Cultural Orientation Trainers’ Exchange

COR logl12 trainers from resettlement support centers all over the world just finished a two week exchange visit to learn more about resettlement in the US. 

Each visited two locations, including Austin, TX; Boise, ID; Columbus, OH; Fort Worth, TX; Harrisonburg, VA; Louisville, KY; Nashville, TN; and Philadelphia, PA. 

Excerpts of their remarks about what resonated most for them echo our emphasis on building client self-sufficiency through employment. 

  • Resettlement works! It takes a lot of time and effort, but refugees are able to reach goals and be happy as well as regain some of the dignity that they felt they may have lost throughout the process of being a refugee.
  • I was able to witness how everything is different, so a refugee cannot compare their case with another because the services available and the programs that each person qualifies for may differ.
  • Attitude is key. Proactive refugees appear to adjust more quickly to U.S. life.
  • There are different levels of agency support available to refugees (depending on location, etc.), but what makes the greatest difference to a refugee’s adjustment is their attitude and connection to their community.
  • It was good to see refugees from different backgrounds working together.
  • Resettlement truly is a partnership between the client and the resettlement agency.
  • During a visit to a job site, the Human Resources person said that refugees can improve their job position by improving their English.
  • “Time is money” in the United States and is not flexible like in other countries, so it is very important to be punctual for and attend all appointments.

The Cultural Orientation Resource (COR) Center ensures that Cultural Orientation for refugees is effective, accurate, and culturally and linguistically appropriate, as well as to produce reliable and useful information about refugee groups. A project of the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) with funding from PRM, the COR Center is a resource all of us should know about.

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