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My Life (Translated): College Dreams

Growing up with immigrant parents poses a challenge of struggling not only to find the balance with parents, but also to find the balance with cultures. While rebelling may be a right of passage for young people in the U.S., it certainly is not for many immigrant families.

Sonia is the typical 19-year-old American girl. She's a full time college student, has a fulltime job and a boyfriend, and somewhere manages to squeeze in trips to the movies and the mall with her friends. But Sonia is also the eldest daughter in a Mexican-American family. For her, that means she has to take care of her younger siblings, help cook and clean, be home before all her American friends, and - most of all - respect her parent's rules. Whatever she does, wherever she goes, family always comes first.

And this is her dilemma: How can she be the American success story, the first in her family to graduate college, to even dream of business school, or to lead an independent life -- when her parents expect her family duties to always come first? This conflict is coming close to a meltdown as Sonia contemplates actually dropping out of college to fulfill her cultural expectations.

For Latinas, the search for an independent identity is often further complicated by gender expectations within the culture. Most Latinas are proud of their culture's commitment to family, respect for authority and the prominence of the role of mother and wife. But these cultural expectations can often conflict with an independent, American identity.

Sonia is enriched by her culture, but she needs to strike a balance. And like many second generation Americans, Sonia wants the best of both worlds.

 Find out what Rosario Dawson has to say about her Latina identity

 Check out SuChin's own experiences with this issue

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Watch My Life: (Translated) College Dreams

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 Current trends among the Latinos and their college choices.


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