 2003). T hese scholars depart from concentrated domestic fields of transnational migrat ion study and instead focus more on various social fields in which immigrant wo men engaged to comprehend gender relations. For example, Espiritu (1999) examined the gender issue among Asian immigrant womens occupations and found that Asian immigrant wo men experience different gender relations based on their occupations. She divided Asian immigrant occupations into three groups, salaried professional, self-employed and ent repreneurs, and wage laborers. Then she noted that immigrant women who have a professional occupation experience more gender equality in their househol d, while immigrant women who are in family businesses are more isolated and suffe red extra work burden with no payment. Korean American immigrants maintain a tr ansnational lifestyle. They are closely connected to their home country by adhering to ethnic cultures and regularly visiting 54

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Korea while they acculturate to the new host culture. Daily lives of second generation Korean Americans are affected by ethnic cultur al values due to the influence of their parents transnational lifestyle and a strongly bonded ethnic community such as it is the case with religious organizations. Therefore, the gender inequalit y originating from ethnic cultural values is pervasively maintained in these second generations and affects their American lifestyle. The third stage of transnational femini sm allows me to better understand how Korean American female students struggle wit h cultural oppression and how gender inequality reproduces and mainta ins through various social institutions such as household or family, religious community, and college. In order to pursue this goal, I focus on women only to study gender differ ences. Although I am at the third stage of transnational feminism, which emphasizes g ender comparisons, my theoretical stance follows feminist Parreass (2009) idea that transnational feminist study of migration should focus on the identificati on not of genders constitution but instead on the gender inequality that control the experiences of women (and men) in the process of migration(p.5). Many Korean American female students negatively experience underlying gender inequality. If I focus on gender differences between mens and womens experiences, cultural oppression a nd gender inequality that negatively control Korean female students American lifestyle ma y not be deeply explained because mens experiences may become the frame of refe rence to examine and understand womens experiences. Consequently I may not be fully exploring and understanding Korean American female students unique circumstance s, especially in instances where Korean American male students might never experience. 55

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The transnational feminist theoretical persp ective is also linked to the aspect of biculturalism in Phinney and Devich-Navarro s (1997) conceptual t heory. For the most part transnational Korean American female students are affected by both Korean and American cultural values; therefore, they are more likely to identify themselves as bicultural. These two theoretical lenses provide an opportunity to comprehend ways of integration between tw o distinct cultures under ci rcumstances of gender inequality within traditional Korean values. In parti cular, transnational feminism will offer a perspective on how gender inequality contri butes to the discrepancy given between two cultures and can exacerbate the negative impact and est ablishment of their own bicultural identity. Participants and Research Setting Five Korean American female undergraduate students participated in this study, who were born in the United States, or had come to the United States when they were school age. I recruited Korean American female students on campus at a large, 4year, primarily research-intensive public university in the Sout heastern United States. This institution has a large st udent enrollment and has more than 100 student organizations, offering students many opportunities to fi nd communities based on shared backgrounds and interests. In order to prot ect participants, I submitted my interview protocol to the relevant Institutional Review Board (IRB) and I adhered to its guidelines (Appendix A). After gaining approval for the study from the IRB, I contacted the multicultural affair department and the Asian Amer ican Student Union, and then asked administrative assistants to forward the email addresses of Korean American female students. In addition, to contact potential candidates vi a email, I advertised the study within the Korean community, such as the Korean chur ch and local Korean market. I also asked 56

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participants to give referrals to other possi ble students who meet t he study criteria to obtain additional participants. To establish confidentiality, I use pseudonyms for all participants in the study. Emilys Background Emily was born in the United States. She has one older sister who was born in Korea and came to the U.S. when she was y oung. Currently Emilys older sister is applying to graduate school. Her parents came to the U.S. to find jobs and are currently both are entrepreneurs. After many years of marriage, Emilys parents divorced. At home, the family speaks both Korean and English, though Ko rean is preferred by her parents. Therefore, Emily speaks Konglish (i.e ., the mixed use of Korean and English in the same dialogue) with her parents most of time. Emily attended public schools during elem entary and secondary education. She transferred to a new elementar y school when she was in 4 th grade and pursued her middle and high schools in the same area. S he is Christian and used to go to a KoreanAmerican church, however she does not go to church anymore since going to college. She lives at her parents house and commutes to school. During her early college years, Emily developed social friendships through a ssociating with Korean American church members and becoming involved with Asian American associations (e.g., ChineseAmerican Association, Korean-American Associ ation), but she eventually developed her own group of friends to hang out. She is now dating inter-racially. Currently, she is a junior in history. 57

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Judys Background Judy was born in the United States. Her parents finished high school in Korea. They came to the U.S. 22 years ago and se ttled in New York City. They moved to Florida when Judy was in 2 nd grade. She has a sister who is one year younger than her and a 5-year-old sister as well. At home, her family speaks both Korean and English, though Korean is more preferably used by her parents. Therefore, Judy also speaks Konglish with her parents most of the time. She attended elementary, middle and high school in the same area in Florida. During elementary school, Judy was in t he ESOL program (English for Speakers of Other Languages) until 3 rd grade because she could not s peak English. After gaining English proficiency, she took gifted classe s until middle school. In high school, she took honors and AP classes. Judy developed her soci al friendships with various groups of students. She hung out with Asians, Whites, and Hispanics. She really likes Spanish cultures, including the language and salsa dancing. Judy is identified as the Asian girl who speaks Spanish by her friends. She is dating interracially now. Currently, Judy is a senior in linguistics with minor in histor y and sustainability studies in college. She graduated in spring 2012. Alexs Background Alex was born in the United States. Her parents went to college in Korea. They came from Korea when they were in their early 30s and her mother was an international student when she came to the United States. Her parents did not speak English very well. Alexs primary languag e is Korean because she could not speak English until she was 6 years old. At hom e, Alex's family speaks both Korean and 58

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English, though Korean is mo re preferably used by her parents. Since she speaks Korean very fluently, Alex speaks Kor ean most of time to her parents. Alex has a little sister who is in 12 th grade and about to graduat e. Alex went back to Korea to attend kindergarten, but return ed to America for elementary school. She started going to private elementary school, and changed to public school when she was in 2 nd grade. During high school, she went to three different high schools. Most schools she attended were predominately Caucasia n and had only a few Asians. Alex took gifted classes until middle school. In high school, she took honors, AP classes, and gifted classes. Alex developed her social friendships mostly with Korean Americans. Currently, she is a junior in food science. Marys Background Mary was born in Korea and came to t he United States when she was five years old with her parents and younger sister. First, her mother came to th e United States by herself to finish her PhD at university of North Carolina for environmental engineering studies, and then other family members came to the United States to be with mother. They settled in North Carolina for educational purposes, because her parents were working on post-doc programs at the University of North Carolina. They moved to Florida when Mary was in high school. Du ring middle and high school, Mary met many Asian populations because the places where she lived were academic research areas that naturally exposed her to a very diverse group of people. At home, the family speaks both Korean and English, though Korean is preferred by her parents. Therefore, Mary also spea ks Konglish with her parents most of time. During high school, she took AP classes and was in the honors program. She was in the National French Honor Society, the Nati onal Honor Society, and Mu Alpha Theta (a 59

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math honor society). Mary developed her soci al friendships with various groups of students. During sophomore year, she joined Asian-American asso ciations, including the Korean-American Association. She also became involved with a Korean church group and hung out with many Asians who spoke English as a primary language. Currently, she is a junior in economics and political science in college. Graces Background Grace was born in Korea. Her parents came to the U.S. for university degrees and were sent to London for a research project for one year. After their time in London, Grace and her family went back to Korea. When she was five years old, her family came to the U.S. again for her dads doctora l degree. Once his degree was completed, they moved to city of Tampa for her dad s permanent job and settled there. At home, Grace speaks both Korean and English, yet Kor ean is more preferred by her parents. Therefore, she speaks Korean wit h her parents most of time. Grace went to private Chri stian kindergarten and later mo ved to public elementary school. In addition, she went to an academically famous high school and studied very rigorously to meet school expectations. Du ring high school, Grace was in the IB program and placed at the top of her class. Her school popul ation consisted of a White majority; however, there also were academically successful minority students and a multicultural environment. Grace developed her social friendships through certain groups including Korean-American church members and Asian-American associations (i.e. Chinese-American association, Kor ean-American Association) during early college years. She, eventually, developed her own group of friends outside of these groups. She is currently dating a Korean-Americ an. Grace is a senior in psychology. 60

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Table 3-1. Demographic of participants Participant Gender Scholastic year Academic major Religion Primary language Place of birth Emily Female Junior History Christianity English United States Judy Female Senior(graduate) Linguis tics Christianity English United States Alex Female Junior Food Science Christianity English/ Korean United States Mary Female Junior Economics /Political Science Christianity English Korea Grace Female Senior(graduate) P sychology Christianity English/ Korean Korea Data Collection I conducted two rounds of in-depth semi st ructured interviews with each participant as the primary data gathering tool. An info rmed consent was signed in advance of the interview (Appendix B). Participants were to ld the purpose of the study, the research methodology, and potential benefits and risks. In addition, they were informed of their confidentiality right and the right to withdraw from the study at anytime. I conducted an in-depth initial interview based on an in terview protocol developed based on the research questions (Appendix C). The benefit of the interview protocol is that it makes sure that the interviewer/evaluator has ca refully decided how best to use the limited time available in an interview situation (Patton, 2002, p.343). In the first round of interviews, I tried to follow the intervie w guide to closely approach research questions within limited time, while rema ining flexible so that parti cipants had more opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences. The first interview was designed to identify aspects concerning participants bicultural identity. Phinney and Devich-Navarro (1997)s t heoretical framework allowed me to look closely at bicultural experiences Thus, the first interview guide is focused on 61

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how Korean American female students perceive two different sets of beliefs and values and negotiate them. The protocol also reflects gender issues suggested from transnational feminism as a theoretical per spective in this study. Transnational feminism, which is also connected to bicultura lism, provides a lens with which to explore gender inequality originat ed from traditional cultural valu es. Based on this perspective, questions include prompts on gender issues in different social institutions such as home, ethnic community, and campus. For the first interviews, I asked twel ve open-ended questions and each interview lasted approximately 60-90 minutes. The inte rview started with warm up questions on their educational backgrounds and family relations hips in order to build rapport, so that the in-depth interview could be fostered natur ally (Patton, 1990). All interviews were tape-recorded. Following the interview, I t ook notes to describe my feelings and impressions. After each interview was concluded, I transcr ibed and analyzed it immediately to prepare for the second in terview using theoretical sampling. Theoretical sampling is meant to devel op the researchers theory (Charmaz, 2003, p.325). The purpose of theoretical sampling is to gain rich additional data to fill theoretical gaps between themes and categories, and it is conducted after preliminary findings are established. I conducted follow up interviews based on theoretical sampling (Appendix D). Theoretical sampling consisted of follow up questions on preliminary findings that developed from the first intervie w. For example, facing intergenerational conflict is a code developed after the first ro und of analysis, so I asked some additional questions in the second interview in order to explore facing intergenerational conflict further. In particular: 62

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Last time we discussed dual cultural lives and you were saying you struggled because of cultural gaps wit h your parents during high school and even college years. Could you give me some examples? I would like to know more detail about what happened to you and how did you feel. How did you deal with your challenges? What did you learn from those experiences? Follow-up interviews lasted approximately 60 minutes. Additionally I also conducted member checking after developing categories to establish validity (Appendix E). First I explained how findings emerged and how each ca tegory was interpreted in the study. Then I asked participants what they though t about the interpretations. In addition, I offered participants the opportunity to review their personal background information that I used in the study, as well as my inte rpretations and chosen quotations from their interviews. Each participant was compensated with a $20 gift card to a coffee company. The individual interview ex periences are described next. Emilys First Interview I conducted the first interview at the libra ry studying room on Friday, February 10, 2012. She was recommended as a participant for this study by a mutual friend, and she was willing to be interviewed. In order to establish rapport, we shared personal backgrounds and exchanged small talk. Her primary language is E nglish, but she wanted to speak and practice Korean, so we spoke Korean except during the actual interview. Even during the interview, she used some Korean words (e.g., tae-mong, toul-toul-hae) to bette r explain what she was trying to say. The interview lasted 75minutes. Emily was very excited to answer the interview questions in general; however she seemed hesitant to answer some particular questions (e.g., intergenerational conflicts, gender imbalance in Korean cultures), primarily because she had never thought about t he issues deeply. After finishing the 63

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interview, I asked her feelings about this interview. She was glad to participant because it allowed her to more openly think about her two cultural values. She referred other Korean-American female students for this study. Emilys Second Interview I conducted the second interview at the lib rary studying room on Thursday, April 19, 2012. Since it was exam study week, we reserved a room for 2 people on 4 th floor, which was very quiet and comfortable place to interview. She was waiting at the library main door for this second interview and greeted me in Korean. Before we started the interview, we chatted about her summer inte rnship and future plans in Korea. The interview was conducted in English and lasted 62 minutes. During this second interview, she seemed to be more comfortable with me and my questions. She answered well, without hesitance or ambiguity. After finishin g the interview, she said that she was satisfied with this second interview becaus e she enjoyed thinki ng about the question, Who am I? She was exciting about the th ird interview and was willing to conduct the last interview over the summer. Emilys Final Interview I conducted the final interview after Emily came back to start the semester. For this interview, I reserved the library studyi ng room on Tuesday, August 21, 2012. Later, the time of a meeting was changed at her request due to a personal matter. However, I could not interview her at this time and place because the library was closed when we got there. Since it was too late to go elsewhere, we sat down on a bench nearby and started the interview. It was very quie t, so I was able to interview Emily without interruption. The interview lasted 35minutes. 64

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During this final interview, I explained my findings and how bicultural theory was developed. She was very exciting about findings and asked me about detailed information regarding bicultural theory. In addition, she shared her thoughts and suggested her ideas to clarify what I found. Because this interview was more focused on member checking, I gave her an opportunity to review my interpretations and quotations that I used. She agreed with the interpretations and did not find any issues with the quotations. After finishing this final interview, she indicated that she was very glad to participate because it was a good opport unity for her to think deeply about her identity and her cultural life. Judys First Interview I conducted the first interview at the libra ry studying room on Thursday, February 16, 2012. One of the ot her participants referred Judy and I sent the brief summary of the study to her. She was willing to participate in the study and excited about the topic. In order to establish rapport, we engaged in small talk. We spoke Korean, even though she was more comfortable to speak English. However, the interview was conducted in English and she was glad about that. The interview lasted 57 minutes. I began with a brief introduction of myself and the purpose of the study. I then followed with the interview protocol in order to pursue the purpose of study. During the interview, she actively answered questions and shared her thoughts and experiences. Sometimes she asked questions repeatedly when she did not understand well. After finishing the interview, she was exciting about the fi ndings and willing to participate the second interview, even though she was graduating. J udy promised to me she would participate the second interview unless she mov ed to another state for her job. 65

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Judys Second Interview I conducted the second interview at the lib rary studying room on Thursday, April 20, 2012. For this second interview, I se t up the schedule on April 19, 2012, however we could not meet at that ti me due to her work, so we rescheduled for Thursday, April 20. Luckily, despite the University's final exam period, we were able to book the studying room for this interview. The room was very quiet, so I could record our interview without any interruption. The inte rview lasted 52 minutes. During this second interview, I felt we were closer and friendly, compared to the last time because we had already established rapport to a certain point through the first interview. Judy seemed to be more confident to talk about the topic bec ause the questions were familiar to her and she already thought about cultural identity since last time. She talked more comfortably without ambiguity during this second interview. After a little more small talk, in English this time, I conducted the interview, also in English. Upon completion of the second interview, she was really exciting about fi ndings and asked me if she could read the results later. In addition, she promised me that she could participate the finial interview over the summer. Overall, she was satisfi ed with this second interview and was glad to have an opportunity to think about cultural identity more deeply. Judys Final Interview I conducted Judys final interview after s he came back in town for the beginning of classes. Although she had graduat ed the previous spring semester, she has remained in town. For this final interview, Judy suggested that we go somewhere off campus because of her no longer having a parking pass. For this reason, we arranged to meet at a caf in a book store on Tuesday, August 21, 2012. However, I ended up not 66

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interview her there because of her pers onal reason and so, we conducted the final interview in her car. The interview lasted 37 minutes. During this final interview, I explained my findings and how bicultural theory was developed. Judy was surprised to learn abo ut bicultural theory and was very exciting about the study findings. In addition, she acti vely participated in the member check. Because this interview focused more on mem ber checking, I gave her an opportunity to review my interpretations and quotations. She was very excited about the discussion of outcomes. She read each interpretation and t he quotes that I used very carefully. She agreed with all my interpretations and did not find any problems r egarding the quotation I had chosen. After finishing this final interview, Judy indicated that she was very glad to participate in this study and was happy to talk about bicultural identity. Alexs First Interview I conducted the first interview at the library studying room on Wednesday, February 15, 2012. One of participants referred Alex, and I sent the brief summary of the study to her and set up the schedule. We recognized each other easily at the front door of university's main library. The library room was located the 4 th floor and was very quiet. Before beginning the interview, we talked briefly about cultures, habits, and experiences. We actually became close bec ause we have many things in common, including Korean culture, so this rapport made both me and Alex fe el comfortable and led to a successful interview. Alex spoke Korean very well, and we chatted in Korean before we actually started the first interview in English. The interview lasted 70 minutes. During the first interview, I began with a brief introduction of myself and the purpose of the study. I then followed with t he interview protocol in order to pursue the purpose of study. Alex was interested in the questions because she never shared her cultural 67

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identity with someone deeply. Sometimes, we laughed about a particular element of Korean culture because of our similar experienc es. Overall, Alex was satisfied with this interview and was willing to parti cipate in the second interview. Alexs Second Interview I conducted the second interview at the lib rary studying room on Monday, April 30, 2012. I had had to reschedule several times for her due to her busy work schedule. The library room was located the 2nd floor and was very quiet, so there was no problem recording the interview. The interview was conducted in English and lasted 49 minutes. Before we started the second interview, we talked in Korean about how our semesters were going. During the second interview, I st arted with a brief expl anation of preliminary findings and talked to her about how the questions for second interview were designed. She seemed to be okay with the questions because she was familiar with the topic. Also, she felt the questions were more s pecific and narrow compared to those in the first interview. She satisfied with this inte rview because she had an opportunity to think deeply and share her thoughts. She was willi ng to do the final interview over the summer, even though she had planned a summer trip to Paris. Alexs Final Interview I conducted Alexs final interview on Friday, August 24, 2012. I scheduled the interview on August 23, 2012, however we coul d not meet at that time due to her not feeling well, so we rescheduled for, Augus t 24. I reserved a lib rary room on the 2 nd floor, which was a very quiet and comfortable place to interview. The interview lasted 35 minutes. During the interview, I provided a brief su mmary of findings emerging in my study and explained the theoretical model. Then I asked her about her thoughts on the 68

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findings. She agreed with the findings, though s he asked some questions in order to clearly understand the theoret ical model. She reviewed my interpretations and quotations as well as personal background info rmation that I will use in this study. She agreed with the interpretations and had no issues with her quotations. After finishing this final interview, Alex indicated that she was very glad to participate in this study and she enjoyed working with me. Also, she shared her secret with me. S he had started dating a person, yet she did not tell her mother. She is a little concerned with telling her mother she is dating now because her dating partner is non-Korean American. She asked my opinion on dating non-Korean Americans. We discu ssed this topic for quite a long time after the interview finished. Her life is qui te exciting and she is very happy with her busy college life. Marys First Interview I conducted the first interview at the lib rary studying room on Tuesday, February 21, 2012. Someone I knew recommended her as a participant for this study and she was willing to interview. I set up the schedule and booked a library meeting room. The room was located on the first floor and was ve ry quiet and comfortable. I could record our interview without any interruption. Before we actually started the interview, we engaged in small talk in Korean to estab lish rapport. Although she spoke Korean, she felt more comfortable when she spoke English, so she was glad that she could interview in English. The interview lasted 65 minut es. I began with a brief introduction of myself and the purpose of the study, I then followed with the interview questions in order to pursue the purpose of the study. She was very interested in cultural issues. During the interview, she shared her personal experienc es with me and I felt her emotional hurt while she shared her some cultural experiences. Despite her negative cultural 69

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experiences, she kept a positive attitude and proved optimistic. After finishing the interview, she was very exciting about the results and promis ed to participate the second interview. Marys Second Interview I conducted the second interview in a clas sroom on Friday, April 27, 2012. We were supposed to meet on Monday, April 23, 2012, but due to her busy work schedule, the meeting was moved to Friday. When we me t for this second inte rview at the library on Friday found that our reservation had bee n unexpectedly canceled for some reason. My participant suggested her classroom. Th e room was quiet enough to record, but there was a little echo sound in the classroom it was periodically noisy outside. Before beginning the interview, we talked in Kor ean about light topics such as our daily experiences. The interview lasted 53 minutes. During the second interview, I started wit h a brief explanation of my preliminary findings and talked to her about how the questions for second interview were designed. Then we started the second interview in Eng lish. During interview, we were more focused on her perception and experiences. S he seemed to have more confidence to talk with this topic. She elaborated on what she was talking about last time. After finishing the interview, she was very gl ad that she had participated because she said that it was a good opportunity to think more about cultural diversity and her identity. She also was willing to participate in the final in terview over the summer. After finishing the interview, she continued to study in the classroom for her final exams. Marys Final Interview I conducted Marys final interview on Wednesday, August 22, 2012. I reserved a room on the 2 nd floor of the library which was ve ry quiet and a comfortable place to 70

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interview. The interview lasted 40 minutes. During this interview, I provided a brief summary of findings emerging in my study and explained the theoretical model. Then I asked Mary her thoughts about the findings. She agreed with the new concept. Since this interview focused on member checking, I gave her an opportunity to review her personal background information that I will use in the study, as well as my interpretations and chosen quotations from her interviews. She reviewed all the quotations very carefully. She seemed to dislike what she had said and wanted to change some parts. I asked her what made her uncomfortable. She indicated that her answers were too simple. Then she wanted to change some expressions to explain them more fluently in Englis h. Since her suggestions were to make responses more clear, I allowed her to revise her quotations Again, she reviewed her quotations very carefully and revised them to make them grammatically correct. Then she was finally satisfied with her quotations. A fter finishing this final interv iew, Mary indicated that was very glad to participate in this study and was happy to talk about challenges faced by Korean American women. Graces First Interview I conducted the first interview at the libra ry studying room on Friday, February 24, 2012. One of the participants referred Grace, and I sent the brief summary of the study to her and set up the schedule. The library room was located the 2 nd floor and was very quiet, so there was no any problem regarding recording. Before begi nning the interview, we talked briefly about cultures, habits, and her boyfriend. Grace spoke Korean very well and we chatted easily in Korean before we actually started the first interview in English. 71

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The interview lasted 90 minutes. During t he first interview, I provided a brief introduction of the study and then followed wit h the interview protocol. She seemed to have difficulty responding to some of questi ons, so I asked her feelings about these questions. She said she never thought about Korean and American cultural influences because these two cultures always stay wit h her, just like air she breathes. She had never thought deeply or share her feelings about this topic with anyone before. The interview provided a good opportunity for her to think about who am I? and she was glad about that. The interview ended successfu lly and I believe it was great opportunity to better understand and gain insight to the life of this young Korean-American woman. After finishing the interview, she said she was willing to participate in the second interview. Although she is going to graduate early this semester and has already been admitted to a graduate program at another university, she wanted to interview even though Skype or email. Graces Second Interview I conducted the second interview at the lib rary meeting room on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. I contacted her to set up the time for t he second interview and I got an email from her two weeks later saying I could schedule the interview. The library room was located on the 2 nd floor and was very quiet. Therefore, t here was no issue regarding recording. Before beginning the interview, we talked about her graduation and a new school for a graduate program in Korean. The interv iew lasted 57 minutes. During the second interview, I started with a br ief explanation of pr eliminary findings and talked to her about how the questions for second intervie w were developed. Then we started the second interview in English. During the in terview, she explained her experiences more deeply and elaborated on her ideas, which devel oped from last interview. She seemed 72

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to enjoy talking about this topic more in the second interview. After finishing the interview, she said that she surprised her self with what she was saying because she had never expressed her thought s that deeply and seriously about cultural identity. From the interview, she learned how she understood bi-cultural identity and she was proud of herself and what she believed. She is willing to participate in the final interview, though she is leaving for her graduate progr am Chicago in the summer. She gave a permanent email address for contact later. Ov erall, this interview was successful both for me and my participant. Graces Final Interview For Grace, I conducted the final interview vi a email. Since she is no longer in town due to her graduate program, I co uld not conduct the interview in person. I emailed her on Monday, August 13, 2012 for the final inte rview and explained several options for this interview (e.g., Skype, email, and phone). Since she wanted to review data via email, I sent her the personal background information that I would be using, as well as quotations and interpretations that I will use fo r this study. She shared her feelings and thoughts on all of these. She was very interested to read through everything again. Because she felt everything was as she said during the interview, she indicated that nothing needed to be changed. She also agreed wit h my interpretations. Additionally, Grace shared her thoughts on the in terview experience. She said: The interview experience was overall pre tty positive. I was able to reflect more on how my life circumstances c hanged the way I identify myself. I got to laugh at some things, think over some things, and even regret some things. I was also able to re-evaluat e myself on my progress to discovering my self-identity and also my progress towards certain goals. Grace is busy adjusting to her new campus life and pursuing her academic goals. 73

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Table 3-2. Data collection time line Participant First interview Second interview Third interview (Member checking) Emily February 10, 2012 (75min) April 19, 2012 (62min) Auguest21, 2012 (35min) Judy February 16, 2012 (57min) April 20, 2012 (52min) August 21, 2012 (37min) Alex February 15, 2012 (70min) April 30, 2012 (49min) August 24, 2012 (35min) Mary February 21, 2012 (65min) April 27, 2012 (53min) August 22, 2012 (40min) Grace February 24, 2012 (90min) May 1, 2012 (57min) August 13, 2012 (Email) Data Analysis Grounded theory data analysis was used in this study. Grounded theory was developed by two sociologists, Barney Glas er and Anselm Strauss in the mid-1960s (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). There are several types of grounded theory designs, such as positivist, post positivist, constructivist, objectivist, postmodern, situational, and computer assisted, that have been developed (Charmaz, 2006). In this study, I adopted Charmazs constructivist grounded theor y and its guideline as described below. Glasers version of grounded theory underscores logic, analytic procedures, comparative methods, and conceptual developm ent and assumptions of an external but discernible world, unbiased observer, and di ssevered theory (Charmaz, 2005, p.508). Strauss and Corbins version of grounded theory, on the other hand, addresses meaning, action, and process, consistent with his intellectual roots in pragmatism and symbolic interactionism (p .509). Strauss and Corbin as well as Glaser draw upon objectivist assumptions established in positivism (Charmaz, 2005). Charmaz avoided this positivist grounded theory and developed a more open-ended prac tice of grounded theory (Clake, 2005, xxiii). Constructivist grounded theory assumes that there exists 74

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multiple realities and by mutually intera cting between the researcher and research participants, multiple subjective realit ies are constructed (Charmaz, 2009). Based on Charmazs approach, gr ounded theory provides visible, comprehensible, and replicable processes and procedures (Brant & Charmaz, 2010, p.33). The coding in the grounded theory plays a vital role for researchers to generate emerging themes. Coding is categorizing and summarizing each piece of data by naming segments with a label (Charmaz, 2006) and through this coding, researchers can define what is happening in the data and begin to grappl e with what it means (p.46). There are three phases of coding: open coding, axial coding, and selective coding (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1990; 1998) or Charmazs (2006) initial coding and focused coding. The first step of coding starts with break ing the data into micro level units of meaning by going word-by-word, line-by-line, or incident-to-incident (Charmaz, 2006), and look closely at each meaning unit to se e What is this data a study of?, What category does this incident indicate?, and What is actually happening in the data? (Glaser, 1978, p.57). In particular, lineby-line coding allows the researcher to continuously reexamine the m eaning that is made from the data by asking themselves questions, and identifying gaps and directions in it for the purpose of further focusing subsequent data collection (Charmaz, 2000). The second phase of coding finds frequent and significant codes exposed in the earlier codes, which are then grouped and synthesized (Charmaz, 2006). During this coding, researchers perform more complex strategies such as comparison of si milarities and differences, or finding causes and results, and try to select the most significant categories based on the relationships, 75

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and then develop emerging ideas. The final step of coding is the practice of combining and refining the theory (Struss & Corbin, 1998) Through this final stage, the scheme is reviewed for internal uniformi ty and for gaps in the logic, completing undeveloped and removing excess categories, which validates and refines the theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Grounded theory is based heavily on conc eptual and theoretical analysis. Grounded theory is not about the accuracy of description units (Holton, 2010, p.272). Instead, it is aimed at conc eptual abstraction (p.272). This conceptual abstraction is achieved through two methods: Memo writing and theoretical sampling. Memo writing is characterized as the transitional step of connecting the coding and the first draft of the analysis (Chamaz, 2000). It is the notes on the data, as well as the links between the categories that elevate this continual proce ss to a conceptual level (Holton, 2010). By using constant comparisons, the descriptive level of memo writing can be more abstract and theoretical. Theoretical sampling, which is not intended to increase the original sample sizes, but only to refine ideas, develops emerging ca tegories, making them more definitive and valuable (Chamaz, 2000). Theoretical samp ling is based on emerging concepts from the analysis that display relevance to the developing theory (Straus & Corbin, 1998). Memo writing allows researchers to quickly identify where their research is lacking, as well as parts of their research that need more analysis. By performing theoretical sampling, researchers are able to identify areas that can be studied to help fill the gaps of the findings and to ensure that ever ything is covered adequately (Chamaz, 2006). 76

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Data Analysis in This Study After interviews were transcribed, I star ted the initial coding of data. I read each interview transcript several times before I star ted coding so that I was able to more clearly understand the dat a. I broke the transcripts down line-by-line to find meaning units and gave each segment a name. As Charmaz (2005, 2006) suggested, the initial coding was very descriptive and close to the data. In the second r ound, focused coding, I continually compared and contrasted each init ial code, and attempted to interpret their relationships from various different angles in order to move this descriptive level of coding to the more conceptual level (C harmaz, 2005, 2006). Key categories emerged through this focused coding process. For example, the initial code s of being expected to support siblings, being expected to s upport elderly parents, having pressure for job security, gender role im balance, negative Korean cult ure, and refusing to adopt Korean culture were later fine-tuned as the focused code of preconceived gender role expectations. Another group of initial codes of dating and marriage as critical issue, having certain expectations on dating and ma rriage, and being judged a partner based on Korean culture later developed into the focused code of restricted to social relationships. Another set of initial codes we re similar in nature: body image controlled by parents, body image controlled by Korean community, facing internal struggles, and avoiding gossips. I developed these c odes into the focused code of personal appearance. I interpreted that Korean American female students in this study perceived negative gender expectations, wh ich are particularly relat ed to Korean traditional values. The differences between Korean cult ure and American culture provoked internal struggle. So I combined these three focused codes into a selective code of facing 77

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gender expectations. Other selective codes were developed in a similar manner. As a result, four selective codes in relation to relationships emerged during the analysis, including lack of cross cultural social re lationships, facing racial stereotypes, experiencing power relations, and facing gender expectations. I continually interpreted that Kore an American female students recognized differences between the two sets of cultur al values because they were simultaneously exposed to traditional and mainstream cu ltures. Students perceived strong parental expectations of their social relationships. They felt re stricted in their intimate relationships by their parents. The restri ction of their social lives gave rise to intergenerational conflicts. In addition, these students were aware of racial stereotypes of Asian culture as they interacted with vari ous people. Therefore, these students social relationships were affected by their Korean cu ltural values, their parents expectations, and racial stereotypes. These experiences affe cted their social lives during college. In particular, these Korean American students tended to be very selective about their social relationships (e.g., Korean Americ an) and consequently may have had fewer cross cultural social relationships. A ll aspects hindered thes e Korean American students efforts to integrate into their campus community, and further American society. Therefore, these four selective codes were concept ually categorized as one and named lack of social integration. for theory development. Other focused coding groups also were put into selective coding categories and named forming cultural identity based on en vironment that Korean American belong to, exposing cultural diversity, e xperiencing independenc e, and balancing two cultures to minimize cultural conflicts. These selective themes were continually 78

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compared to look for relationships. I read the data again and re viewed initial and focused codes. Later three selective codes, including forming cultural identity based on environment that Korean American belong to, exposing cultural diversity, and experiencing independence in relation to cultural environments were combined as cultural exposure. Likewise, the selective c ode of balancing two cultures to minimize cultural conflicts was conceptually re-c ategorized as cultural negotiation. Through this analysis process, three key aspects regarding these Korean American students cultural identity emerged for the theor y development: cultural exposure, lack of social integration, and cultural negot iation. I theorized that being bicultural, Korean American students develop their own cultural identity by not only interacting with cultural env ironments that they belong to, but also negotiating their own cultural challenges. More specifically, t hese Korean American student s cultural identity was affected by the primary cultures that they belong to. Thus, assimilating to the school culture was critical for developi ng their identity during high school, while experiencing the independence that is allowe d by the cultural diversity on a college campus was more salient dur ing their college years. In addition, their identity was strengt hened by negotiating their own cultural circumstances. Korean culture contributed to a l ack of social integration to American society and created emotional tensions. However, I found that cultural struggling accompanied actions such as negotiating cultur al challenges. The cultural negotiation in this study refers to integration between two cultures. Therefore, cultural negotiation was identified as another necessity for developing t heir own bicultural identity, and it 79

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allowed them to look closely at their own cultur al circumstances. It influenced these students in developing their own identities as Korean American. While I developed key categories from the fi rst interview, I wrote notes to myself about the process in memos. At the beginning, the memo wa s simple and non-analytic. I just noted emerging ideas and questions I had when I read the data. Then I tried to write analytic notes after starti ng the initial coding, in order to keep track of thoughts and questions I had during the analysis process. I continually wrote memos as I compared each point of data and then revised these notes after preliminary findings started to emerge. After doing two rounds of coding, initial and focused, and writing memos about the process and findings, I sorted my me mo notes to discover relationships among categories. From there I developed preliminary findings. However, I identified some theoretical gaps among cat egories. For instance, the category of having sense of independence emerged as a category in the first interview, yet it was not clearly identified. I felt I needed more data to identify this theme. In order to gain additional information about ca tegories and fill in some theoretical gaps, I conducted a second interview utilizing theoreti cal sampling. All questions in the second interviews were based on preliminary findings. For example, from the pr eliminary findings, I hypothes ized that female Korean American undergraduate student s go through independence during their college years. So I asked each participant additi onal questions based on categories that emerged from focused coding of data from initial interviews. Through theoretical sampling, I was able to obtain more deta iled information on their thoughts regarding cultural identity. The process of analysis of theoretical sampling was applied in the 80

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same way as the first interview. After I analyzed the second interviews, the category of having sense of independence was more clear ly identified and an additional category, confusion associated with i ndependence, emerged. Ultimately, three focused codes, including having sense of independence, confusion associated with independence, and seeking outside help were re-cat egorized as one and named experiencing independence. These categories and three aspects of bicult ural identity development will be explained further in Chapter 4. Member Checking I conducted member checks during the sec ond interview and the final interview. First, I provided participants with a copy of preliminary findings during the second interview. I explained how these prelimi nary findings emerged and how each category was interpreted in the study. Then I asked them what they thought about the interpretations before I started the second interview. Some questions for the second interview were created as a result of doi ng member checking, though most questions were prepared based on preliminary fi ndings to fill theoretical gaps. Most students agreed with my interpretations. However, some participants wanted to more clearly understand some of categor ies. For example, I found students changed their identity in different settings. So I dev eloped a category, chan ging cultural identity to negotiate bicultural life. When I discuss ed this category with my participants, some students were confused with this finding, and so me of them disagreed with this idea. Alex said: I think Im the same either when I m home or out. If Im home Im Korean American; if Im outside Im Korean American so, its just when, I feel like this person probably said something like that because when theyre home theyre by themselves and they dont have to, they think theyre more American because when youre by yourse lf you can identify yourself as 81

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American but when youre out there with everyone else then you probably see yourself as more Korean. I do nt agree with it. I think Im Korean American whether I m home or outside. I found that I needed to explain this category more specifically in order for it to be more specific and easily understood. So my par ticipants and I discussed this category to obtain additional information during the sec ond interview. Then, this category emerged more clearly after I had detailed information from them. For instanc e, initially Mary described her feeling like, If I am home, Im more like American but in public I see myself as more Korean. I discussed this finding with Mary and asked Mary her thoughts about this idea in the second interview. She described her feelings as follows: Yea I guess its like earlier when I said I change based on my surroundings. When Im home even though I feel more American I act more Korean. Actually thats not true, I act the same but I f eel more American. I dont know, I dont think culture issues are that big of a conflict, at least not recently. As a result of the interviews, I thought that participants were acting differently (e.g., I act more Korean) in public than in their home and ethnic community. Then I realized that participants were not changing their iden tity, but switching their behaviors in different settings in order to minimize cultural conflicts. Consequently, I revised the category changing cultural identity to switching cultural behavior. The final interview focused more on mem ber checking to validate the accuracy of interview statements, and I in vited participants to discuss the emerging theory. Since I gave students time to review pr eliminary findings during the previous interview, there were no major revisions to in terpretations or findings. Th rough this final interview, participants had an opportunity to check all personal background information and quotations that I would be using in this study. Also, I introduced the emerging new 82

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theory and explained diagrams with categories. The students i ndicated that they were satisfied with the accuracy of the quotations, and they agreed with my interpretations. However, one participant, Mary, wanted to change her in terview statements. After she reviewed her quotes, she did not like some expressions, such as I dont need to show them [professors] as much respect. She believed that this was not what she intended to say, so she asked to change this quote. The following is her original statement: If I am around a lot of Ko rean elders, I do really sh ow a lot more respect and I try to integrate my Korean cult ure a lot more and attempt to speak Korean and be a lot more polite. If Im around my professor around [University], I dont need to show them as much respect, not that I dont but my body language reflects my surroundi ngs. It just depends on where I am. The following is Marys revised quote: If I am around a lot of Ko rean elders, my body language reflects my Korean culture. I bow in front of them and I am submissi ve in my manner. Also I attempt to speak Korean and be a lo t more polite. If Im around my professor around university, I have the same level of respect but I am be more casual and open with them. My body language changes depending on my cultural surrounding. These two statements are very similar, but second quote more clearly described what she wanted to say, and therefor e gives a stronger explanation of her intent. It is also therefore more supportive of my fi nding, switching cultural behavior. Validity Establishing and applying validity criteria in order to evaluate outcomes are both necessary and critical in qualitative study. Re liability and validity are commonly used as criteria for evaluating quantitat ive study. Reliability is assu med that the same results would be obtained if the study we re replicated and validity is assumed that the results accurately reflect the phenomenon studied (Richards & Morse, p. 190, 2007). Some 83

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scholars argue that qualitative research cannot apply these criteria to evaluate outcomes and therefore they su ggested new criteria for qualitative research (e.g., Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Many qualitative valid ity criteria have been developed during the past 30 years (Mayan, 2009). For this study, I adopted Lincoln and Gubas (1985) validity criter ia for evaluating my work. Lincoln and Guba (1985) proposed four validity crit eria: credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability. However, these validi ty criteria have a limitation in that the idea of these criteria came from traditional positivist assumptions. They translated four quantitative validity criteria (e.g., internal validity, external validity, reliability, dependability) to their alternative validity, which was trustworthiness of naturalistic inquiry (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Nevertheless, Lincoln and Gubas criteria contain important aspects that qualitative researchers should understand regarding ontological and epistemological assumptions of qualitative inquiry, and their outcomes should be applied based on this research paradigm. This study used constructivist grounded theory during analysis and therefore the ontological and epistemological positions of the constructivist perspective were considered while I used these criteria. First, the ontological position of the constructivist view asks, What is there that can be k nown? (Guba & Lincoln, 1989, p.83). From ontologically relativist constr uctivism, there are multiple so cially constructed realities and these realities are not governed by natur al laws (Guba, 1987). This means that there is no single concrete reality (Guba, 1990). Instead, many unique realities exist, as individuals produce their own as a res ponse to their distinct experiences and perspectives (Hatch, 2002). 84

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The epistemological position of the cons tructivist view asks, What is the relationship of the knower to the known? (Guba & Lincoln, 1989, p.83). From epistemologically subjectivist constructi vism, a researcher cannot be separated from research participants (Guba, 1987). Rather, by mutually engaging, they construct multiple subjective realities (Guba & Lincoln, 1982). The researcher continually interacts and communicates with research participants throughout the research process, and by doing so, multiple realities are constructed. Consequently, realities in the constructivist perspective are not created but constructed (Crotty, 1998). Lincoln and Gubas (1985) four criteria are accomplis hed through a variety of means, including prolonged enga gement, member checking, thick description, audit trial, theoretical sampling, and peer review. Credibility associated with internal validity evaluates whether the findings make sense and if they are an accurate representation of participants and/or data (Mayan, 2009, p.102). It can be accomplished through a variety of means, includi ng prolonged engagement, persi stent observation, peer debriefing, negative case analysis, member checking, validation, and co-analysis (Morrow, 2005). To enhance credibility in th is study, I used prolonged engagement, member checking, and peer review. Prolong ed engagement is one of the ways to build up trust with participants (Glesne, 1999). Pr olonged engagement is the investment of sufficient time to achieve certain purposes : learning the cul ture, testing for misinformation introduced by distortions eit her of the self or of the respondents, and building trust (Lincoln & Guba, 1985, p.301). By visiting often and engaging the participants, the researchers are able to establish strong a relationship, as well as to have a chance to obtain extra in-depth sour ces. In my study, I interviewed five 85

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participants two times. Multiple interviews gave me an opportunity to establish close relationships and to allow them to feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts and beliefs. By having multiple interviews, I could obtain credible interview data. Member checking is another common strate gy used by qualitative researchers to evaluate their study. Lincoln & Guba (1985) de scribe the member check, whereby data, analytic categories, interpretations, and conc lusions are tested with members of those stake holding groups from whom the data were originally colle cted, is the most crucial technique for establishing credibility (p.314) The member check shifts the validity procedure from the researcher to the participants (Creswel l & Miller, 2000). Because the epistemological position of the construc tivist perspective desires the mutual engagement between the researchers and partici pates, the member checking is a valuable procedure. By givi ng an opportunity for participants to review quotations and evaluate the interpretation, researcher s and participants can construct meaning together, through which they achieve more a pr ecise interpretation of data. Ultimately, the study can build up credibi lity. In my study, I discussed findings and quotations with participants and gave them a chance to share their thoughts. Findings, as well as any quotations, were reviewed during the second in terview and before the finalization of my codes to ultimate themes. Peer review is characterized as havi ng someone familiar wit h the study of the phenomenon explored review the research process and the data (Creswell & Miller, 2000). It provides researchers with multiple lenses during their analysis process, and helps them to avoid a self-justified attitude while embracing a variety of perspectives so that their study establishes credibility. In my study, I worked with my committee 86

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members continually and used the feedback and comments they offered. Also I shared analysis and findings with other doctoral students who were conducting qualitative studies and offered feedback. Dependability and conformability can be established by auditing (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). The purpose of auditing is to examine both the process and product of inquiry, and determine the trustworthiness of the fi ndings (Creswell & Miller, 2000, p.128). In order to conduct an external audit, a perso n outside of the research is asked to thoroughly review the study, and to then write a report on the studys strengths and weaknesses (Creswell, 2008). It needs docum enting of data analysis as well as data collection in order for outside auditor to revi ew the methodological process of the study. To establish these criteria, I provided detai led explanations of data collection and data analysis process after having methodological feedback from my co mmittee members. Also, the coding trial is included as appendices for potential reader s to review this document. Additionally, I offer ed my subjectivity statement in the chapter so that readers can have an opportunity to consider the influence of my experiences on my interpretation of the data. For the establishment of transferability, the naturalist cannot specify the external validity of an inquiry; he or she can provi de only the thick description necessary to enable someone interested in making a transfe r to reach a conclusion about whether transfer can be contemplated as a possibility (Lincoln & Guba, 1985, p.316). To establish transferability in the study, the researcher offers adequate information including the researcher, the research contex t, as well as the process, participants, and relationships between the researcher and par ticipants, in order for the reader to 87

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determine how the findings of the research may transfer (Morrow, 2005). In my study, I am less interested in generalizability because I believe that my findings cannot be directly applied to other minorities from di fferent contexts. However, I provided a full description of the participants and I described the data colle ction and analysis process in detail in order to help potential readers better understand this study and guide educators who are interested in divers ity issues in higher education. Subjectivity Statement I was born and spent my childhood and adolesc ence in Korea. My way of life was influenced by the expectations of both Korean society and family, which were controlled by Confucius ideology. From these sources I learned my roles and responsibilities as a daughter and as a woman. There was no uncerta inty as I attempte d to define myself. After I came to the United States, I was not confused because I knew who I was, and what I was supposed to do. I identified m yself as a Korean woman who had a strong cultural heritage, and I attempted to express my cultural values through the celebration of Korean traditional holidays, cooking Korean food, and s peaking Korean. I lived as a Korean in American society. After having a child, the bicultural issue bec ame more salient to my life. As a firstgeneration mother who was bor n in Korea and influenced strongly by Koran culture, I will raise my daughter as a Korean; however, I al so know that she will naturally grow up as an American. She might be faced with ci rcumstances related to her race and ethnicity, and find it difficult to identify and resolve her own identity. Navigating a bicultural identity may make it difficult fo r her to live in American society. She could embrace and integrate both cult ural heritages and develop her own positive identity, yet she could also struggle with the conflict bet ween her identities and reject her Korean 88

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cultural values. If I cannot understand my daughters circumstances, I cannot help her. This concern has prompted my study of Korean American female students. Second-generation Korean wom en are heavily influenced by their parents beliefs and by Korean culture. Though, at the same time, they also develop an American cultural identity as American women. While both cultural identities can be reconciled, Korean American female students may be fa ced with psychological, academic, and social challenges, even though society has a positive image of these students. Today, Asian American students live wit h stereotypes. Most stereotypes result from Asian cultural values, which have some opposite aspec ts of western cultural heritages. Many Korean American colle ge students are not immune to ster eotypes and cultural conflicts, and struggle with feeling invisible on campus In some sense, college students are perceived as mature individuals; however, t hey are still immature young adults who need help developing their own life. The college period plays a vital role for some second generation Asian students to prepare for being members of a diverse American society. In other words, campus is a bu ffer zone for these college students to learn cultural diversity and establish their own iden tity. Unfortunately, many college students continually struggle wit h their cultural circumstances without educational help. In order to support them, understanding their life is critical and providing knowledge is necessary. I feel that it is necessary to encourage college and university administrators to recognize the circumstances of As ian American college students, so that administrators can consider the various challe nges that face these different populations when they design support programs. 89

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My experiences as a Korean, a mother and a woman who has developed my own unique perspectives, this has led me to want to understand Korean American female undergraduate students experiences deeply. I hope that this qualitative study can help educators to understand Asian American fe male students with more empathy and insight. Limitations There are some limitations in this st udy that the reader should take into consideration. As a qualitative researcher, I am less interested in the generalizability of my study. Even though I developed a new theor y on Korean American women students from my study, it cannot be directly appli ed to Korean women students from different colleges and universities or other ethnic women students. Potential participants cannot be representative of all Kor ean American or all Asian Amer ican women college students due to their uniqueness. However, my study would guide and support future researchers, who are interested in a st udy pertaining to Asian American women students, as they design their own res earch and develop research questions. Also, interview data is sometimes limit ed in understanding participants whole experiences. Conversation frequently is a ffected by unexpected factors such as participants emotions or discomfort in t he interviews. Although I tried to establish rapport before data collection, it would be limit ed with, as the participants are being asked to share their life experiences wit h a researcher. In addition, because the interview is audio recorded, transcriptions may not be fully reflected non-verbal communication displayed, and consequently I ma y miss some meaningful reactions that my participants provide. To overcome this limitation, detailed not e-taking accompanied the interview recording. 90

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CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS This study aims to understand how Ko rean American female undergraduate students construct their own cultur al identities from their pers pectives. More specifically, this study sought to examine how thes e students negotiated and developed their bicultural identities. Findings from the study provide a lens with which to view Korean American women who develop their ident ities within both Korean and American cultures. Overview of Findings The interpretation of findings is guided by Phinney and Devich-Navarros (1997) bicultural theory and transnational feminism. These two theoretical lenses provided an opportunity to understand ways of integrati on between two distinct cultures under circumstances of gender inequality within tradi tional Korean values, and ultimately the development of bicultural identity. Transnational femini sm allowed me to better understand how Korean American female students may struggle with cultural oppression and how gender inequality persists through various social institutions such as ones household and religious community. Fr om this study, parti cipants are strongly affected by Korean cultural values from their parents and community, yet their Korean cultural values are often perceived by thes e women students negatively. In particular, these students suffered from emotional struggles when they perceived traditional gender expectations within traditional Kor ean values controlling their social life. However, they negotiated these and other cu ltural circumstances and developed their own cultural identity. 91

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Phinney and Devich-Navarro (1997) suggested that individuals are either blended bicultural or alternating bicultural. Acco rding to Phinney and Devich-Navarro, blended biculturals have positive fee lings about being American as well as a strong sense of their ethnicity. Thus, they identified themselves as equally ethnic and American, though the sense of being American is more salie nt for these students in developing their bicultural identity. In contra st, alternating bicultural indi viduals alter their identity in different social contexts such as their school or home. T hese individuals have a strong sense of connectedness to their ethnic cult ure while simultaneou sly having a positive feeling of the American culture. In this study, participants were identified as blended bicultural during their college years, in that they considered their two cultures as equally valuable and established their cultural identity wit h these two cultures. Figure 4-1 presents the model that emerged from the data in this study. The model illustrates the way of acquiri ng a bicultural identity by participant Korean American female students. From the st udy, the cultural Identity of the Korean Americans is affected by cultural exposure. In this regard, their identity was affe cted by 1) cultural environments that they belong to, 2) exper iencing independence from parents, and 3) being exposed to ethnic diversity. During the high school years, these Korean American female students did not perceive a necessity to critically explore their identity because they were relatively little exposed to cultural identity issues at th is time. As a result, these students did not have an opportunity to deeply understand Who am I? Instead, they were more likely to develop an identity in order to assimilate to the primary culture that they belong to. As a result, Korean American students in this study identified 92

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themselves as either Asian (Korean) or American, depending on how much they were exposed to their ethnic culture or to the American culture. However, participants identified themselves biculturally as Korean American during their college years. These students not only obtai ned physically independent status as they move out from their parents house for colle ge attendance, but also were expected to grow as independent women Experiencing independe nce allowed these women students to separate them selves from drastic influence of traditional cultural values from their parents, and gave them an opportunity to develop their own thoughts. Students with a sense of independence had more opportunities to make their own decisions and thus to creat e their own cultural perspectives, though they faced confusion caused by the drastic change fr om being controlled to being independent. Since most participants were separated from their parents while in college, as they learned to grow as an interdependent person, they began to look closely at their own cultural circumstances and crit icize negatively perceived cult ural differences with their own thoughts and beliefs. During the college years, Korean American participants were more exposed to a culturally diverse environment. They were aware of multiculturalism as salient when participating in various campus activities (e.g., class discussion, Asian undergraduate student organizations, etc.) in which students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds were involved. These students then sought to answer the question, Who am I? while they interacted with others on campus. Ex periencing ethnic diversity in college contributed to these women actively explor ing their own cultural identities. Their simplistic views of race became more sophist icated. As a result, participants clearly 93

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identified themselves as Korean American rather than si mply Korean or American as during their high school years. The cultural Identity of the Korean Americans was also affected by their own challenges. These students developed their own perspectives on identity by looking closely at their own cultural circumstances. In this regard, ther e are four identified categories: 1) facing gender expectations, 2) exper iencing power relations, 3) facing stereotypical image of Asians, and 4) lack of cross cultural social relationships. In particular, the subcategory of facing gender expectations includes three key aspects: preconceived gender role expectations, rest ricted social relationships, and personal appearance. For example, Korean American women participant s perceived distinctions between their home culture and mainstream cult ure. At home, they frequently faced negative gender expectations caused by traditional values. Specifically, these students as women struggled with preconceived gender role expectations, restricted social relationships (e.g., intimate partn er), and body image and physical appearance messages from their parents and ethnic comm unity. In addition, these students were faced with intergenerational c onflicts often caused by hierarchical relationships. As a result they experienced internal conflicts with their parents. Outside home, Korean American participants struggled with their racial image. Although Asian stereotypes affected their lives positively to some extent due to their model minority image (e.g., academic success) these students felt fr ustrated when they felt they were considered foreigners by the mainstream. Experi ences of cultural distinction and racial bias discouraged thes e women students from developing cross cultural relationships. Young Korean American women in this study felt more 94

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comfortable with Asian Americans or specifically Korean Americans with whom they could share their cultural values and t heir cultural struggles. Consequently, these students were very selective and limited in their social rela tionships during their college years. All of these aspects hindered these Korean American students efforts to integrate into their campus comm unity, and further American society. However, looking at their own challenges allowed these students to learn where they stood as a bicultural i ndividual between two cultures and how they were able to negotiate their dual cultural lifestyle. Therefore, the bicultural Identity of the Korean American students was strengthe ned by negotiating their own cultural circumstances. Cultural negotiation included five aspects: 1) managing cultural conflicts with parents, 2) overcoming struggles related to religious beliefs, 3) making up for negative cultural values, 4) switching cultural behaviors, and 5) maintaining their ethnic language. This study found that Korean Americ an students did not ignore thei r own cultural struggles. Instead, they tried to negotiate their challenges in their own ways and thus strengthened their own bicultural identity. In order to integrate their two cultures, Korean Americans in this study learned to use their own perspectives to overcome in tergenerational conflicts rather than just obeying their parents opinions, so that they could learn to maintain healthy relationships with others. Also, these st udents learned to overcome the cultural challenges through their religious beliefs. In particular, Korean ethnic church played a critical role for these women to better understand their Korean values and community. Moreover, young Korean Americans in this study enhanced cultural values in their daily lives based on what they wanted to adopt from both American and Korean cultures. 95

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More specifically, these students enhanced posit ively-perceived values of one culture to make up for negative aspects of the other cultur e in their lives. In addition, they often switch their cultural behaviors within different settings in order to decrease cultural conflicts. Also, these Korean Americans ma intained Korean language fluency or spoke Konglish (i.e., the mixed use of Korean and E nglish in the same dialogue) to better communicate with other Koreans who lack English proficiency, thus creating another bicultural bridge. More details of each of these themes will be presented in the following section. Figure 4-1. Theoretical model: Korean Am erican students bicultural identity development Cultural Exposure The cultural Identities of the Korean American students in this study are affected by their cultural environments. Participant students cultural belonging is affected by 1) their immediate cultural environments, 2) experiencing independence, and 3) being exposed to ethnic diversity. During high school, school culture discouraged these 96

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students from critically thinking about their identity. They ident ified themselves either as Americans or Asians/Koreans, depending on how much they were exposed to their ethnic culture or to American cu lture. In other words, thes e students assimilated to the primary culture that they belonged to. Howeve r, their cultural identity became more salient and sophisticated as these students were exposed to more culturally and ethnically diverse environments in college. In essence, campus culture gave these students an opportunity to develop thei r own perspectives and experience independence so that they might enhance thei r identity as Korean American. For these students, the bicultural identity was not sa lient during high school years; instead, it emerged and developed as they attended college. The following section describes how cultural environments affected the identity of these Korean American students, and how their bicultural identity emerged during their college years. Cultural Environments Affecting Identity Most participants in this study did not per ceive a necessity to explore or challenge themselves or their identities during their hi gh school years. Their experiences revolved around parental supervision, their daily r outines, and accomplishing academic goals, with little exposure to cultural identity issues. Emily discu ssed how hard it was to think about cultural identity during high school. She said: If you are really enlightened at that age [during high school] then more power to you. I think thats great w hen you start to challenge your roots at that age, but not a lot of people do becaus e its not a topic that comes up in high school. There arent a lot of brown bag lunch series, or discussions or lectures of people challeng ing your view points or challenging you or your moral stances in high school because ev erything really seems like a rigid curriculum and people are just trying to get from high school to college. Emily identified herself as Korean duri ng high school. Although she lived within two cultures at that time, neither the American nor the Korean culture was more salient or 97

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significant in her identity during high school Because her school life was reutilized and predictable, she did not feel any need to expl ore her cultural identity. Emily perceived herself as Korean simply because she was hangi ng out with more Koreans at the time. Like Emily, other Korean American participa nts did not have a need to challenge their cultural identity during their high school years. Their cultural identity during this time is often developed in order to assimilate to the primary culture that they belong to. Grace identified herself as Asian. She mainly hung out with di fferent ethnic Asians (e.g., Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese) during high school. Be cause the IB program at her high school had students from various Asian backgrounds, she naturally gravitated towards them and spent most of her time wi th them. Similarly, Alex developed her friendships with whoever was in my class during high school. However, because there were not many Asian students in her school, she had social relationships within the various racial peer groups in her classroom. In this case, race was not a prevalent issue in developing her social relationships and she was able to develop friendships with students from a variety of racial backgrounds. As a result, she mo re closely identified herself as American, yet she still perceived Korean aspects of her identity. Alex identified herself as Americ an during high school. Because she was the only Korean in her school, resources for learning about Korean society were very limited. This limitation discouraged Alex from developing her Korean identity, even though she experienced aspects of Korean culture through her parents. Alex said, I didnt really think about needing to show that I was Korean [during high school]at times it was hard to express that I was Korean because other people dont under stand what that meant[so] I didnt have to talk about it at school. 98

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Experiencing Independence from Parents Korean American participants were expected to become independent as they attended college. These students not only obt ained physically independence as they move out from their parents house to go to college, but also were expected to grow as independent women Experiencing independence made it possible for these women students to separate themselves from the drastic influence of traditional cultural values from their parents, and gave them an opportunity to develop their own thoughts, make decisions, and take responsibility for those decisions. Consequently they created their own cultural life during their college years. In a sense, th is experience contributed to feelings of confusion during early colle ge years because of t he drastic change from being controlled by their parents up until that point. To be successfully independent, these Korean American st udents sought outside support The following section described how Korean American participants obtained independence from their parents and developed their own perspectives. Having a sense of independence These young Korean American women experienced less parental control and more independence after leaving their parents houses to attend college. Establishing trust as they became independent was crucia l for these students because their parents did not trust them and would not let them do things on their own during high school. However, these parents allowed their child ren to live on their own and supported them during college. They accepted that their children were growing into independent individuals, rather than tryi ng to maintain the same amount of control and authority. Therefore, some participants perceived that their parents influence on their life changed during their college years. Gr ace realized that her parents gave her room to grow 99

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independently and took her own decisions into consideration when she went to college. She perceived that her parents role became more to support and guide than direct during her college years. She said: The really weird thing is that after I left to college I thought they [my parents] would be really strict and tell me when to come home or do this or do that. But they told me that they trusted me to make my own decisions. So like with money they trust that I would manage it well and social life, they trust that I would manage myself well and not do stupid things like do drugs or something like that. Yea, its been str ange but I think Im re ally thankful for them entrusting me. Similarly, Emily also appreciated that her parents regarded her as an independent person when she went to college. She had struggled emotionally with her parents due to their tight control over her social life during high schoo l. However, her feelings changed as her parents grew to support her, sayi ng, You really need to pick whatever you want to do in life and well support you. However, in some cases, the parents authority remained unchanged even though t hese Korean American female students were in college. Yet, in these cases, the c ontrol shifted to new areas. Alex described the different types of parental control. She said: In high school the parents control was mo re on different things. She, right now in college, parents control is lik e Oh, what do I need to do in the future, where do I need to live in the future, when I need to get married. But in high school it was like Where do I need to go to college, what time do I need to come home. Nonetheless, parental authorit y during college in some ways was more flexible. The control changed into coaching in cert ain areas, but at the same time, these students were allowed to be independent and the parents authority was more moderate. In other words, controlling behaviors were minimized and more flexibility was offered. Mary perceived that her par ents influenced her academic pursuits even during college. Because her parents obtained their doctoral degrees in the U.S., they 100

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were able to advise her on how to choose an academic major, and eventually achieve self-sufficiency through her own decisions. However, Mary did not always follow the advice that her parents offered because, she said, Im getting older, getting to a point where Im going to start making my own decisi ons in my life. Marys parents tried to influence her academic decisions, yet they al so considered Marys personal growth and respected her decisions. She said: I live with my parents and theyre in the sa me town. So they still put a lot of pressure on some of my academics and es pecially what I want to do for my future. At the same time, they also have become a lot more lenient. They give me more flexibility on what I can do. Confusion associated with independence Because these Korean American participant s were given at least some measure of freedom from their par ents authority while attendi ng college, they were then expected to be independent and do well in college on their own. However, it was difficult for some of these women to be independent successfully during their early college years due to the drastic change from being contro lled by their parents up until that point. They did not know how to be an independent person in college. Marys early college years started with some questions: What do I want to do?, Where do my morals stand?, and Am I going to go out and drink or be responsible? Because her parents were no longer watching over her for the most part, she had to make her own decisions about certain things related to her college life. Grace also had a similar experience during her early college years. She recalled: Freshman year I had a really hard ti me adjusting, because I was always under my parents authority, they told me what to do and how to do certain things, and then not having that suddenly, I realized I didnt know how to make my own decisions, because I was just always obedient, I didnt know what to do with myself. That affe cted me academically because they 101

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werent there to tell me to study. I had a hard time; I didnt make very good grades freshman year. Some of the Korean American participants who experienced less parental control over their academic life missed their parents authority. Emily experi enced both control and freedom from her parents dur ing her high school years. Like other Korean American participants, her social life was controlled by her parents, but she also experienced less parental control of her aca demic life. Although she appreciated that her parents gave her freedom academically compared to other Korean American parents during high school, she wished that her parents had taken more control of her academic life. Even though she was less c ontrolled by her parents during her high school years, she still struggled with adjustment during her early college years. She said: I wish they [my parents] had more control over the greater goals in my life. I wish they had challenged me more to r eally dig deeper into myself to know what I really want to do in the future. Because they gave me so much freedom, I feel that when I went to co llege, I was lost academically where I want to go in lifetheir [my friends] parents kinda implement ideas, say [my friends] parents went to college for th is and they studied that, then the kids is going to college to study the same th ing so they had that model. For me they [my parents] wanted me to explore that. So, w hen I came to college it was kind of a struggle to find what my purpose was in college. Emilys feelings of wishing her parent s had controlled her academic life more were different from what other women participants perceived. However, all these women students felt that they struggl ed, even though their parents dealt with their lives differently. These students tr ied to overcome their struggles and become independent. To be successfully independent, some of the Korean Americans in this study actively sought outside advice. First they wanted to have advice from their 102

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parents. However, they felt that it was difficult to receive advice from their immigrant parents because thei r parents knew relatively little about the American educational system. Judy perceived her other American friends as having rich prior knowledge and obtaining educationa l information continually from their parents. Because their parents were fa miliar with the educational system, her peers learned what to do to be successf ul during their early college years. However, Judy could not expect academic or social advice from her parents because, My parents dont know how t he school system work here, like my parents never finished, my mom finished hi gh school, but they didnt really have a good education. So thats why they don t really give me advice. Therefore Judy obtained resources informally by interacting with people nearby. She said, Mostly all information was from peers but some of information was like from church. Likewise, Alex had same situation getting advice from her parents. She said, [My mom] went to college in Korea but she doesnt know anything about the American school system. It would be pointless to ask her because she doesnt know what to do. Alex also gai ned resources for her academic life from other people. She said, I a sked people that I know who were really successful in school. Similarly, Grace garnered tips for her college life through her informal interactions with people. She said, Socially I had to figure out a lot of things on my own. So I just learned through my interactions with friends, some older people telling me giving me advice. To overcome their struggles, these students 103

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used their relationships with others rat her than their parent s or professional academic support provided by the college. Being Exposed to Ethnic Diversity Korean American students in this study we re more exposed to culturally and ethnically diverse environments during thei r college years than during high school. College became a turning point for these wom en in developing their bicultural identity. These female students were enriched by new cultural experiences on campus, and began thinking about Who am I? within the diverse cultural environment in college. Alex was surprised when she found many Koreans on campus. She described her feelings: Ive never been around that many Koreans. It seem s to be less pressure and less awkward because you are not the only one that is Korean American. She felt more comfortable than she had been in high school and found more similarities than with her non-Korean peers. This m ade her identify more deeply with her Korean culture. The college environment gave Alex an oppor tunity to separate herself from her automatic attachment to the ma in culture, and allowed her to develop her own cultural identity as a Korean American. Likewise, Emily started thinking about her cultural identity deeply during her college years. She said, I really challenged to be like, I need to find out who I am and really ground myself in myse lf before I can do other things like finding a job, or dating somebody or thinking about the future in general. College life gave Emily an opportunity to grow as a person, and address inner challenges such as, Who am I?, How do I fit in society?, and Where do I stand as a Korean American? Similarly, Mary identified herself as Asian during high school. For her, cultural identity did not matter then. However, when she went to co llege she began thinking critically about her 104

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own cultural identity. Exploring diverse cultur es allowed her to navi gate her own cultural identity. She said: I really had to think about my identity and really go through a time period where its like self discovery. I took a genuine interest in my own culture and really questioned who I was and how do people see me and just seeing the diversity among even the Asian American culture. It made me realize how different every one of us are. Even how ignorant I was before to think all these cultures could be assimilated into one type case of culture. In some ways, these Korean American women had simplistic views of race during their high school years. As Mary said, they just saw people as White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian. However, the concept of cultur al identity became more sophisticated as these Korean American female students experienced cultural diversity on their college campus. They differentiated themselves from the larger American cult ure, Asian culture, and even Korean culture (e.g., European Am ericans, Chinese Americans, and native Koreans). For example, Judy identified herself as Korean during high school. Because she was strongly involved in her Korean church and developed her social relationships with Korean church members, t here was no doubt that she wa s Korean. Now in college, Judy does not say that she is Korean any more because she realized that she was culturally different from nat ive born Koreans when she interacted with them on campus, and consequently she perceived that she was not able to identify herself simply as Korean anymore. She said: I see like Koreans directly from the c ountry. I see how different I am from that. I also tutor English on the side to Korean people, so I get to talk to them a lot. I see how different we ar e. So thats when I started realizing more and more there is a distin ction between Koreans and Korean Americans. 105

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Likewise, Emily often challenged her i dentity in her college classroom. She observed students in class from various cu ltural groups who had their own cultural identities. During class discussions, she had her own point of view, which was affected by her Korean culture, and that was not expected by other cl assmates. So she came to understand herself: Im Korean American because there is a difference. Im not just American. Similarly, Marys bicultural identit y was developed when she was able to be independent. Being able to make her own decis ions and live on her own allowed her to discover her true self. Joining her campus community gave her more opportunities to enhance her bicultural identity. She noticed that many different cult ural organizations performed well on campus and students were able to develop their own identities from there. Mary realized how distinctly diffe rent these groups of students were and how beautiful ethnic Asians were within their own cu ltures as well. Her diversity experiences allowed her to explore her own identity during her college years. She said: You really see them [various Asians ] when you get involved in the AsianAmerican students organizations. The Fi lipino Students Association, you really get to the culture, or you get to see the Vietnamese culture in their organization thats when I started to change my perception of not just Asian but really trying to understand what Asian American culture is and why do I identify myself as that. As I began to question those things, I became a lot more curious about it. Cultural awareness allows these Korean American students to have a more open mindset, accept different values and differ ent ways, and see how other people do things differently. As these women students developed positive attitudes toward multiculturalism, they perceived their two cultures as equally valuable, which means, that one culture is not be tter than the other; the Amer ican and Korean cultures each significantly influenced the development of their bicultural identities. Alex believes that 106

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she is more open-minded because she understands her own bicultural life. She said, It [having two cultures] helps me to see things in different ways. It helps me to understand people in different ways because if you have just one mindset, its hard to understand differences. Because I have both values, I am more understanding. Lack of Social Integration Caused by Cultural Differences Korean American students in this study developed their own perspectives on identity by looking closely at their personal cultural circumstances. These students recognized differences between the two sets of cultural values because they were simultaneously exposed to traditional and main stream cultures. Different cultural expectations provoked 1) facing gender expe ctations, 2) experiencing power relations, 3) facing stereotypical image of Asians, and 4) lack of cross cultural social relationships. Korean American women particip ants perceived distinctions between their home culture and mainstream culture, and they realized that their social lives were controlled by their traditional values. As a result, these students fe lt internal conflicts with their parents and ethnic community. Outside the home, t hese women were faced with socially stereotyped Asian images and struggled with racial alienation. Experiences of cultural difference and racial bias discouraged thes e women students from developing cross cultural relationships. These Korean American participants developed their social lives based on how culturally comfortable they felt with others and how they could share their own cultural struggles. All of these aspects hi ndered participants efforts to integrate into their campus community, as well as further American society. The lack of social integration is a cr itical issue that these Korean American students faced in developing their own cult ural identity. It discouraged these women students from learning where they stood as bi cultural individuals bet ween two cultures. 107

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However understanding their own cultural circ umstances also motivated these women students to overcome their challenges, and gav e them an opportunity to develop many ways to negotiate their cultural circumstanc es. The following section describes how the participants perceived their Korean cultural val ues in their lives followed by cultural negotiation, which is also identified as another necessity for developing bicultural identity during college years. Facing Gender Expectations Korean American female students in th is study perceived negative gender expectations, which are particularly related to Korean traditional values. Because their parents maintain transnational lifestyles, t hese women students were naturally affected by their ethnic cultural values and cons equently they established cultural duality. Gender expectations may not be perceived negatively by people in Korea because these are commonly recognized in Korean soci ety. However, these gender expectations originating from traditional va lues certainly were negatively perceived by these Korean Americans female students. Often times, thes e women students faced internal struggles between what Korean American society expe cts and expectations they felt as a member of American society. This study found that participants suffered from 1) preconceived gender role expectations, 2) restri cted social relationships, and 3) concern about their personal appearance. These Korean American women struggled with not only significant cultural differences bet ween their traditional values and American values, but also gender inequality deeply em bedded in Korean culture. All of these aspects contributed to their emotional ch allenges and consequently to the denial of certain Korean cultural values in their lives. 108

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Preconceived gender role expectations The Korean American female students in th is study experienced cultural gender role expectations. Because they were expe cted by their family to adopt traditional gender roles, they as daughters were expected to support their younger siblings. Alex wanted to support her younger si ster not only financially but also by assisting her with obtaining educational opportunities. However, she realized that this desire was instilled by her mother, who expected her to help her si ster with her studies. Likewise, Judy also experienced pressure to support her 5-year-old younges t sister until her sister graduates from college. She also experienced a further sense of obligation as a first daughter to take care of her el derly parents later in life. Th is sense of dual obligations as a daughter gave rise to the internal struggle of feeling pressure to find a financially lucrative job to fulfill her responsibil ities. Judy explained her feelings: Thats kind of stressful because they say even jokingly but its kind of obviously true because they dont have savi ng plans or retirement so I know eventually Ill have to take care of them I want to take care of them but I dont care myself about making a lot of money. I want to ta ke care of my family when I get older so thats what Im kind of worried about. Because the things I am looking into doing does nt make a lot of money. We have my 5 year old sister who will be needing to go to college by the time Im working, so I feel like Ill be getting most of that burden when I get older. These women had negative perceptions of t he different gender role expectations between men and women during family meeti ngs. The hierarchical relationships between men and women are commonly observed within immigrant families maintaining a transnational lifestyle. However, for the Korean American female students in this study, this hierarchical binary family struct ure contributed to cult ural confusion between what they believed on gender roles and what Korean cultural values expected on gender roles. This conflict fostered negative feel ings toward Korean cultural values. 109

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When Mary was growing up, she observed how Korean families live their lives in relation to gender roles expectations. S he perceived many times the masculinefeminine dichotomy as, The men never help ed in cooking, the women did all the cooking and took care of t he children. Mary struggled with the fact that Korean men have a larger role than Korean women, and that gender imbalance is pervasively nurtured even within families who live in the United States. She described her feelings: After I saw that, I said I dont want to ever marry or date Korean guys ever, thats not what I want ever, I don t like that. For me equality is very important. I just think that guys should be able to help around the house too. Its not just a female role. Similarly, Judy also perceived gender imbalances at her home. As an American she believed, The guys are working at hom e and the girls can have equal status with guys. However, it was frustrating for Judy when she returned home and witnessed her mother doing all the house work even though s he worked all day just like her father, and her father did not help with the household chores. This gender imbalance fostered negative feelings toward Korean cultural values and eventually to the denial of embracing traditional Korean ge nder roles. Judy expressed her internal struggle by declaring, Im never gonna get married like that. Emily also experienced negative perceptions of Korean cultural values rela ted to gender expectatio ns. Her father always expected her and her sister to make food for him and to br ing beer to him from the kitchen when he returned home from work. She wo uld cook or bring beer to her father because she loved him. However, she event ually refused to do these things, not because she did not respect her father, but because she disagr eed with following what she believed were obsolete gender roles. 110

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Restricted social relationships These Korean American female students perceived strong parental expectations of their social relationships. Dating and marri age in particular were critical issues that these students had to negotiate with their parent s. Korean parents view the marriage as an important family extension in their immigrant life and they require what they perceive as necessary for their family to succeed as a whole. In this case, the parents considered Korean culture as the most important value in a marriage. In addition, immigrant life is also a critical consideration when Korean parents expect particular dating or marriage partners of their daughters. In fact, transnational immigrant life may encourage lack of social integration of immigrant parents. Mo st first generation Korean parents are more likely to maintain their ethnic language rather than learn English, and consequently they may experience limited social relationships due to their lack of English language proficiency. For this reas on, Korean American women students were expected by their parents to date and marry Korean Americans who could speak the Korean language and share their Korean cultural values in th e United States. As a re sult, their parents expectations hindered these wom en students efforts to extend their social relationships during their college years. Most students in this study were encour aged to get married early and their parents recommended specific people to date or marry. Be fore she started dating, Emily talked about dating or marriage with her parents. She realized that her parents had particular expectations on these topics. For example, she said, He [My dad] said Korean American is best but no black, or She [M y mom] discouraged me to marry late, probably like after 30s. During college, J udy talked about marriage with her mother many times and was expected to marry a Kor ean American Christian person by the time 111

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she was 27 years old. Like other Korean immigrant parent s, her mother wanted her daughter to marry a Korean American particu larly because she wanted to be able to communicate with her future son-in-law. Bec ause Judys parents were not able to speak English well, ensuring that their d aughter dated and married someone who speaks Korean was critical for them. Judy felt pr essure because she was dating a non-Korean American, and was planning to attend a gra duate program, so she was not meeting her parents expectations. Like Judy, Alex also had the same r equest from her parents. Her mother would say, You need to get married right away and you need to look around as soon as possible. However, this was different fr om what Alex thought about marriage. She indicated: In Korea, women are supposed to get married earlier and I don't want to do that. My mom really want s me to get married s oon and she says if I don't get married by 25 it is going to be impossi ble. My view is that I want to work on my own studies but she wants me to get married as soon as possible. Korean women are pressur ed to do that, society makes it frowned upon to get married late. As Korean American wo men, parents say st uff like that to us. You need to hurry up and think about that. But we have so much time, we are only in our twenties, and in America women get married later, in their 30's. For me that is more realis tic, getting married la ter in the mid-20's or early 30's but my mom doesn't agree with me on that. Likewise, Alex was expected by her parent s to date and marry a Korean or Korean American, but most preferabl y Korean American. This was not only for the purpose of achieving better communication with the new family member, but also in consideration of her Korean American cultural status Her mother understood that she had been Americanized and it would be hard to under stand someone who strongly identify as Korean. Alex felt pressure to meet her mothers expectations because she felt obligated 112

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to follow what her mother suggested, yet s he wanted the possibility of meeting other people, in addition to Kor ean or Korean Americans. In contrast, Grace agreed with her parent s dating and marriage expectations. Her parents encouraged her to date and marry a Korean American because they wanted a son-in-law who would be connected culturally to their family. In addition, her parents also considered the family background of a su itor. She said, When youre marrying, its not just a woman and a man marrying, the families are marrying too. [My parents] always emphases pick someone with a good family background. Her parents continually encouraged Grace to choose a Korean Americ an who had a good family background, and judged her dat ing partners based on this standard. Grace struggled with inner challenges when she dated her fo rmer boyfriend because her parents did not accept him and his parents. Her parents we re very traditionally and religiously conservative, and were not accepting of his T winkie or bad boy image. They refused him, saying, Thats not okay. Grace talk ed a lot about a new dating partner with her parents before she started dat ing again because she said, I made sure I had their permission because after my former boyfriend, I never want to go into a relationship if I dont have my parents approval because its that important to them. Similarly, Mary has specif ic expectations from her parents on dating and marriage. She said, They [my parents] want me to be educated, find a good husband, and they want the husband to be well off, Christian. T hey dont want Black people. I cant marry Black people. They are okay with White people but no Black people. She perceived parental control of her social relationships during her early college years, which was uncomfortable to her to some extent. She said: 113

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My parents do not want me to dat e until I finished undergraduate. They have the philosophy of dating one per son and getting married to that one person. So they monitor who I hang out with especially with guys. If Im hanging out with a guy friend, theyll ask a lot questions to make sure theres not anything going on between us. During her college years, Mary was cont rolled in her dating partners by her parents specific expectations, and as a result, she had a less opportunity to develop intimate relationships, co mpared to her peers in the study. Personal appearance The looks of Korean American female students in this study were largely influenced by the Korean American community, which heavily sustains a transnational lifestyle. These students often felt pressu red to maintain a good physical appearance like women of their native Kor ean counterparts and to maintain certain femininity. Their struggles become worse when they felt their appearance was being judged by their immigrant parents or the loca l Korean American community. For some their parents, who are aware of Korean cultur al standards of beauty, are t he stricter judges. Alex, for example, was always expect ed to be more womanly. Her mother encouraged her to wear makeup and dress well, even choosing all of her clothes up until high school. Alex felt that her mother was forcing Korean cult ural norms on her. She said, I dont wear makeup, but she [mom] always tells me I need to put on makeup. In Korean society, I feel beauty and image are import ant. I dont feel like I always have to put on makeup or wear pretty clothes to feel beautiful. That something my mom and I disagree on a lot. However, because Alex perceived herself as Am erican, she did not feel an obligation to follow these patterns, even though her mo ther strongly encouraged her to do so. Mary suffered from emotional struggles in relation to her body image. Her parents frequently criticized her with co mments like, Why dont you lo se weight? Why dont 114

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you dress better? Why dont you take care of yourself better? Mary was confused about why she had to follow these standards and felt pressure to look better. It even caused emotional conflict with her par ents. She described her feelings: I started gaining weight, and they [par ents] got really upset because they said I was getting really fat, and they said youre not going to find a husband looking like that. Youre just not pretty when youre fat. It really hurt especially when my dad says it, it hurts more because he can be, his words arent the nicest, we havent talked very much because of that, the relationship is strained because it hurts to think about things like that. This struggle made her insecure growing up. She often thought that she wasnt pretty enough, and she was pained by the realization that she didnt fit the mold of what her parents wanted her to look like. Korean American communities taught these students to be conservative. Therefore, their dress c ode was dictated within the Korean American community. Students switched their dress style when they went to school and when they went to Korean American church to meet the expectations of each community. When Grace wore clothes unacceptable by Korean cultur al standards (e.g., short pants), Korean adults would say, Whats she doing? She perceived that the Korean American community did not accept younge r generations if they were too Americanized in the way they look. Judy usually dressed based on what the Korean American community expected, and thus she did not wear short pants at church. Sometimes sh e felt frustrated, but she always tried to dress conservatively for t he sake of parents because she did not want her parents to be entangled in a gossip at the church. Similarly Grace was always careful about what she wore to church bec ause she did not want people to gossip about her. She said, I always wanted to avoid that I never wanted to give people a reason to 115

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talk about me. So I think it really influenced the way I dressed. To avoid gossip, these Korean parents also encouraged their daughters to meet Korean American community expectations. Some parents spoke frankly and di rectly to their daughters. However, this often caused students negative feelings. Gr ace said, I gained like 6 pounds. I went home and my mom kept telling me I was fat. And you dont do that here in America. I told my Mom I was really hurt when you told me I was fat. After working out, Grace got comments from her mothers fri ends like, Oh Grace, you lost so much weight! Youre so pretty. Her mother then responded, Yea, I know. My daughters pretty. Through this conversation, Grace understood why Ko rean parents focus on the appearance of their kids. [They keep criticizing] thei r daughters, not because they are saying it because their daughters ugly, but because they have the right to say that to their daughter because they dont want any other person to say that. In other words, parents do not want people to gossip about their daughters. Judy also believes that the Korean Amer ican community places too much focus on the superficial image. Her parents discourag ed her from going to the beach because they were concerned that her appearance w ould be ruined. Her skin color was always an issue in the local Korean American communi ty. She said, Im really dark. People would always tell me, 'Youre really dark.' Some people were intrigued and were like, 'Why are you darker?' but other people were like, 'Oh, you are t oo dark!' Judy felt frustrated, not only at being judged, but also at bei ng frequently and directly asked about her physical appearance by others. Th ey often asked, Whats wrong with you? or Why is your face breaking out? 116

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For Emily, the greatest pressure about her appearance came from her church during high school. She said, Obviously dre ss code was very conservative. You had to hold yourself a certain way. You couldnt act this way, think this way. Because Emily was very religious and grew up within the boundaries of a strong religious conservative environment during her high school year s, she became conditioned to keep a conservative mindset, even after she st opped going to Korean American church when she went to college. She said, That conser vative, I enjoy it when I pick clothes, when I see a style that I like. However, in a sense, she struggled with keeping her conservative attitude during college year s because she said, It limits me from expressing every side of my personality. Because Ive grown up with such a conservative mindset, it kind of suppresses a less conventional side of me that I may not know of, or may be suppressing subcons ciously. Now Emily tries to see herself positively and not be influenced by personal appear ance. I dont put t oo much pressure on looking a certain way. If I do, I have to remind myself that its not very important. Experiencing Power Relations Korean cultural belief systems in this study formed hierarchical relations between parents and their adult children because thei r children were expected to be obedient under traditional values. These young Kore an Americans often times recognized differences between their home culture and ma instream culture, and as a result they faced intergenerational conflicts. Intergener ational tension was often heightened as these Korean American female students perceiv ed cultural differences between what they expected and what their parents expected. During high school, Grace felt that it was hard to find a balance between what she wanted to do and what parents expected her to do. She struggled betwe en conservative and liberal values. At home, her 117

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parents authority was established over her and she had to always say Yes, mother, instead of simply yes or no even if she disagreed with what her parents wanted her to do. Grace said, I submitt ed very bitterly. It wasnt O h yes, I will obey you. Intergenerational tension was also exacer bated as Korean American participants perceived differences between their parents ex pectations and what they experienced. Grace perceived that her Am erican peers developed equal relationships with their parents rather than hierarchical relationships She observed that her friends developed friendships with their parents and openly shar ed their thoughts with each other. Grace felt oppressed by the ways in which her c onservative parents restricted her, such as, No you cant stay out late, You must co me back home, [You cant] start driving until 18 years old. Grace faced inner challenges in trying to acc ept these restrictions, which were not normally experienced by her Am erican peers. These experiences made her negatively perceive Korean cultural values during her high school years. Like Grace, most participants in this study fe lt that their social lives were controlled by their parents during high school. Because they were under their parents roof, the authority that their parents had over their lif e was pervasive. As a result, they felt internal struggles under their parents authority, yet they also felt cultural obligation to obey. However, in some cases, these student s appreciated their parents authority. Like the other Korean American students, Alex was never a llowed to sleep over at her friends houses during high sch ool because her parents believed that Its not proper for girls to sleep over at other peoples places. Alex did not try to get permission for sleepovers during high school because she be lieved what they [my parents] thought was the right thing and consequently it was im portant for Alex to accept her parents 118

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opinions. Judy also perceived her parents c ontrol during high school as almost kind of healthy to a point because she thought she needed the structure to succeed in her academic life and then go to college. Whether these Korean American fema le students perceived their parents authority positively or negatively, they did not rebel against obedience at the time. For instance, Mary had no doubt about accepting her parents authority during her high school years. She said, I think for the most part that I was very obedient. If my parents told me to do something, I would do it. I t hought it was easier that way. Likewise, Grace accepted her parents control during her high school years because she said, I cant really do anything about that When Grace applied to college, she argued with her parents because her parents did not allow her to choose her own college. [My parents] said no. They said youre going to [this co llege]. Youre going to stay close to home. We know theres a good church there because your father went there. Grace dropped the conversation, but she accepted her parents decision because she said, theyre paying for it. These students just adapted t hemselves to their surrounding cultural circumstances. Intergenerational tension remained even when these women attended college. Although these students more often experienc ed conflict with their parents during high school, it was not recognized as a serious i ssue in their lives because they obeyed their parents while they were under their parents supervision. Howeve r, some of these Korean Americans had conflicted thoughts in college because they had more liberal views than their parents. Emily indicated that her fathers expecta tions on dating were, No dating until you find your husband. However, she had different ideas on dating than 119

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her parents. She said, They [my parents] had a very tradit ionalistic view that dating equals marriage, while I think I just perceiv e dating as a learning experience, and then as for marriage. Although her parents did not fo rce their ideas onto Emily, they instead tried to compromise with, Lets just let her do what shes ready. Clearly, Emily had different cultural ideas than her parents. Similarly, Gr ace disagreed wit h her parents dating expectations. She perceived that tradi tional cultural values were used by her parents as a frame of refe rence to guide her on dating. She had been aware of the differences between her views and her parents views on dating. Grace said: Dating, so if I would sum it up in one word, it would be boundaries, boundaries in dating. That was a big difference. Yea they [my parents] would definitely more than suggest, Dont do this, They would try to do it in a way that wasnt obvi ous, Oh Grace, with a guy, a boyfriend is someone that you just are nice to, you like st udy with them, or you just like kind of spend time with them. But its productive, its a productive time. No, thats called a study buddy, thats not a boyfriend. Similarly, Alex struggled with her mother after getting a tattoo. She realized that having a tattoo would be negatively perceived as You are not a good person in Korean society. Because Korean society cares deeply about what other people think and they act accordingly, getting a tattoo was unaccept able to her parents. Her mother was very upset about what she did and said, You dont l ook very Korean. Alex was emotionally confused by this, and asked herself, What does that mean? I cant do this because Im Korean? She struggled that this outside judgment wh ich is embedded within Korean cultural values that restricted her desire to express herself. Facing Stereotypical Image of Asians Young Korean American women in this study were aware of Asian stereotypes as they interacted with various people on ca mpus. Asian stereotypes affected their academic and social lives positively to some extent, yet also affected them negatively 120

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for the most part. Like other Asians, Grace perceived Asian stereotypes positively during high school. She attended very academically oriented schools. In her schools, Asian stereotypes such as Asians were very smart made sens e to teachers and peers because all Asians in her schools really di d do well academically. The school's mission, individuals academic goals, and Asians high academic performance made Asian stereotypes positive. She said, Teachers rea lly loved Asiansbecause we fulfilled that stereotype. We got the highest gr ads in the class, we were the most attentive, so of course the teachers loved us so that cr eated a culture of Asians being kind of awesome. In contrast, some students struggled with this stereotype because living up to this image made their true academic desires invisible. Mary criticizes the idea that Asians are supposed to be good at math and science. Although she really did well at math and science during her academic years, she re fused to follow the stereotype because she was interested in social studies and En glish. Also It rea lly made me frustrated that I was boxed into a certain identity that society wanted me to be instead of appreciating who I was as a person. After s he was expected to join the math team by other Asians during high school, Mary grew frustrated with this stereotypical Asian image and questioned herself. She wondered, Why can't they [people in general] appreciate that were not one dimensional people? We en compass more than what society wants us to be. Many young Korean American women in this study reported experiencing racial alienation during college year s. Often times, they were not perceived as members of American society; they were perceived as just Asian. Being portrayed as Asian 121

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contains dual aspects. First, Asians are still viewed as foreign, even if they grow up in the United Sates. Second, Asians are st ill aggregated as simply one group in American society. Their experiences discouraged thes e women students from developing social relationships with racially different people. Em ily used to work at a frozen yogurt place, which is staffed predominately by White employees, and got the nickname Asian. It made her frustrated because her true identity v anished with her coworkers. In addition, she also faced emotional challenges when she was dating. As an interracial couple, Emilys boyfriend was mocked by his White friends with comments like, you have Asian fever now, you have yellow fever, or why do you like Asians now? Emily felt frustrated that people consider ed differences between Asian and White, even though, in her words, they both grow up in the same exact city, done this same exact things, interact with the same exact people. Emily is still seen as an outsider by the dominant culture, even if she has the same backgro und as other majority people. Lack of Cross Cultural Social Relationships Korean American students in this study gr avitated toward cultural similarity. Through this, these students feel a deeper sense of connection with culturally connected people. They developed their social lives with Korean Americans or at least Asian Americans who could share their cultur al struggles. Therefore, these participants tended to be very selective about their social relationships during their college years. Korean American students in this study often developed relationships with other Korean Americans in college for their own comfort, while those with whom they were engaged in high school were from all backgrounds an d chosen because of prox imity. During high school, these students were more likely to dev elop their social relationships based on the demographics of their class units (e.g., AP class). As a result, they easily socialized 122

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and established relationships with various people without awareness of cultural differences. However, college lif e did not allow these students to automatically establish their social relationships because their social networks were in flux and wider. Therefore, they had to develop t heir relationships by dealing with cultural diversity. These Korean American partici pants developed their social relationships based on how comfortable they felt with others. For these students, the level of comfort was based on their ability to share their cultur al values. In this study, most students developed relationships with Asian Americans or Korean Americans to build up a comfort zone and enhance a sense of connec tion in a diverse campus environment. Alex said she hangs out with Asian Americans or Korean Americans because its more comfortable to be around people you are familiar with. Like Alex, Mary also fe lt more comfortable when she hangs out with Asian Americans or Korean Americans in college. She said, I feel like my connection is a lot deeper with Korean Americans or Chinese Amer icans just because of the experiences that we can share, especially with parents or family, academic pressure, stuff like that. In fact, when Mary came in her freshmen year she did not expect that she wanted to be with Asian Americans or Ko rean Americans during colle ge because she negatively perceived Asians in general as too compet itive during high school years. However, Mary indicated that she now feels more comfortable with Asian American and Korean American students. She overcame her struggle s by sharing feelings with her friends who are culturally connected. Mary said: Were able to talk about personal stuff and I could relate to them, or talk about social pressures or stereotypes those were struggles that I had been dealing with for so long. It wasnt always about academics anymore or being competitive, just genuine friends hip had been built over the years. 123

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Judy also found herself more comfor table with Asian Am ericans or Korean Americans. She was able to talk with them about culturally-related things that she could not easily share with her White friends. Simila rly, Grace developed social relationships with only Korean American students during college years. She argues that being tied to people of the same ethnicity, the same roots, is natural because they can deeply share their culture. I found a group of Korean friends and we kind of like clicked right away. Im sure its because we share the same culture and we think a lot and we kind of behave similarly and thats probabl y why we clicked and thats when I realized, oh you cant really esca pe your roots. Even though Im here in America, Im just attracted to people who are like me. Interestingly, Korean American female students in this study did not develop their social relationships with native Koreans, des pite the fact that both Koreans and Korean Americans have the same cultural heritages. These women students perceived differences between Koreans and Korean Americans and did not attach themselves to native Koreans. Alex perceived herself to be more Americanized and found that she differed from Koreans. She explained this feeling: When I came to [college], I didnt feel that Im Korean at all so I didnt know how to interact with them [Koreans from Korea]. Like I said, I am not very interested in Korean dramas or KPop music or movies so I didnt have anything in common to talk about in terms of social vi ews. I felt like a black sheep because we didnt have the same interests. We have the same values, but you dont make friends off the bat because of values. You talk about TV and movies, so it was hard to make friends with them at first because we have different interests. Like Alex, Grace also had si milar experiences with native Koreans. She remembered how hard it was to understand them: Socially, when I hang out with Americans or any other groups, I have no any problem. But when I do hang out with just Korean Koreans, I cant really get along with them. Its not that I don't like them; its just I have a harder time getting along with them. 124

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In order to develop their own social relationships with culturally-similar people, some Korean American students joined in Asian American or Korean American undergraduate associations or ethnic church associations during their early college years, where their relationships were es tablished with particular persons who could connect with their culture more deeply. Emil ys social relationships were developed through multiple social groups during this time. By joining Asian American undergraduate associations (e.g., Korean American union, Chinese American union) and a Korean American church group, she dev eloped her social network with Asian American or Korean Americ an undergraduate students most of time. However, she established her own group of a few friends as she entered her third year because she realized, I just want to be with people I genuinely love and I want to be around. Grace also joined an Asian American undergraduate association and made some Asian American friends during freshmen year. Then she joined another Korean American church and developed closed relati onships with Korean Americans. She was able to make friends easily by sharing similarities (e.g., cultural values, religious beliefs). Socially, nothing really changed through her senior year. S he said, The friends I made the freshmen years with my church friends are the friends Im with now. Like Emily, Grace also developed her social relationshi ps with a small number of genuinely close friends during her college years and depended on them. While understandable, this tendency may limit opportunities for Korean American participants to develop their social relations hips with different groups of people during college. As a result, they may have less opportunity to explore cross-cultural experiences on campus. Grace descr ibed her feelings about this: 125

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I didnt really start thinking about until this year that all my friends are Korean American. I find myself being a li ttle disappointed that I didnt really branch out to other diverse friends; I m a little scared that because I spent most of my undergraduate with Korean Americans thats Ill be a little uncomfortable with other cultural gr oups. I used to not be like that, because in high school everyone was something different, because I feel like in College you kinda start really molding into the person youll be for the rest of your life, so Im kind of scared t hat the lack of me reaching out to other groups would hinder my adult life. T hats the only regret that I have. This sense of fear touched her attitude toward different cultures. The recognition of this issue consequently allowed her to more actively look for culturally diverse relationships and better understand cultural diversity on campus. Cultural Negotiation The bicultural Identity of the Kore an American students was strengthened by negotiating their own cultural circumstances As I discussed earlier, Korean cultural values contributed to the lack of social integration to American society and most participants faced challenges embracing what they perceived as negative aspects of either side of their two cultures, the Am erican and the Korean. However, these women did not ignore the challenges they faced. In stead, they actively ne gotiated these cultural struggles in their own ways, and each tried to integrate the differences into their developing bicultural ident ity. Consequently, their effo rts encourage them to deeply understand Who am I? and to develop their bicultural identity during their college years. Cultural negotiation provoked 1) managing cultural conflicts with parents; 2) overcoming struggles related to religious beliefs; 3) making up for negative cultural values; 4) switching cultural behavi ors; and 5) maintaining ethnic language. Participant students developed their own voices rather than just obeying their parents opinions to overcome cultural conflicts, which hel ped these young Korean American women to 126

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develop healthy relationships with others. Religious beliefs also contributed to overcoming their cultural struggles. They al so selected cultural values based on what they really wanted to adopt from both American and Korean cultures. In addition, they switched their behaviors within di fferent settings to minimi ze cultural conflict. Some students in this study maintained their et hnic language, while some of them spoke Konglish (i.e., the mixed use of Korean and E nglish in the same dialogue) to better communicate with Koreans who were not able to speak English very well, thus creating another bridge. Balancing Two Cultures to Minimize Cultural Conflicts All of the students in this study perceived themselves as Korean American and viewed their two cultures as equally valuable. They viewed their bicult ural identity as a quilt rather than a melting pot. This impl ies that the two cult ures do not blend with each other; instead, ones positive cultural values are enhanced to make up for the negative aspects of the other while both cultures keep thei r own characteristics. Managing cultural conflicts with parents Korean American female students in this study tried to balance their two cultural values, which became an inseparable part of their cultural identity. These students managed family conflicts caused by hierarchical relationships by refusing to live up to their immigrant parents expectations and tr ied to mutually communicate their own thoughts with their parents. By doing so, thes e participants overcame their cultural circumstances, generated by trad itional values, and developed t heir own bicultural life. In fact, compromising with their Kor ean parents rarely happened during high school years. Emily never thought that she had to compromise during conflicts with her parents during high school because she did not really c hallenge anything in [her] own morals or 127

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[her] stances. She accepted her parents op inions. Alex also listened to what her parents said during high school. Even though she disagreed with some of their ideas, she obeyed whatever they said because she thought that there we re not any options she had at this time. In college, however, even if parents still controlled certain things, Alex did not always agree with her parents op inions. She did whatever she thought was the best and most efficient rather than just obeying her parents ideas. Alex said: In high school, I just did whatever they told me to. In college, it depends if she [my mom] wants me to do somethi ng and I think I can do something in a different better way, then Im going to tell her that Im going to do it whether she likes it or not because to me thats the best way and she cant really control everything that I do. To minimize conflict with her parents, Alex talks to her parents about her thoughts first, even if she disagrees with them Im still going to ask her [my mom] opinions and I still let her know that Im going to do it [what I think it right]. Alex compromises with her parents by maintaining and valuing their rela tionships as family, even when they don't see each other every day. Mary normally perceived less conflict with her parents' authority because, Im pretty on track for the most part. During high school, Mary was very obedient. If her parents told her to do something, she usual ly accepted that. She said, I was obedient to my parents. They said, 'You should be home by 10:00' and Id say 'okay.' I didnt really have an issue with that. I just did what they told me to do. After going to college, she raised her own voice about what she w anted to do. When she had differing opinions from her parents, she argued about it or sometimes just let it go for a while. Once, a conflict arose over academic majors becaus e her parents wanted her to take pre-med classes. Mary obeyed her parents opinion at first; however, she eventually stopped taking those classes because she said, Its not what I want to do with my life. She 128

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eventually changed her major after having a deep conversation with her parents. Marys big concern was how to persuade her parents in her career path. Her parents did not allow her join the military. Mary had argued with them about it many times, yet she could not find positive resolution. She avoide d talking about it wit h her parents, though she showed her parents her strong will. Recently, Mary realized circumstances have changed. She said, He [my dad] said its your life now. You can make your own decisions and youre old enough to face the consequences for these decisions, work as hard as you can and live your life as best as you can. Likewise, her mom wants to talk more about the military with her and wants to have more information about it. Mary appreciates that her parents now support her decision. Overcoming struggles relate d to religious beliefs Korean American students in this study ar e Christians. These students are close to their local church community because of their parents religious influence and naturally believed in religion early on. For th em, the church played a vital role as a second home, and many of the Korean Am erican students spent their adolescence receiving assistance from their church. For example, Judy was supported by the Korean American church when she was young bec ause her parents worked all day, and she needed someone to take care of her. Since she spent a lot of time at her church, her identity was significantly influenced by t he Korean American church community, which further supported her Kor ean cultural values. Religious life helped some Korean American students in this study overcome their cultural conflicts. Mary overcame negative pe rceptions that she had of herself through developing her religious beliefs. She criticiz es how Korean society focuses too much on appearance and how this image-or iented culture affected her emotionally and later 129

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contributed to her negative se lf-image. She believed that she was very unattractive, but was able to overcome these negative feeling by having strong belief in her religion. She described her feelings: When I got older, especially with my relationship with God growing, its really breaking down the perceptions Ive had of myself. Because everyone is created differently and uniquely so how can you say that theres only one mold of how someone is beautiful because your heart and how you treat people makes you beautiful too. These Korean American female students believe that Korean cultural values match up with Korean American church values to a certain extent. Because these students became strongly involved in religious practice early on, religious values affected their attitudes toward their parents and Korean cultur al values. As Judy argued, Koreans are very conservative, like dating between guys and girls, and also again with the whole respect and authority thing having those values is legitimized by having a religion because the Bible says so. Theref ore, these young Korean American women accepted some cultural values that Korean society holds by understanding Korean religious heritage. Grace admit s negotiating her cultural conflicts through religious life. Her cultural struggles had a lot do with her par ents authority. Howe ver, she was able to overcome her challenge by deeply understanding the Bible. She said: The Bible teaches that you obey y our parents because they are your parents and they have authorit y over you. That r eally condemns children that blatantly disobey their parents or dont care about their parents. So thats one of them that taught me about author ity and the Bible speaks about how important family is. You see st ories in the Bible that speak about if the family unit is really messed up it just affects every aspect of your life. I learned that having close ties with your family is very important. I learned to resolve my conflicts with families with religious values. 130

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However, religious life was not always helpf ul in negotiating cultural differences, which means religious values also contributed to intergenerational conflicts between these Korean American female students and their parents. Judy said: Like the dating, Koreans are very c onservative and they have the opinion that you shouldnt be dat ing around too much, or like no fornication or something like that. Its kind of how the older generation thinks and religious thinking contributes to that kind of thinking. She further explained her thoughts: Even with gender expectations, in both Korean and religious values theres the whole idea that the woman shoul d be submissive. I was taught, I heard in church and its like in the Bibl e its a known thin g that the man is supposed to be the head, hes the head of the body and the woman helps him or guides him. Usually Im opposed to things like that. It was also seeing also a lot of times at my c hurch, women who instead of going to college, instead of pursuing higher educatio n, they stay home and take care of the kids. I dont think it should be lik e that, while the men went to work and did stuff. I dont agree with that. Consequently, by deeply underst anding their Korean religious heritage, these Korean American students overcame inner challenges caused by cultural conflict, and further negotiated and developed a dual cultural life with their own thoughts and perspectives. Making up for negative cultural values Korean American students in this study res pected their two cultures and allowed both cultures to keep their own characterist ics while they negotiate cultural conflicts. They often enhanced positively-perceived values of one culture to make up for negative aspects of the other in their lives. Alex is thankful that her parents taught her Korean cultural values, though she did not accept all of them in her life. Nonetheless, there are Korean values on which she places emphasis in her life. Respect for people is one of them. She described how she sees it: Respect each other, your elders, just have respect. That is one thing I am very thankful for, I feel t hat in America that is something we lack. I feel a lot 131

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of people dont have respect for each ot her, if they dont know each other they dont have respect for one another, but in Korea everyone respects one another. Because I am Korean-Ameri can, I feel I show more respect than my American friends. Mary sees negative aspects of Korean cult ural values. She believes that American cultures are more genuinely open around other people, while Korean cultures give other people Nun-chee, meaning consider ing what other people think. She recognizes that Korean cultural values have a lack of openness and hospitality because of this cultural idea. Mary could not avoid other Koreans feelings or attitudes toward her body appearance. However, she tried to have a more open mindset to overcome her struggle and was not bound to this negative cultural aspect by saying, I only get to live my life once, and Im only going to be young once as well. So to live just live my life the best I can and try to see the beaut y in things when there is negativity that comes with each culture." Emily tried to be aware of positive cult ural values of each culture, and she balanced Korean and American cultural values by integrating the two. Emily described her perspective: Its [American cultural value] definitely taught me to really think about myself first sometimes because I know that as a collective society like in the Asian community, they [Koreans] always say t hat you put others fi rst or take care of others first. I dont compromise that. I dont sacrifice it. I definitely bring that into my Asian American heritage/bei ng. I also remind myself that I need to be a better person for me to help others. So thats what the American culture has taught me to be more of an individual person. So I can help people to my full potential not just 50% percent but I can give them 100%. Similarly, Judy strives to avoid anything too extreme between t he two cultures. She argues, I think sometimes Americans go too far extreme and see their parents as friends. Its too equal, they see like older people just as friends and they can do that, or Koreans sometimes fear authority too mu ch, they dont know how to approach people 132

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that are older and stuff. In or der to avoid too extreme, J udy took the best aspects of the two cultures. She said, Ill take the things I like from the Korean culture and Ill take the things I like from the American culture. Balancing Cultures to Integrate Dual Cultural Lives Switching cultural behaviors Korean American female students in this study switched their behaviors to minimize potential cultural conflicts. Th is means that they had different persona depending on where they were. Mary explained t hat she strives to fit the mold of who she is around: If I am around a lot of Ko rean elders, my body language reflects my Korean culture. I bow in front of them and I am submissi ve in my manner. Also I attempt to speak Korean and be a lo t more polite. If Im around my professor around university, I have the same level of respect but I am be more casual and open with them. My body language changes depending on my cultural surrounding. Although some Korean American female st udents like Alex chose not to change themselves whether they were at home or outside, many others switched their behaviors based on their cultural surrounding. Judy learned to perceive herself differently in different contex ts. At home, she felt herself more as Korean because of her Korean parents and family culture. However, when she went back to her campus dorm, she identified more as American because sh e said, Im surrounded by American values and American norms, so I usually start acting more American in public. Similarly, Grace changed her behaviors bas ed on different settings. At home, she perceived herself as American because sh e had gaps between her and her parents (e.g., language, personal values). Her parent s said to her, Youre so American! and 133

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she felt that too. However, she acted more Korean at home than on campus. Grace flexibly changed her behaviors to satisf y her cultural lif e. She explained: When I am home, yes I do feel like I am American. But the funny thing is I try to behave more Korean. And then w hen Im out with my White friends or Black friends, so non-Koreans I do feel more Korean. In t hat case I try to be more American. Maintaining ethnic language Speaking Korean gives some of t hese Korean American students more opportunity to understand their parents cultur al values and beliefs, while the lack of Korean language ability can create more challenge. Grace speaks Korean very fluently. Her language ability allows her to communi cate with her parents with Korean at home consistently. Consequently, she never faced issues on communication. Likewise, Alex always respected her parents by speaking Ko rean all the time when she was at home. Because her Korean is very good, she c an communicate with her parents easily and develop a close relationship with them by understanding quite clearly what her parents try to tell her. For her, speaking Korean is one important way that she respects her parents. She said, The most important thing to me was keeping t he language, even if I dont understand how she explained it, a Korean value or something, I least I respected it enough to see why she [mom] would tell me stuff like that. Judy, unlike Alex, has strong linguistic barrier s in communicating wi th her parents. Her parents encouraged her to speak English. She said, They [my parents] wanted me to learn English here so I could succeed. However, because she barely speaks Korean and her parents never speak English, Judy struggles to communicate properly and share her feeling deepl y with her parents. 134

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Despite the difficulty, these Korean American students try to speak Korean with their parents. Speaking Korean for them means accepting their ethnic culture in their lives. It gives these students an opportunity to better communicate with their parents and helps them understand their Korean her itage. Consequently, speaking Korean at home promotes these young wom en's bicultural identities. Emily always speaks Korean with her parents. She believes that maintaining her fluency in the Korean language is the best way to understand Korean culture and cl osely develop the relationship with her parents. For her, speaking Korean is a key aspect to identify herself as a Korean American. However, it is sometimes difficult for her to speak and maintain Korean fluently due to the lack of opportunities to speak it. This sometimes complicates her communication with her parents because they expected her to speak Korean at home. Consequently, Emily speaks Konglish (i.e., the mixed use of Korean and English in the same dialogue) to better communicate wit h her parents without conflict rather than speaking only English. She said, I do try to speak Korean because I dont ever want to lose that in my life, even though its slowly deteriorating I dont ever want to lose that part of my life. So when he [my dad] speaks Korean I try my best, but it comes out Konglish. Likewise, Mary also speaks Konglish at home. Because she barely speaks Korean, she cannot fully speak Korean wit h her parents whose primary language is Korean and speak Korean at home all the time. She said, I speak both English and Korean at home. They [my par ents] speak Korean and I res pond in Korean English. Its like Konglish both ways. Speaking and maintaining both Korean and American languages gives these Korean Am erican students an opportunity to retain strong family 135

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relationships, to mi nimize communication difficulty, and better understand their ethnic cultural heritages. Summary of Findings The interpretation of findings is guided by Phinney and Devich-Navarros (1997) bicultural theory and transnational feminism. In this study, Korean American female students were identified as blen ded bicultural during their colle ge years, in that they considered their two cultures as equally val uable and established their cultural identity with these two cultures. In order to bec ome blended bicultural, these Korean American students develop their own cult ural identity by negotiating their cultural environments and their own cultural challenges. More spec ifically, these Kor ean American students cultural identity was affected by their cultural environments. Their cultural identity is also affected by their own personal challenges. Addressing their own challenges allowed these women students to learn where they stood as a bicultural individual between two cultures and how they were able to negotiate t heir dual cultural lifestyle. Therefore, the bicultural identities of these Korean American students were strengthened by negotiating their personal cu ltural circumstances. Consequently, their efforts encouraged them to deeply understand, Who am I? and to develop their bicultural identity during thei r college years. 136

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CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS This chapter discusses the research findings that emerged from the study. In order to better understand this study as a whole, this chapter reviews and summarizes each chapter including the research problem, ex isting literature, methodology, and findings. A discussion of the contribution to knowledg e of the findings follows focusing on what we know about female Korean American students cultural circumstances and how they develop their own cultural identity for thei r successful academic and social lives. Finally, this chapter offers some implicati ons for future research and recommendations for practice. Overview of the Study Asian American students have been perceiv ed as an academically successful racial group in American higher education. Because of their relatively high academic performance, this group is often times viewed as problemf ree high achievers (Suzuki, 2002, p.29), and their challenges are ignored. However, Asi an American students, as distinctive from the model minority image (i.e., problem-f ree high achievers), face multiple challenges that mu st be negotiated in their academic and social lives. Korean American female students internally struggl e with significant cultural differences between their two cultures. Compounding this i ssue is the reality that American society pays little attention to this group (Hune, 1998). Their challenges must be recognized and negotiated in order for them to establish their own cultural identity for themselves Therefore, the purpose of this study is to understand how Korean American female students negotiate conflicts between Korean and American cultures and develop their own cultural identity. The following re search questions guided this study: How do 137

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Korean American female undergraduate students negotiate bicultural lives? How do Korean American female undergraduate students develop their bicultural identity? Connecting previous research concerning th e aspects of Asian Americans cultural experiences to this study is crucial in developing a theory on As ian American cultural identity. Asian American students are strongly influenced by their ethnic cultural values from their parents. Because their parents are likely to mainta in their ethnic tradition, students subsequently develop t heir ethnic identity as a bl end of an American and Asian culture. Elements from the ethnic and American i dentities help many Asian Americans overcome their own struggles and have positive attitudes toward their unique challenges (Abe & Zane, 1990; Bracey et al., 2004; Chung, 2001; Greene et al., 2006; Kim & Omizo, 2006; Martinez & Dukes, 1997). As such, mo st second generation Asian Americans integrate their two cultures and est ablish their own bicultural identities. Integrating these two cultures is not ea sy because of the different cultural belief systems between ethnic and American cultures, and consequently cultural conflicts may occur while Asian American students negotiate these two cultures. For example, outside home, Asian Americans may struggle with raci al bias or ethnic discrimination in ways that White students may not be face during their academi c life (Chou & Feagin, 2008; Sue & others, 2007). Often times, Asian Americans are portrayed as no longer Asian, not yet American (Chou & Feagin, 2008, p. 131), which means even if Asian American students acculturate to Americ an cultural values, they ar e frequently still viewed as foreigners (Min, 2002). Inside the home, Asian Americans may c hallenge cultural conflicts with their parents. In particular, Asian American women are fac ed with different gender role 138

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expectations and may experienc e conflicts with their parents when challenging their gender roles (Tang & Dion, 1999). In fact, g ender inequality persist s in most Asian cultures. For instance, Korean culture is based on Confucianism, which shapes a patriarchal family structure. Under th is philosophy, Korean American women are expected to be subordinate to their parents and their male counterparts, and are forced to maintain filial piety. These experienc es may make Asian American women suffer from psychological challe nges (Chung, 2001; Museus & Chang, 2009), though some of them are optimistically seeking outside help (Gloria et al., 2008; Shim & Schwarts, 2007). This study utilized qualitative data colle ction and analysis methods to understand the unique world of Korean American female co llege students in their own voices. As a theoretical perspective, I chose Phinney and Devich-Navarros (1997) bicultural identity theory and transnational feminism to capture t heir experiences in developing a bicultural identity, assuming that thes e women students were normally heavily influenced by the Korean culture on the one hand a nd the new identity as immi grants in the U.S. on the other. Five Korean American female under graduate students attending a large public university participated in this study. Primary data collection consisted of two in-depth semi-structured interviews with each participant of 60-90 minutes long per interview. Data analysis was based on Charmazs (2 006) constructivist grounded theory. In particular, two steps were used in generating emerging themes: Initial coding and focused coding. During initial coding, a ttention was placed on identifying units of meaning (Glaser, 1978, p.56). Focused coding consisted of the selection of the most 139

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significant categories and the development of emerging themes by using constant comparison methods (Charmaz, 2006). Findings presented in the concept ual model indicate that t he cultural Identity of the Korean American college student s was affected by their cu ltural environments. During high school, they were more likely to develop an identity in order to assimilate to the primary culture that they belonged to. As a result, participants identified themselves as either Asian (Korean) or Am erican, depending on how much they were exposed to their ethnic culture or to the Am erican culture. However, participants identified themselves biculturally as Korean American duri ng their college years. College allowed these students to become mentally and intellec tually independent, which formed the groundwork for developing their bi-cultural identity. In addition, it gave them more opportunities to experience culturally di verse environments resulting in a deeper understanding of their ow n cultural identities. The cultural Identity of the Korean American students was also affected by their own personal challenges. Ko rean American women participant s perceived distinctions between their home culture and mainstream cult ure, and they realized that they were controlled by their traditional values. These students also felt internal conflicts with their parents when they were expected to be obedi ent. Outside home, they faced racial alienation and a lack of cross cultural relationships. All of these aspects hindered these womens efforts to integrate into their campus community, and further into American society. However, addressing their own challenges allowed these students to learn where they stood as a bicultural individu al between two cultures and how they were able to 140

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negotiate their dual cultural lifestyle. Therefore, the bicultural Identity of the Korean American students was strengthened by neg otiating their personal cultural circumstances. These women did not ignore the challenges they faced. Instead, they actively negotiated these cultur al struggles in their own ways, and each tried to integrate the differences into their developing bicult ural identity. Conse quently, their efforts encouraged them to deeply understand, Who am I? and to develop their bicultural identity during thei r college years. Discussion This qualitative study aims to draw attenti on to emerging issues related to cultural identity in Korean American female undergraduate students. Many Asian Americans identify themselves as bicultural (Devos 2006; Lee et al., 2001; Rumbaut, 1994; Van Oudenhoven et al., 2006). This study also s upports this argument that participant students viewed themselves as Korean American biculturally. However, findings from this study further suggest that these Korean Americans became bicultural, in that they actively negotiated two distinct cultural belief systems and continually developed their own bicultural identity. For example, this study found that Korean American participants were not automatically bicultural on t he basis of their cultural duality during high school. They perceived neither the American nor the Asian (Korean) cultur e more salient and did not integrate their two cultures to develop their own cultural identity. Instead, these students simply developed their cultural identity by a ssimilating the culture that they belonged to. As a result, they identified themselves as either American or Asian (Korean), depending on how they gravitated toward certain groups and in which group they spent most of their time. This result supports previous research on ethnic/identity development 141

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indicating that minority students normally do not engage deeply in identity exploration during the pre-college year s (Ortiz & Santos, 2009). However, participant students gradually f ound themselves identifying as Korean Americans as they were exposed to more ethnically diverse env ironments, and they found people who could share their cultural uni queness by participating in a variety of campus events (e.g., class discussion, mult icultural festival). These students were encouraged in making their own decisions, whic h allowed them to cr itically explore who they were. In addition, they developed their bi cultural identity as they gained a sense of independence. As this study found, most Korean American female students not only obtained physically independent stat us as they moved out from their parents house for college attendance, but also were expected to grow as independent women. Being independent was a turning point of their lives because they had been strictly controlled by their parents for a long time. Accordi ngly, these students had more opportunity to see themselves as independent and grow fu lly as Korean Americans during their college years. This allowed the benefits of independence for these female Korean American students because they were able to look closely at their cu ltural challenges with their own perspectives by separating themselves from their parents authority. These experiences gave these women opport unities to understand who they are and to develop their own bicultural identity. From this study, it is also clear t hat these Korean Amer ican students suffered internal struggles because of different se ts of Korean and American values. In fact, internal struggles caused by cultural c onflicts have appeared since adolescence, which is consistent with many previous studies (e.g., Choi & Dancy 2009; Ngo & Le, 2007; 142

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Qin, Chang, Han, & Chee, 2012; Weaver & Kim, 2008). However, in this study the female Korean American students had different attitudes toward cultural conflicts between high school and college years. More specifically, these female Korean American students experienced cult ural conflicts without critically utilizing their own perspectives during high school, and as a result they accepted or rejected their ethnic cultures. They did not try to negotiate thei r cultural conflicts and instead just ignored their issues. However during college, these students overcame cultural conflicts using their own critical perspectives. They rec ognized their dual cultural life, understood cultural differences, and accordingly accept ed cultural conflicts. Their open attitudes toward dual cultural life encour aged them to equally develop t heir two cultural identities and consequently to negotiate cultural conflicts in their own unique ways. In this study, it was clearly identifi ed that Korean Americ an students experienced different acculturation status during their high school and college years. Berry (1980; 1990; 2003) addresses four types of acculturation: separ ation, marginalization, assimilation, and integration. According to Berry (1980; 1990; 2003), separation occurs when individuals reject the mainstream culture and accept their ethnic culture, while assimilation occurs when indi viduals reject their ethnic cultures and adopt their new host culture. In this study, Korean American participants during high school identified themselves mono-culturally as Korean (Asian ) or American. At this time, students negatively perceived or rejected their Korean cu lture regardless of how they identified themselves. Therefore, the a ssimilation status occurred during their high school years. However, their acculturation status shi fted when they went to college and developed their bicultural identity. According to Berry (1980; 1990; 2003), integration occurs when 143

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individuals equally adopt their ethnic culture and new host culture, while marginalization occurs when individuals reject both their et hnic culture and new cult ure. In this study, Korean American participants identified themselv es biculturally as Korean American during college. At this time, students accepted a dual cultural life by integrating their two cultures. Therefore the integrat ion status, which is also know n as biculturalism, occurred during their college years. In sum, this finding suggests that accu lturation status can be shifted as these students internally and intellectually grow. Korean American students experienced assimilation status as a one-dimensiona l process (Trimble, 2003) during high school, yet their assimilation status in college allo wed for biculturalism as a bi-dimensional process (Abe-Kim at al., 2001; Berry, 1980; Nguyen & von Eye, 2002; Ryder et al., 2000) as they integrated their Korean and Amer ican cultures during their college years. Therefore, it should be considered that i ndividuals acculturation status needs to be examined over their lif etime and how different acculturat ion levels impact their life experiences. Contemporary studies on biculturalism addr ess different types of bicultural individuals (e.g., Birman, 1994; LaFramboi s et al., 1993; Phinney & Devich-Navarro, 1997). For example, integration assumes t hat cultures are blended and merged into one coherent identity (Hong, Wan, No & Chiu 2007, p. 330). Theref ore, this type of bicultural individual integrates their two cultures without conflicts and identifies themselves, such as I am Mexican Amer ican (Phinney & Devich-Navarro, 1997). In this study, students viewed themselves as K orean American by equally identifying with and integrating both their Korean and American cultures. Their cultural conflicts were 144

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not neglected, but actively negotiated for their dual cultural life. As a result, their two distinct cultures were integrated and posit ively influenced in developing their own cultural identities. From this study, it wa s found that their cultur al negotiation can be characterized as a quilt rather than a melt ing pot, which implies that two cultures do not blend with each other. Rather, their posit ive cultural values are strengthened to make up for negative aspects of the other cultur e, while both cultures maintain their own characteristics. Specifically, students di d not abandon negatively pe rceived cultural values; instead they selectively enhanced positive aspects from two cult ures in their life. From this study, findings suggest that bicultur al individuals maintain two cultures equally with their distinct characteristics, yet t hey enhance more positivel y perceived cultural aspects from two cultures to integrate conflicts and cope with struggles. Consequently they are able to possess a dual cultural identity. Alternation, on the other hand, assumes s witching back and forth among cultural identities depending on the fit of the identity with the immediate context (Hong et al., 2007, p. 330). This type of bicultural individual switches their identity to fit different cultural contexts (Hong, Morris, Chiu & Benet-Martinez, 2000) and identifies themselves, such as either Mexicans or Americans (Phinney & Devich-Navarro, 1997). In this study, Korean American female students also switched their identities or behaviors in different social contexts such as their school and Korean community (e.g., speaking Korean at Korean church). However, there is an issue that I have to address regarding alte rnating bicultural identities as Phinney and Devich-Navarro conceptualized it. Phinney and DevichNavarro (1997) suggested different types of individuals to understand bicultural 145

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identities. In particular, they labeled individuals who identified with two cultures without conflicts as blended and those who switch ed their cultural identities between two cultures, depending on contexts, as alter nating. However, some researchers have argued that blended and alter nating cannot be considered as the same category when discussing bicultural ident ity, because alternating is an individuals behavior, to strategically switch their cultur al frame to fit various situati ons, while blended refers to identity (e.g., Nguyen & Benet-Martinez, 2007). Th is study supports this argument that Korean American students are characterized as blended biculturally. However, at the same time they showed alternating characte ristics in that they strategically switched their behaviors to negotiate their cultural ci rcumstances. Consequently, it suggests that individuals who integrate their two cultures more flexibly may behave by shifting their cultural identity or behaviors, depending on how they are situated in different contexts, in order to negotiate their cu ltural conflicts. Therefore, both blended and alternating are important components for individuals who develop their own bicultural identity. This study argues that achievement of an ethnic identity significantly affects the establishment of a bicultural identi ty. For example, Phinney (1989, 1993) conceptualized three stages of identity development: unexamined ethnic identity (diffusion-foreclosure), ethnic identity search (moratorium), and ethnic identity achievement (achievement). Phinney (1989, 1993) suggested that individuals establish a bicultural identity in the stage of ethnic identity achievement, and they accept their ethnic membership without conflict while obt aining a secure sense of ethnic identity (Evans et al., 1998). As findings in this st udy indicated, most Korean American female students did not positively perceive their ethnic cultures and identity during 146

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adolescence. However, they learned to regard their two cultures as equally valuable as they understood and negotiated t heir ethnic cultures, and established their own identities with both Korean and American cu ltures. Ethnic identity development was important for these female Korean Am erican undergraduate students in moving them toward bicultural awareness. Therefore, to establish a su ccessful bicultural identity, achievement of ethnic identity is necessary. Korean American female students in this study developed a sense of belonging by selectively choosing their peer groups. Student participants most ly developed their social relationships with Asian (particula rly Korean) Americans who could share their cultures and their unique circumstances. Thus, cultural comfort was a main reason for these female students to choose Korean Am ericans as their peer group. Having relationships with people who shared their cultural challenges was emotionally beneficial for these students, but at the same time, issues r egarding social relationships occurred. Previous literature stated that Asian Americans are confronted with more social isolation, self-segregation, and exclus ion (Suyemoto et al., 2009, p. 42). This study found that some students were concerned with their limited social relationships. Because they established their own social groups within Asian student associations or Korean church associations, it limited opport unities for these wome n to interact with different racial groups of student s. As a result, it provoked t heir sense of social isolation and lack of cross cultural experiences. Some research indicates that college students strengthen their academic and social life and subsequently enhance their self-esteem by engaging with diverse peer groups on campus (Chang et al., 2004; Gloria & Ho, 147

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2003). Korean American female students lack of social interaction with diverse peer groups emerged as an issue in thei r academic life during college. Interestingly, however, cultural comfort was not established wit h native Koreans, despite that fact that they were able to s hare their traditional cultural values. In this study, most students found themselves different from native Koreans and thus separated themselves from t hem. Presumably, this perc eption discouraged them from identifying themselves as simply Korean, because their meaning of Korean is likely to be different from how native Koreans iden tified themselves. This finding contributes to the idea that these sec ond generation students have est ablished themselves within their own lives in American society and therefore the differences cannot be overlooked when discussing their ethnicity. The field of higher education research has given relatively little attention to how Korean American women negotiate their cultural conflicts. Literature has found that Asian Americans avoid professional psychologi cal help (Abe-Kim et al., 2007), although some Asian Americans are more open to hav ing outside support (Gloria et al., 2008; Shim & Schwartz, 2007). Previous research states that some acculturated Korean American women openly welcom e counseling support to overcome their challenges (Gloria et al., 2008; Yi & Tidwell, 2005). However, this study found that these Korean American participants did not seek professi onal and psychological support to overcome their challenges. Instead, they internalized their cultural conflicts and tried to cope by themselves. This tendency may contribute to mis understandings about these women students, assuming that they are problem-free high ac hievers (Suzuki, 20 02, p. 29). These 148

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students typically are academically high achieving (Aud et al., 2010), and thus they are usually positively perceived as a model minori ty (see e.g., The New Whiz Kids, 1987). However, they may be ignored when colle ge administrators design support programs for cultural minority student s, because their challenges o ften times have not surfaced. Since Korean American female students avoid outside help, college administrators may have difficulty understanding their struggles and overlook these students when developing appropriate support services. From this study, it is clear that t hese Korean American female students suffered cultural struggles related to preconceive d gender expectations. Judith Butler (1990) conceptualizes gender as performative. She argued that performativity encompasses the process of making gendered selves that reproduce social norms of femaleness and maleness, femininity and masculinity, heter osexuality and homosexuality (Lorber, 2005). Therefore, gender perfo rmativity can be understood as the manner that certain socially constructed gender norms or gender expectations are constantly produced and reproduced by society. These socially constructed gender norms guide individuals behaviors depending on their gender. In this study, Korean American female students felt specific gender expectations from their immigrant familie s and ethnic community. Masculine and feminine dichotomy originating from ethnic cult ural values are reproduced th rough their home culture by their immigrant family and impacted these women students daily lives. From the traditional Korean cultural values, this binary opposition reinforces hierarchical relationships. Therefore, the Korean American female students in this study experienced patriarchal and hierarchical family structures and felt expected to 149

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subordinate to their parents or male c ounterparts. These Korean American female students struggled with adopting so cially constructed gender expectations enforced by their immigrant parents and ethnic communi ty, because these gender expectations strictly controlled their lives, such as how these women were supposed to behave as Korean American women. These women student s also felt judged by gender norms on certain criteria heavily infl uenced by traditional values. For example, socially, dating and marriage ar e critical issues regarding gender expectations and have caused intergeneratio nal conflict among participants. Extant research literature indicate s that Asian American women suffer internal conflicts over issues of dating and marriage (Chung, 2001; Ngo, 2002). Likewise, Korean American women in this study perceived strong parental expectations of social relationships, which were often times represented as a means of controlling dating and marriage. Most Korean parents, str ongly influenced by traditional values, discourage their daughters from dating during co llege years, yet encourage th eir daughters to be married at a young age and from within certain groups. T hey particularly want their daughters to meet Korean Americans, because Korean parent s seemed to consider dating partners of their daughters to be a potential future son-in -law. Thus, in order to keep their family extension in their immigrant life, they have to ensure that their daughters date and married someone who speaks Korean. In a sense, having relationships with so meone who can share their cultures may be beneficial for these women students; however they risk losing an opportunity to understand culturally diverse environments in society. In addition students who did not meet parents expectations continually felt guilty for dating non-Korean Americans. 150

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Having relationships with non-Koreans ma y be unavoidable to Korean Americans who live in the American society. Previous rese arch has stated that interracial dating of Asian American women is relatively high (Mok, 1999). This study also found that many students were interested in dating non-Koreans and actually dated interracially. In certain cases, interracial dating and/or marri age may also cause racial discrimination in social relationships. From this study, it was found that Kor ean American women who interracially dated may have struggled, in t hat people still have prej udice against race. Evidently, these multiple challenges relat ed to dating hindered the development of their social lives during their college years. Another critical issue that female Korean American under graduate students faced is related to their personal appearance. Th is study found that Korean American society exerted an influence on these students body images and subsequently negatively contributed to their emoti onal struggles. These Korean Am erican female undergraduate students were more emotionally chall enged when their physical appearance was controlled and judged by their pa rents or their local Korean community (e.g., Korean church, Korean local store). In particular, being directly criticized about their physical appearance made these women student s culturally confused. In a sense, the Korean Americans were community-oriented, and so, in their closed-knit community, Korean people felt comfortable offering advice to these young Korean Americans regarding their personal image. However, it caused thes e young women students emotional conflict with their American values. In addition, being criticized frequently by others regarding their body (e.g., parents, store owners, chur ch members) contributed to their poor psychological health and body image. From this study, it is clear that being repeatedly 151

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judged regarding their pers onal appearance undermined their self-esteem and negatively affected the social lives of student participants. Most Korean American students in this study made an effort to meet the expectations of both their Korean and American communities. In particular, they were careful with their dress code (i.e., avoiding short pants) when they visited their local Korean community, because they did not want their parents and themselves to be the subject of gossip within the Korean community. These experiences negatively affected their perceptions of ethnic cultural values and subsequently hindered development of their own bicultural identity. Therefore, this study suggests that the necessity of negotiating negative gender expectations ma y have caused cultural conflicts. Exceptionally, however, Korean American women did not perceive negative gender expectations academically in this st udy. Rather, they received great academic support from their parents. For instance, previous research has indicated that higher educational opportunities for Asian American women are somehow limited due to the influence of certain traditional values ( Lee, 1997). However, Kor ean American women in this study have had equal educati onal opportunity to their sib lings and were encouraged in their academic achievements by their parents in the United States. It seems likely that educational opportunity for these women st udents was not affected by traditional cultural values. This result supports the tendency among Korean American families immigrating to the United Stated to purs ue opportunities in higher education since 1990s (Min, 2006c). One of the various ways to live a transnational life style for Korean Americans is by having dual language proficiency. B ilingualism was a strategically appropriate 152

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behavior for these women students to negotiate t heir cultural conflicts. They switched their language depending on ho w each language was primar ily used in different settings. Shi & Lu (2007) demonstrated that Chinese American young adults have a positive perception toward maintaining bilingu al competency, saying they are able to better communicate with their family and be tter understand their ethic culture. This study found that most student s experienced linguistic ba rriers in communication with their parents. Speaking and maintaining a second language are difficult for both parents and their children, though children tend to be slightly better than their parents regarding second language proficiency. Students usually are expected by their parents to speak their native language at home. It can be challenging for so me Korean Americans who are not able to speak Korean fluently. In order to negotiate this challenge, Korean American students usually speak English mixed with Korean words (i.e., Konglish) in their conversation, in particular when they ta lk with their parents. This effort helps students reduce cultural conflicts resulti ng from miscommunication. Speaking Konglish means accepting their two cultures in their life, and it eventually he lps to promote their bicultural identity (Lee, 2002). For Korean Americans, mainta ining their native language is the best way to comprehend their et hnic culture and heritages, and eventually contributes to both cultures being equally import ant in their life. Ther efore, in order to establish bicultural identity, dual language ability is necessary. Implications and Recommendations From this study, findings suggest that female Korean American undergraduate students achieved bicultural identity by negotiating their cultural conflicts. Conflicts between their two cultures are unavoidable because the two cultures have distinctly different belief systems but function conc urrently. The following section discusses 153

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implications and recommendations for co llege administrators to better understand Korean Americans students and serve appropr iate support programs to them. Additionally, it offers implic ations for future research so that academic researchers may gain deeper knowledge related to Asian Amer ican college women and their cultural life experiences. Implications for Practice Korean American female undergraduate students face academic, social, and cultural challenges during their college years, and thus they need support programs to help them successfully deal with their cha llenges and achieve their own bicultural identities. As findings from this study indica te, their social lives can be very limited. For example, Korean American student s established social relationships with other Korean Americans in college for their own comfort and familiarity. Simultaneously they are discouraged from developing social relation ships with other racial groups by their parents and ethnic community. It certainly is benef icial for them to share their cultures and their own cultural conflicts with Korean Am ericans. However, in the long run, it may be harmful for these women students to adjus t to American life after they graduate, because society is very diverse and they ma y feel an unfamiliar burden in dealing with cultural diversity in the work place. College administrators should encourage and promote these students to have more cross-cultural experiences Therefore, administration should develop appropriate support programs for these students that could improve their social relationships. First, colleges and universities should hire more diverse faculty members from different cultural backgrounds and encourage them to nurture a classroom for sharing their values and experiences with students. In turn, faculty members can also offer various 154

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diversity classes and bring cultural and racial issues to class discussion so that students are aware of diversity during their college years and can develop open attitudes toward cultural diversity in their lives. Also, student affair professionals should rec ognize the importance of cross cultural diversity. This study found that Kor ean American undergraduate students had great support from Asian (Korean) American student organizations offered by multicultural affairs programs. These organizations help students develop their ethnic identity and closely attach with people who are ethnically and culturally connected. As findings from this study indicate, most students developed their social relationships through Asian (Korean) American student associations at the beginning of thei r college years, and then nothing really changed regarding social relationships through their collegiate experience. It is clear that student associations can play a critical role for these students in helping them to develop and establish their so cial relationships. However, in a sense, because they greatly depend on Asian (Korean) American student associations, they may lose an opportunity to develop their soci al relationships with culturally different groups of people during their college years. Therefore, this study suggests that multicultural affairs professionals should provide various programs for students to explore cross-cultural experiences on campus so that students are able to be both racially and ethnically connected and ex tend their relationships on campus. From this study, it is evident that Korean American student s negotiate cultural conflicts with their own ways. To avoid cu ltural misunderstanding with native Koreans, these students strategically used both languages. Some students were perfectly bilingual, yet most students had difficult y speaking their native language. Speaking and 155

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maintaining their heritage language is sa lient to understanding their ethnic cultures, thereby achieving their own bi cultural identity (Lee, 2002). Unfortunately, many Korean American students need to learn more about the Korean language and cultures. If they are able to learn Korean on campus, that would be academically beneficial. First, students can have more pride of themselves as being Korean and can be motivated in learning the Korean language. This attitude also promotes a positive perception toward their ethnic culture and propels them in developing their own bicu ltural identities. In turn, having the Korean language taug ht on campus is also beneficial to other college students. They have an opportunity to lear n and understand different cultures and consequently decrease cultural stereot ypes and discriminat ion. Therefore, administrators should consider these benefits when they design academic curricula and offer appropriate language classes for students. Administrators should also encourage instructors to offer cultural sharing as well as language lessons. This study also suggests for administrat ors to enhance support programs to assist students with successful college life. Korean American students may experience confusion during their college years due to lack of outside advice. Most students gain knowledge from peer groups informally. Howeve r, it could be limit ed for these students to obtain information. For exam ple, some students in this study indicated that they wanted to know about non-premed academic areas. However because there were not many Asian Americans in non-math and sci ence academic fields, students found it difficult to obtain information about other ac ademic fields from their close Asian peer groups. Although some students received advice from academic profe ssionals, they still relied on their peer groups. Presumably they were reluctant to seek educational 156

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assistance when they struggled with academic challenges. In fact, Korean American students in this study did not seek profession al help, despite the fact that they were faced with both academic and social challenges Most of them seemed to internalize and take care of their issues themselves. Ther efore, administrators should offer tailored counseling programs (e.g., academic advice, ca rrier resources, psychological support, multicultural counseling) that Korean American female students are encouraged to utilize. These counseling programs should be connected to multicultural affairs departments for greater effectiveness so that students may more comfortably use these programs and have appropria te assistance conveniently Implications for Research This study offers several recommendations for future research. Frequently, Asian Americans have been described as a homogeneous group and easily categorized into one single racial category to be compared wit h other racial groups (Teranishi, 2007). As a result, individual experiences are ignored by academic researchers. Korean American undergraduate students academ ic lives are quite researched yet their social and cultural lives still need to be explored. This study focused on female Korean American undergraduate students cultural lives. Through this study, their unique cultural circumstances were deeply explored and vari ous ways for negotiating their challenges were identified. Therefore, findings fr om this study support educators and student services professionals in their effort s to understand ethnic gr oups of women. However, findings should not be considered generalizable due to individuals uniqueness and to the small num ber of students studied. I ndividuals have different circumstances resulting from their cultur al backgrounds and thereby have their own cultural experiences. Consequently these findings cannot be directly applicable to other 157

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individuals to understand their cultural lives despite seemingly similar circumstances (e.g., cultural duality). However, this st udy provides an import ant glimpse that will hopefully motivate academic researchers in terested in multiculturalism to better understand immigrant women s cultural lives, and guide these researchers methodologically when they design similar st udies for different groups of immigrant women students. In order to more deeply comprehend immigrant students cultural lives, further research should be designed for individuals from different cultures and different contexts. This qualitative study was conducted utilizing individual in-depth interviews. By listening to and comprehending this group of st udents individual voices, this research obtains insight into Korean American co llege womens unique world. From the interviews, it is evident that these wom en students struggled with cultural conflicts concerning intergenerational expectations while developing their own bicultural identities. However, this study explored only these students perceptions of their bicultural lives. Their parents perceptions toward their adult children were overlooked, though understanding parents val ues and beliefs are important aspects in negotiating intergenerational cultural conflicts. Therefor e, this study suggests using a technique of triangulation by extending to other types of participants. Specifically, it encourages researchers interested in multicultural i dentity development to extend their interview participants not only to students, but also to their parents or community to gain more information so that researchers can obtain a more comprehensive view of cultural conflicts and negotiations in developi ng Korean American undergraduate students bicultural identities. 158

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Findings of this study suggest that t hese female Korean American students struggled with internal challenges through negatively experienced ethnic cultures. Their inner challenges seemed to be internalized and were not externalized for academic researchers and service providers to prov ide assistance. Therefore, this study encourages psychological researchers to pa y more attention to ethnically minority women students and focus on their invisible c hallenges resulting from negative ethnic cultural experiences so that service provi ders can effectively use this information when designing programs. This study observed that students cultural identity development is strongly influenced by their parents. In this study these Korean American students sense of values was affected by their parents cultur al values, because evidently their parents strongly engage with Korean culture and maintain its heritages. Yet, this study did not consider how multi-racial Korean Americans perceive their more than two cultural values from interracial parents and how they negotiate their complex cultural life. Findings from this study indicate that bicu ltural development is closely associated with ethnic identity development. Then, it offers further questions into how multi-racial Korean Americans negotiate their mainstream culture and their mult iple ethic cultures. This idea would be on the assumption that these students may face different challenges that mono-racial Korean Amer ican experiences in developing t heir own cultural identity. Therefore, further research should be conducted to expl ore how biracial Korean American students understand their cultural circumstances and negotiate conflicts while developing their own cultural identity. 159

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This study also suggests further questi ons into how recent Korean immigrant students negotiate their ethnic culture and thei r new host culture. These students may struggle with their cultural dual ity while they assimilate to the American mainstream culture. As this study found, Korean American students during high school struggled with different cultural expectations between their two cultures. In that case, Korean culture plays a negative role for these participants in developing their own cultural identity. However, for recent immigrant students, strongly affected by their ethnic culture, American culture may give rise to confusion in developing their own cultural identity. Therefore, it is necessary to understand how recent immigrant students negotiate their given American mainstream culture and t heir ethnic culture, and how they integrate their dual cultur al lifestyle so that they successfully develop their own bicultural identity. Findings in this study indicated that immigrant students are influenced by their ethnic cultural values due to their parents transnational life styles. Therefore, different cultural expectations, including gender expectat ions, originating from their ethnic culture were maintained by their family and local ethn ic communities in the American society. In fact, keeping transnational life style for immigrant families is now common because of the globalization phenomenon. Ther efore, this study suggests future research that explores how other Asian immigrant groups such as Chinese Americans, or other racial groups including Latino Americans, who maintain transnational life style, negotiate their cultural conflicts and integrate their dual cu ltural life style in the American society. Lastly, this study acknowledged that Korean Americans change and develop their cultural identity by continually reflecting on their experiences and their own perceptions 160

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as they grow. It can be assumed that bicu ltural identity development is a life-long process, just like other identity development theories (e.g., ethnic identity development). Therefore, longitudinal research is needed to obtain a better understanding into how Korean American students continually re-exami ne their own cultural experiences and perceptions to integrate their dual cultural lives and achieve their own bicultural identity. Concluding Thoughts The number of Asian American women enrolled in Americ an higher education has increased over the years (Kew alRamani et al., 2007), yet th is group of students has been relatively unexplored (Hune, 1998). Steadily rising enrollment of Asian American women in higher education and the lack of attention from academia often times make their unique challenges invisible. This study contributes to American higher education research by indicating that college admin istration should focu s on Korean American students and their cultural challenges and prov ide tailored support and assistance for these women students to establish their identity: Who am I? Findings of the study suggest that wom en students undergo certain processes to develop their bicultural identity, and they continually negotiate conflicts caused by cultural differences. This study acknowledges that students have their own perspective toward their dual cultural life experiences as they intellectually grow and more actively negotiate their cultural circumstances. In the process of bicultural identity development, internal conflicts between two cultures conti nually occur as they c onfront two distinct cultural belief systems. Although most students in this study tried to overcome their challenges without professional help, they faced difficulty in doing so. They needed institutional support and educatio nal programs, which are of easy access to students, so that they could feel a sense of belonging on their campus and emotionally safe when 161

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developing their values. Attention to Asi an American college womens cultural lives moves the field of diversity forward and encourages academic scholars to conduct studies to better understand these groups of students, and mitigate misunderstanding of Asian American college women. As this study states, Korean Americans typically become bicultural. This study ultimately s uggests that these students must have support in their efforts to negotiate their cultural lives in order to safely develop their own bicultural identity. 162

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APPENDIX A IRB DOCUMENTATION UFIRB 02 Social & Behavioral Research Protocol Submission Form This form must be typed. Send this form and the suppo rting documents to IRB02, PO Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611. Should you have questions about completing this form, call 352-392-0433. Title of Protocol: The Negotiation of Korean American Female Undergraduate Students Bicultural Identities Principal Investigator: Sun-Young Kim UFID #: Degree / Title: Doctoral student Email: Department: School of human development and organizational studies in education Mailing Address: (If on campus include PO Box address): Telephone #: Co-Investigator(s): UFID#: Email: Supervisor (If PI is student) : Pilar Mendoza UFID#: Degree / Title: Ph.D. Assistant Professor Email : Department: Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education Mailing Address: (If on campus include PO Box address): Telephone #: Date of Proposed Research: 01/23/2012-01/23/2013 Source of Funding (A copy of the grant proposal must be submitted with this protocol if funding is involved): Scientific Purpose of the Study: The purpose of this study is to understand how Korean American undergraduate students negotiate conflict between Korean and American cultur es and establish their bi cultural identity. Describe the Research Methodology in Non-Technical Language: ( Explain what will be done with or to the 163

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research participant. ) In-depth semi structure interviews will be utilized as the primary tool to conduct this study. Ten Korean American female undergraduate st udents who are currently enrolled at the University of Florida will be asked to participate in interviews that will be conducted on the UF campus (e.g., library study room) by researc hers. Each participant will be interviewed three times. The first interview will last 60-90 minut es and ten questions will be asked (see interview attached guide). The second, less structured inte rview, will be used to develop the properties of categories of analysis and to check the accu racy of preliminary findings (please see the second interview attached sample guide). More s pecifically, the second interview will be based on emerging themes that the researcher found fr om the first interview to enhance precision of emerging ideas. The second interv iew will last 30-60 minutes. The final interview will be used to develop the properties of categories of analysis and to check the accuracy of findings (please see the third interview attached samp le guide). The third interview will last 30-60 minutes. All interviews will be audio recor ded and transcribed by the researcher. Describe Potential Benefits: In general, this study will provide an opportuni ty to understand how female Korean American undergraduate students archive bicultural identity. This may al so give university administrators and student affairs professional s an opportunity to comprehend ethnic minority students as they develop support programs. Finally, this st udy may afford readers fu rther understanding of female Korean American students and the educati onal experiences in American colleges and universities. Describe Potential Risks: ( If risk of physical, psychological or eco nomic harm may be involved, describe the steps taken to protect participant.) No more than minimum risks are anticipated. Describe How Participan t(s) Will Be Recruited: I will contact the Multicultural & Diversity Affairs (e.g., Asian Pacific Islander American Affairs) and ask administrative assistants to forward the recruitment ema il to Korean female students (please see the recruitment email attached sa mple guide). In addition, participants will be recruited through referrals from people that I( primary researcher) know and referrals from interview participants. All particip ants are asked to contact the res earcher (PI) via email if they are interested in participating in this study. 164

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Maximum Number of Participants (to be approached with consent) 10 female Korean American undergraduate students. Age Range of Participants: Participants have to be over 19 years old. (Participants class should be sophomore and higher) Amount of Compensation/ course credit: Each participant will be compensated with a $20 gift card to coffee/food company. Describe the Informed Consent Process. (Attach a Copy of the Informed Consent Document. See http://irb.ufl.edu/irb02/samples.html for examples of consent.) An informed consent form will be provided to participants prior the interviews. Participation is completely voluntary (SIGNATURE SECTION) Principal Investigator(s) Signature: Date: Co-Investigator(s) Signature(s): Date: Supervisors Signature (if PI is a student): Date: Department Chair Signature: Date: 165

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APPENDIX B CONSENT FORMS Protocol Title: The Negotiation of Korean Americ an Female Undergraduate Students Bicultural Identities Please read this consent document carefully before you decide to participate in this study. Purpose of the research study: The purpose of this study is to understand how Korean American undergraduate students negotiate conflict between Korean and American cultures and establish their bicultural identity. The Research Methodology: Each participant will be interviewed three times. The first interview will last 60-90 minutes and 12 questions will be asked. The second interview will be conducted to develop the properties of categories of analysis. More specifically, the second interview will be based on emerging t hemes that the researcher found from the first interview to enhance precision of em erging ideas. The second interview will last 30-60 minutes. The final interview will be con ducted to check the accuracy of findings. The third interview will last 30-60 minutes. What you will be asked to do in the study: To answer and discuss 12 interview questions. Time required: 60-90 minutes Risks and Benefits: No more than minimal risk. This study will provide an opportunity to understand how female Korean American undergraduate students ar chive bicultural identities. This may also give university administrators and student affairs professionals an opportunity to comprehend ethnic minorit y students as they develop support programs. Finally, this study may afford r eaders further understandi ng of female Korean American students and the educational expe riences in American colleges and universities. Compensation: Each participant will be compens ated with a $20 gift card to coffee/food Company. Confidentiality: Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. The interviews will be audio-recor ded, that any identifying in formation will be removed at transcription, and the recordings will be des troyed after transcription, which will be done within 10 weeks after the interview. Also, the names of the participants will not 166

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be used in any research reports or presentat ions. The final results will be presented in a paper and be sent to education journals and magazines for possible publication. Voluntary participation: Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. Right to withdraw from the study: You have the right to wit hdraw from the study at anytime without consequence. You do not have to answer any questions you do not want to answer. Whom to contact if you have questions about the study: Sun-Young Kim Email: Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study: UFIRB Office, Box 112250, University of Fl orida, Gainesville, FL 32611-2250; ph 3920433. I have read the procedure outlined above. I voluntarily agree to participate in this study and have received a copy of this description. Participants signature and date ________________________ _____________ Principle investigators signature and date ________________________ _____________ 167

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APPENDIX C INITIAL PROTOCOL Interview ProtocolFirst Interview I would like to share your cultural and educ ational experiences and I want to ask few questions. 1. Could you give me some backg round information about yourself? 2. How would you identify yourself? 3. What were some things that were challenging in developing your identity? 4. What does being a Korean American woman mean to you? 5. What specific challenges do you face in your life as a Korean American woman at home/community/schools? 6. Describe family/community expectat ions (based on gender, birth order, relationships, ethic language, and education). 7. How would you describe Korean cultural va lues/American cultural values in your life? 8. How important are your Korean cultural values and Am erican cultural values to you in developing your social life? 9. What events were challenging during your college years because of your Korean cultural values? 10. How do you find balance between Korean cultural values and American cultural values? 11. Describe the events/circumst ances that you faced in your academic and social life during your college years. 12. How do you overcome challenges in your academic and social life during your college years? 168

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APPENDIX D FOLLOW UP INTERVIEW PROTOCOL Interview ProtocolSecond Interview The second interview will consist of fo llow up questions on preliminary findings that the researcher found from the first interview. Here is sample of general questions for second interview. However, the other questions will be dete rmined by preliminary findings to clarify and add further detail. 1. Last time we discussed dual cultural lives and you were saying you struggled because of your parents control duri ng high school. But you experienced less control and more independence after leaving your parents house to attend college. I would like to know more detail about what happen to you and how did you feel. So, how do you feel about this finding? 2. Could you give me some examples of your experiences during high school and college? 3. How did you deal wit h your challenges? 4. What did you learn from those experiences? 169

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APPENDIX E FINAL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL Interview ProtocolFinal Interview The final interview focused more on mem ber checking to validate the accuracy of interview statements. Here is sample of general questions for final interview. However, the other questions will be based on issues discussed by each participant during the interview. 1. I want to present a brief summary of findings emerging in my study and explained the theoretical model. I also would like to ask you about your thoughts on the findings. 2. How do you feel about this theory? 3. What do you think of my interpretations? 4. Is there any finding or interpretation that made you uncomfortable? 5. Please check all personal background information and quotations that I would be using in this study. Then tell me if you have any question. 170

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APPENDIX F CODING TRAIL Focused coding Selective coding Categories Having the school environment affecting KA cultural identity Assimilating to the primary culture that KA belong to Cultural environments affecting the Identity Experiencing cultural diversity Having more sophisticated views of race Being exposed to cultural diversity Having sense of independence confusion associated with independence Seeking outside help Experiencing independence Cultural Exposure Gravitating toward cultural comfort Detaching themselves from native Koreans Depending on ethnic groups Concerning limited social relationships Lack of cross cultural social relationships Facing racial stereotypes Facing racial stereotypes Experiencing intergenerational conflicts Obeying Experiencing power relations Preconceived gender role expectations Restricted social relationships Personal appearance Facing gender expectations Lack of social integration Making up for negative cultural values Balancing two cultures to minimize cultural conflicts Cultural negotiation 171

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Managing cultural conflicts with parents Switching cultural behaviors Maintaining ethnic language Overcoming strategies related to religious belief 172

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APPENDIX G RECRUITMENT EMAIL Hello, My name is Sun Young Kim and I am a doctoral student in higher education administration. I would like to invite you to par ticipate in my research study. In particular, I am seeking to interview Korean Amer ican female undergraduate students who are currently sophomore and higher. The purpose of this study is to understand how Korean American undergraduate student s negotiate conflict between Korean and American cultures and establish their bicu ltural identity. I would like to know about your cultural experiences through this study. Each partici pant will be asked to participate in an interview that will last about 60-90 minut es and a follow up interview and member checking that will last about 30-60 minutes. Ea ch participant will be compensated with a $20 gift card to coffee/food Company. I believe that this qualitative inquiry will give you an opportunity to share your valuable ex perience and enhance your awareness as a Korean American in American society. If you are interested in participating in an interview, please contact me at: Thank you for your consideration. Sun Young Kim 173

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Sun-Young Kim was born in Suwon, Korea. She came to the United States after she got married and pursued her masters degree in educational leadership, in the Department of Educational Administration and Po licy at the University of Florida. In 2008, Sun-Young began her PhD in the same department at the Univ ersity of Florida and changed her major to higher education adminis tration. Her academic interest is in diversity in secondary and post secondary educati on. In particular, she is interested in developing support programs fo r underrepresented groups including women, minorities, and LGBT students. She lives in Ga inesville with her husband and daughter. 189