Facilitating migrant settlement; strategies for education

Year: 2001

Author: Ward, Catherine, Styles, Irene

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Migration is a traumatic experience for many people; however, education of prospective migrants and organisations involved in assisting and advising migrants may mitigate negative consequences. Appropriate preparation, pre and post migration, could buffer the possible negative impact of migration and assist in settlement. This paper reports findings from a study of the impact of migration on women from the United Kingdom (UK) and Eire (N=154) (the "invisible migrants") now living in Western Australia (W.A.). Bowlby's grieving process was used as a theoretical framework to explore grief reactions to leaving the homeland (homesickness), exposure to a new culture and how transition through the process facilities re-invention of the self and settlement. Crucial to successful settlement was the nature of strategies the women used to negotiate the grieving process. Participants who successfully settled and re-invented themselves engaged in more social, cultural and country activities - those participants who were less successful in this endeavour tended toward more solitary strategies. The study has social implications for the education of future migrants, migrant organisations and the general community since the awareness of, and encouragement and utilization of appropriate strategies could reduce the period of adjustment, enhance the ability to survive in the new country/culture and foster a sense of belonging to the new place.