Comparison of Refugee and International Student Experiences: Implications for Immersion
MA in International Education
In life, we are all on a journey from one location to another. This journey can be mental or physical; it can be spiritual or proverbial. This paper focuses on the phenomenon of ‘the journey’ as it is experienced by refugees and study abroad students and the varying methods of acculturation experienced by both groups. This paper seeks to uncover the implications for development of cross-cultural transitioning for refugees in the Project Transition Refugee Program, an educational assistance service in South Florida, based on a comparative analysis of how transitioning is experienced by the two groups of sojourners.
The two groups were chosen based on my exposure to Refugee Services during my practicum with Project Transition and the idea that some of the methods and techniques used to prepare international students for study abroad could be usefully applied to refugees in transition, despite the contrast in purpose of travel. My methodology included a literature review and in-depth interviews with refugee clients and study abroad/international students.
The research concluded that refugee and international student experiences, although different in the motivation for travel, require the same basic tools in the adjustment process, therefore, the benefit gained by international students who undergo orientation can positively enhance the effort of refugee adaptation and make refugees more proactive in seeking a successful transition into a new culture.
I recommend for further study the application of certain study abroad preparation methods to refugee groups around the globe. It is hoped that this information could be positively utilized by any refugee service provider seeking to meet client needs in a new way and to provide successful programming for more refugee journeymen and women.
International and Comparative Education
Lindo, Lisa Maria, "Comparison of Refugee and International Student Experiences: Implications for Immersion" (2008). Capstone Collection. 2027.