Assets-Based Learning Abroad: First-Generation Latinx College Students Leveraging and Increasing Community Cultural Wealth in Costa Rica


  • David Wick Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
  • Tasha Y. Willis California State University, Los Angeles
  • Jacqueline Rivera California State University, Los Angeles
  • Evelyn Lueker University of California, San Diego
  • Maria Hernandez California State University, Los Angeles



Community cultural wealth, First-generation college students, Latinx college students, Study abroad, Costa Rica, homestay, service-learning


This qualitative study counters deficit narratives about first generation Latinx students by exploring multi ple forms of community cultural wealth (CCW; Yosso, 2005) that 25 students leveraged and increased during service activities and homestays in Costa Rica. Through longitudinal data and with CCW as a conceptual framework, three key themes emerged First, s tudents were able to leverage their linguistic and familial capital to connect quickly and meaningfully with locals. Additionally, students drew upon their linguistic, familial, aspirational, and resistant capital while abroad to deepen their engagement. Finally, student interaction with their forms of CCW appeared to deepen their bicultural identities, strengthen their resistance to injustice, and instill a strong desire to inspire other Latinx students to pursue international education. Implications fo r practice include an integrated approach to recognizing and rewarding students’ CCW related capital in the advising, application and preparation processes. Implications underscore the importance of using strengths based pedagogies in the design of educat ion abroad programs.


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How to Cite

Wick, D., Willis, T. Y., Rivera, J., Lueker, E., & Hernandez, M. (2019). Assets-Based Learning Abroad: First-Generation Latinx College Students Leveraging and Increasing Community Cultural Wealth in Costa Rica. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 31(2), 63–85.