Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Ari Gandsman




guyanese, teenagers, assimilation, process, schenectady


This paper deals with the process of assimilation, and whether or not such a process is truly identifiable, within immigrant communities. Specifically, I looked at the dual-identities of Guyanese-American teenagers growing up in the area of Schenectady, NY, and how their involvement in the Schenectady Hindu Temple impacts the way they view themselves. I have examined the ways in which the members of the Guyanese community respond to the idea of assimilation, and to what extent it plays a role in the lives of Guyanese teenagers. There exist less severe and concrete forms of assimilation, ones that allow for a dual identity to be created for the individual, because it takes into account both the influence of the native culture as well as the process of growing up in the United States. I contacted members of the Guyanese community through their involvement in the Schenectady Hindu Temple, and using this connection, I researched the ways that religion serves as an emotional and psychological support system for teenagers going through the usual hardships of adolescence. An additional hardship facing the Guyanese teenagers is the pressure to assimilate, or to at least renegotiate their cultural patterns and traditions in order to adapt them to American lifestyles and cultures. I have hypothesized that the values and beliefs of the teenagers differ from those taught to them by their parents, who identify themselves solely as Guyanese, and that these differences lead to inter-generational conflict.