Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2007

Degree Type



This project is inspired by my experience as a child of two African immigrant parent from Kinshasa, Congo. I was raised in a household where Congolese values were held to a very high standard, and I was told that these types of values should be incorporated into my daily life as a child, a young adult and later an adult. Despite living in the United States and living in n English speaking society, I never had conversations with my parents in English and was greatly encouraged to talk to my parents in their native language of Swahili or Lingala (Congolese dialect). As the only individual on immediate family who adequately spoke English, I served as my parents' bridge into the American culture and way of life. When watching shows on American television, my parents would ask me what the individuals on television were saying or question me about the plot and storyline to a movie that we were altogether watching. On to more concerns, I would also become to be useful when I became a translator in their quest to obtain permanent citizenship and would as me to write a letter to Immigration Naturalization Services offices in Washington D.C. in order to describe their situations as political refugees in the United States and the reason why they cannot return to their native country due to the array of difficult political and social situations. However, I would not serve as a bridge and interpreter when it came to my academic life. Suddenly, my English skills were not sufficient enough when it came to explaining to them how much homework I had to get done or explaining the letter American grading system to them. Instead, they relied more on the administrators of the school when it came to their child's academic endeavors.