Cultural Orientation abroad: what does it entail?

Nothing earth-shattering to report.  I just wanted to add to our ‘where to find information’ category something we know little about—what sort of cultural orientation do refugees receive before getting on the plane for the US.  I know to some of you—-dealing especially with Somalis—-you are wondering if they had any instruction on how Americans live.

Readers can go to this website, Cultural Orientation Resource Center, and order a “Guide for Refugees.”

This resettlement guide, revised in 2004, was funded by the Department of State, Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). It resulted from numerous meetings and the work of a special Cultural Orientation Task Force convened by the State Department/PRM. The Task Force, comprised of PRM staff, staff of national and local refugee resettlement agencies, state refugee coordinators, overseas orientation implementors, former refugees, and the Center for Applied Linguistics was formed to undertake a review of overseas pre-departure orientation/briefings to make sure the orientation refugees were receiving was relevant to their needs as identifed by resettlement agencies and by refugees already in the U.S.—and to ensure that each U.S.-bound refugee receive consistent information about resettlement.

I hope to have time to look into this further and research this website because I continue to be puzzled by reports that Somalis are trying to set wood fires on top of  kitchen stoves, or that Iraqis are somehow getting such erroneous information about what to expect with American life.  They uniformly say they hadn’t been told about lousy jobs and slum apartments.  Who is doing the teaching?

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