An Autoethnographic Exploration of Assisting Youth Living Between South-Asian and Canadian Experiences

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Nathan, Priscilla
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This thesis explores the bicultural experience of an Indo-Fijian Canadian female living between and betwixt two distinct cultures in the North American context. This is a self-study, I the subject and researcher at once. Using the qualitative methodology of autoethnography, I explore my childhood experiences of balancing the norms and expectations of my two distinct cultures. Through reflexive vignettes, I explore events, periods and processes that shaped my understanding of my dual identity during the developmental years. Recalling ways in which I negotiated and reconciled the two realms of myself, has led me into an exploration of the socio-cognitive processes for young people living between South-Asian and Canadian experiences. This exploration has helped me to analyze the ways in which bicultural youth navigate meanings, communities and contexts in a complex and diverse world. Through the personal experience of the author, this type of research can give others an insider perspective into young South-Asian bicultural experiences. While the experience of each South-Asian-Canadian youth is unique, the introspection and evaluation provided by this autoethnography can bring awareness to the multiplicity and complexity of such an identity process. This account of bicultural identity development can provide insight for counsellors and educators who work closely with South-Asian-Canadian youth and also strengthen my own practice as a multicultural counsellor. The results of this study were illustrated with vignettes in Chapter IV. Chapters I through III present respectively an introduction, a review of literature findings and the research methodology. Chapter V offers a comparative discussion, implications for counsellors and educators working with bicultural South-Asian youth, avenues for further research and conclusion.