Many studies have reported on the economical, social, and educational difficulties encountered by Ethiopian Jews since their immigration to Israel. Furthermore, the overall academic underachievement and poor representation of students of Ethiopian origin (SEO) in the advanced mathematics and science classes were highlighted and described. Yet, studies focusing on differential achievements within SEO and on students who succeed against all odds are scarce. In this study, we explored success stories of five SEO studying in a pre-academic program at a prestigious technological university in Israel. Our goal was to understand how these students frame and interpret their success in mathematics and to identify elements perceived as fostering their mathematics and academic trajectories. Using qualitative methodology, we identified perceived personal motivational variables, effective learning and coping strategies, and students’ immediate environment as key elements contributing to achieving and maintaining success. We discuss possible theoretical contributions and practical implications of the findings.
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