Unheard stories : narrative inquiry of the cross-cultural adaptation experiences of refugee women in metro Vancouver
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Subjectnarrative inquiry; refugee women; cross-cultural adaptation; intercultural communication; focus group
The purpose of this study is to explore the barriers and opportunities that government-assisted refugee (GAR) women experience in settlement. Using a narrative inquiry approach, I elicited the stories of fourteen GAR women of diverse origins who have lived in Metro Vancouver for one to six years. Discourse analysis of the narratives shared within focus groups and individual sessions reveals a hierarchy of exclusory dimensions (barriers) and transformative dimensions (opportunities) of their adaptation process. The analysis also identifies settlement services and programs perceived as helpful by the women in overcoming identified barriers. The findings demonstrate how GAR women are active in their own cross-cultural adaptation and how this process is facilitated by intercultural communication competence and engagement in receiving communication activities. These findings provide insights for government and immigrant serving agencies concerned with tracking settlement outcomes for this population.
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