Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Schwartz-Bechet, Barbara

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Bulgarian Americans--United States--Attitudes; Bulgarian Americans--United States--Language; Bulgarian Americans--Education--United States; Second language acquisition


The purpose of this study was to explore Bulgarian immigrants' narratives with respect to their perceptions of immigrant work challenges; learning at work; work or occupational preferences; immigrant careers, including job transitions and professional development; strategies with respect to work; support at work; satisfaction gained from work; and life in the U.S. By examining these areas, this study can improve the learning experiences of immigrants and enhance educators' and professionals' understanding of immigrants as learners. The general research design of this study was qualitative. I used narrative as a method for collecting the Bulgarian immigrants' personal experience stories. I identified four themes and multiple sub-themes that organically rose from the participants' responses to the semi-structured interview questions. The four major themes--English language, education, work, and life in America--emerged as a result of interviewing the 21 Bulgarian immigrants in this study. This study found that upon coming to the United States, the Bulgarian immigrants experienced a different language and culture in their host country. In addition, the initial lack of recognition of their credentials forced many of them to take low-skilled jobs. However, they successfully adapted over time by improving their host language skills, continuing their education, and learning and fulfilling requirements in the local labor market so they could eventually obtain the more high-skilled jobs they desired. These Bulgarian immigrants took different career paths toward achieving their goals and aspirations. However, being highly motivated, hard-working, and persistent individuals, they not only persevered and survived, but they also said they felt successful doing their jobs in their new environment.


Advisors: Barbara Schwartz-Bechet.||Committee members: LaVerne Gyant; Ladislava Khailova.||Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


xiv, 236 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type