The Immigration Experience:
University of Connecticut School of Social Work
Migration has contributed to the richness in diversity of cultures, ethnicities and races in developed countries. However, individuals who migrate experience multiple stresses that can impact their mental well-being, including the loss of cultural norms, religious customs, and social support systems, adjustment to a new culture and changes in identity and concept of self. “Migration is defined as any permanent change in residence. It involves the ‘detachment from the organization of actives at one place and the movement of the total round of activities to another” (Drachman, Kwon-Ahn, Paulino, 1996, p. 627).Many influences can determine migration and why people migrate to where they do. One important theory that contributes to this idea of migration is the push-pull theory. The push-pull theory says that some people move because they are pushed out of their former location, whereas others move because they have been pulled, or attracted, to another location. “Push factors are generally negative, such as poor economic conditions, lack of opportunity, discrimination, political oppression, and war. Whereas pull factors are generally positive, such as better economic opportunity, political freedom, and favorable reception toward immigrants” (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002, p. 13). In order to understand the resettlement and adaption of immigrants in a host country, it is critical to examine all aspects of an immigrant migration path. In light of this phenomenon is significant to understand this process through the lens of three stages of migration: premigration and departure, transit, and resettlement. Theses stages can serve as an ongoing frame of reference for evaluation and comparing their current experience in the host country. “The stage of migration framework provides a context for understating and helping immigrants families and individuals by linking the migration experiences in the original and intermediate countries with experiences in the country of destination” (Drachman, Kwon-Ahn, & Paulino, 1996, p. 627). Using this framework an interview was conduct to analyze the human experiences of migration in attempt to further gain insight on immigrant who take into account not only their economic needs but also social and cultural differences, which may or may not be accepted. For the privacy of the interviewee, the name Ms. Stephenson will be disclosed for the purpose of confidentiality. Ms. Stephenson is a 52 year old woman whom resides in Stamford, Connecticut. Ms. Stephenson country of origin is Haiti. Ms. Stephenson is of Catholic faith. Ms. Stephenson is well–educated women who received her bachelors Human Rights and Humanitarian Policies from Columbia University in New York City. Upon graduating Ms. Stephenson obtained a job as a Bi-lingual Case Manager. Ms. Stephenson moved to Connecticut in 2002 to work closely with the Haitian population in Stamford, Connecticut. Ms. Stephenson is married with three children. Ms. Stephenson would consider herself to be middle class. Ms. Stephenson distinguished herself as a Haitian-American. Premigration and Departure Stage
The premigration and departure stage consist of the decision-making process to leave one’s origin country to move to another. This entails loss of family and social environment. “Separation from family and friends, the act of leaving a familiar environment, decision regarding who is left behind, life threating circumstances, and loss of significant others are some of the issue individual face in this stage” (Drachman & Pine, 2005, p. 545). Ms. Stephenson comes from a blue collar middle class family. Her father worked in construction and her mother was a school teacher. Ms. Stephenson states, “Education is very important in my family. My parents always worked hard to pave a brighter future for us”. Ms. Stephenson did not...
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