The Immigrant Learning Center (ILC) published a study that shares the stores of 36 children of immigrants from a wide variety of countries of origin and family businesses. In the report aptly titled Adult Children of Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Memories and Influences , there is conclusive evidence that the children are heavily influenced by their immigrant entrepreneur parents, fostering in them a desire to pursue an education and what has been dubbed the American dream. All of the young adults interviewed developed a strong work ethic due to witnessing firsthand the experiences of their parents’ struggles as they integrated into their new home in the U.S. They spent a fairly long amount of time along side their parents in their place of business and gained valuable experience taking on various activities, especially when interacting with customers and engaging in other business-related tasks. And because they often had better English language skills than their immigrant parents, many of them served as de facto language brokers. This time spent working with their parents provided them with valuable business and social skills, giving them the confidence that allowed them to excel in school. Because of their own struggles, education is valued very highly by the immigrant entrepreneur parents, and consequently stimulated their children to achieve high education levels. Many of the young adults interviewed had pursued graduate school degrees after graduating from college. They related how their immigrant parents wanted them to excel educationally, get good and stable jobs, and live more comfortable lives than their parents had. They realized that their parents had performed difficult manual labor, and had sacrificed their weekends and worked all the time so that they could pursue higher education. The ILC found that “there is an inherent appreciation among the adult children of immigrant entrepreneurs for the sacrifices their parents made to ensure that they have successful careers and lead normal lives in their adopted homeland.” As with many American families, the immigrant entrepreneurs highlighted in this study want their children to excel and have opportunities that they themselves did not have. The children saw the tremendous sacrifices their parents made for them, and were consequently motivated to not only excel in school and in their careers, but to also chose careers that allow them to give back to the community. Clearly, the American Dream is alive and well in these immigrant families.
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