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Acculturation Quick Guide

The Acculturation Quick Guide is for Individuals and families who have origins in a different culture, and either struggle to retain their roots or to accept and integrate into their new culture. Acculturation is a blending of cultures which creates a unique identity of origins, history, and place. Most often, acculturation’s greatest barrier is one of language, or a lack of understanding around the cultural infrastructure and systems, however families can also struggle to understand what help is available and how to access it.

The goal of the Acculturation Quick Guide is to aid family in the transition from one culture to another, this can include linking them to resources than can assist them with the transition or provide for them learning resources on how to navigate the culture of their new location.

When someone moves from one location to another, there are generally four stages that are experience as they adjust to their new home. For more information about these stages, see the Stages of Acculturation document.
Unaccompanied minors present a unique challenge for social workers, government systems, and schools. Fortunately if certain steps are taken to ensure the psychological well-being of unaccompanied minors their chance of success in this country increases. For more information, see the Acculturation-for-Unaccompanied Refugee Minors.

Setting the Stage:
Culture plays a significant role in defining who an individual is; it affects everything about a person including: behaviors, beliefs, ideas on parenting, gender roles, health, and religion. What is considered a norm in one culture may be taboo in another and for this reason, among many others, leads to struggles for people who immigrate to in a new country.  When working with families of a different culture, it is important to remember this and to understand the struggles they are experiencing as they adjust to life in a new culture. For more information on parenting norms in the United States, see  Raising Young Children in a New Country, also available in Spanish and Arabic (*please note that Spanish and Arabic translations where done by volunteers and not professional translators)

For community resources that can assist families with the struggles of acculturation, see the Acculturation Resource Tool