Friendships For the Mono- and Bi-Lingual College Student: Does The Language You Speak Make A Difference in How You Make Friends?

In the course of our research, we endeavored to examine the difference in the social life of UCLA college students, their capacity to make friends, and satisfy their need for social support with fellow students based on their status as a monolingual or bilingual speaker of English. Drawing on support from previous research dealing with different student populations, we concluded that the way bilingual students are treated and form communities is different from the way monolinguals do, whether because of “othering” by speakers who did not understand their language or culture or because they sought out connections with those who shared their ethnic or linguistic ties. It was almost universal in our interviews where bilingual speakers had a bias towards others who spoke their non-English language, and many of the monolinguals admitted to preferring the company of those who shared their language and culture. Not every speaker who our team interviewed had an exactly identical experience, however- none of our bilingual speakers derived from the same culture or spoke the same language- and there were a few interesting perspectives and outliers.

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