Currently, in Europe, people with a migration background (first- and second-generation migrants) and those without a migration background differ in school and academic performance (Mishra & Müller, 2021). Among people who drop out of university, most have lower final school grades or no high school diploma at all, parents without a degree, unsecured financial situation, or the choice of a field of study contrary to personal desire. So far, perspectives, perceptions and lifeworlds of persons with a migration background have not been taken into account in research. In diversity research, such an approach is also referred to as culture-blind (Genkova et al., 2021). While certain characteristics are recognized as influencing variables, such as social and academic integration, cultural distance, stress, and discrimination, as well as intercultural competencies, coping strategies, and social support, these have not been explored more thoroughly in terms of their complexity in research. For example, the National Educational Panel Study has examined school grades, family structures, alternative courses of study for immigrant individuals, faculty training, and other factors thought to influence the academic performance of immigrant individuals, but has not considered the specific perspectives of immigrant individuals (National Educational Panel Study, 2019).
Among students with an immigrant background, the dropout rate is 43%, compared to only 29% for students without an immigrant background (Heublein et al. 2016). Therefore, cultural fit is believed to play an important role in academic success. The cultural fit of especially first generation migrants means burden for the immigrated ones. However, even second-generation immigrants who are well adapted often experience inter-individual and structural discrimination. Discrimination is highly dependent on the perspective taken on cultural diversity. Institutional diversity culture influences how interactions occur within an organization and is an important predictor of successful integration (Genkova & Ringeisen, 2017; Genkova & Riecken, 2020). In Europe, especially the way performance is recorded, information systems, training of teaching staff, and bureaucratic hurdles are associated with diversity culture in the education system. Depending on the educational system, organizational culture, cultural distance, and experiences of discrimination, everyday educational life can therefore be experienced as stressful in different ways. The competencies, resources and coping strategies available to the individual are crucial for dealing with these stresses.