Immigrant Youth in Canadian Culture

Topics: Culture, Western culture, Sociology Pages: 10 (3923 words) Published: October 17, 2012
Immigrant Youth in Canadian Culture
Canada is a place where people all over the world immigrate to. People immigrate to Canada due to reasons such as war, famine, employment, better health plans, colonialism, educational opportunities and many more. Some come here by choice while others are forced to leave their homeland to survive. For whatever reason one immigrates to Canada, the point is, they leave things that are familiar to them and come to an unknown and uncertain environment. What most people forget to look at is regardless of the reasons for coming to Canada it is hard to leave everything they have learned and adapt to a whole new culture fluidly. Children and youth especially struggle when they grow up with parents who are immigrants and then they have to integrate into the larger society. The children and youth live in a world where their home life is significantly different from the larger society. The purpose of this paper is to look at what are the impacts for immigrant youth integrating into Canadian culture. This paper will be focusing on some of the negative and positive aspects of integration into Canadian society due to dual sources of self-identity, language barriers, conflicts of values between home and peer life, educational gaps, mental health, what role gender plays, facing racism and bullying due to the unique differences and what are some things parents and Child and Youth Workers (CYW) can do to assist these youths. Most immigrants come from developing countries, which is non-western cultures. Many cultures reside in one place and every person brings something unique that is solely understandable to them. Each culture has traditions and brings a form of modernity into the western world and if there had been any education acquired in their country of origin it may not be recognized here in Canada (Halli & Vedanand, 2007). Dual-Self Identity

Canada is known as a multi-cultural country and there are many different types of people belonging to different cultures residing in one country with apposing and conflicting views, values, beliefs and traditions. As it would be for anyone who leaves their native land and moving to a foreign country, there can be culture shock and major adjustments that would need to be made. For children and youth these factors may be even more confusing due to the dual sources of self-identity, they must adopt in order to fit into their native culture and Canadian culture. Regardless of what age they may have left their home countries these children and youth live in a house with a set of rules which comes from their parent’s experiences from back home. The children and youth are then sent to schools in the Western society and this is where the conflict of self comes into play. Children are caught in the unique position of the parent’s influence of the culture of origin and the peers and schools way of the new society, they are caught between the conflict of the old world and the new world and this then embodies the culturela and self confusion (Montazer & Wheaton, 2011). Just as the parents are trying to fit into the two worlds in their lives so must the children, they must create an identity that is independent respecting their culture of origin and their society of settlement (Charles, Stainton & Marshall, Reference; Berry, Phinney, Sam, Vedder, 2006). When these children and youth are trying to acculturate (mix into the culture/society) there are four sectors of dimensions that they fall under when the individuals are seeking to express how they wish to acculturate. According to Berry et, al., (2006) the four dimensions are Assimilation: there is little to no connection to their native culture and instead they wish to interact with the larger society, Separation: they wish to maintain their culture and so they avoid interactions with others, Marginalization: neither cultural interactions are sought, Integration: There is balance and involvement...

References: Berry, W. J., Phinney, S. J., Sam, L. D., & Vedder, P. (2006). Immigrant youth: Acculturation, identity, and adaptation. Applied psychology: Am international review 55 (3), 303-332. Retrieved from Seneca Library Database.
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