07 SES 07 B, Minority Students' Perspectives on Participation
Ten years ago, Council of European Union (European Pact on Immigration and Asylum, 2008) noted that international migration is a reality that will persist as long as there are differentials of wealth and development between the various regions of the world. As an example of this phenomenon called Arab spring, since its inception 2010, evolved into a situation of violent conflicts in many countries, leading to high levels of migration from the affected region. The year 2015 unprecedented 1 349 683 asylum applications were recorded in EU+ member states, which was the highest annual number of asylum applications since EU-wide data has been collected (Eurostat, 2016). Exclusively in Finland, there was 822 percent increase of asylum applications which was more than in any EU countries during that year (Eurostat, 2016). It immediately raised an intense public and political debate on for example national safety, asylum seekers' religious backgrounds and sometimes on their fancy clothes and hairdos (Juntunen, 2016).
Sam and Berry (2010) have identified at least two factors that affect adaptation into the acculturation process of people who arrive into the different cultural context: psychological well-being and cultural competence. Mattila (2009) argues that happiness (subjective well-being) seems to have an inevitable relationship to how life is working out. Taras, Rowney, and Steel (2013) write that immigrants who receive more education are better acculturated than individuals who do not get as much education. It has also been seen that AS who learn the language of the receiving country experience less stress (Hauck, Maxwell & Reynolds, 2014). Jaakkola and Reuter (2007) have addressed that immigrants who master the language find employment more easily than immigrants who do not know the language.
In this research, we have been studied the early state of AS cultural transition in the Finnish Pre-Integrational Education (PIE) context. This study is a part of larger set of research which has the aim to describe the factors affecting AS participation in the PIE to describe how PIE should be organized so that it would be possible to support AS and refugees cultural transition already in Finnish reception centers. In this study, there are reported Subjective Well-Being (SWB) data of AS participating PIE and the reasons behind measured SWB as AS name them. We approach this theme with two research questions:
- What is the subjective well-being of asylum seekers on Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale (CSASS) in the present moment and after five years from the present moment?
- What are the reasons asylum seekers address for standing on this particular ladder?
To fill the research gap of Finnish AS studies and to develop PIE teaching methods and learning environments, it is necessary to examine the values and concerns of AS. In this mixed methods research (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011) we have studied adult AS in Finnish PIE context. Research interview was chosen as a method, since it was clear that researcher will be working with people from different culture, schooling systems, and educational backgrounds, including persons who could not read or write and could have experienced serious pre-migration traumas or major symbolic and concrete losses. A structured interview (Bryman, 2004), with both closed and open-ended questions, was conducted to 181 over 17-year old AS (N=181). Participants county of origin was Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Iran, and Yemen. Three participants reported not having a nationality at all since they had been living in refugee camps their whole life. Subjective well-being was measured by Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale (CSASS) (Cantril, 1965), with participants also describing during the interview their explanations for CSASS measurement. Qualitative data will be analyzed by theory-driven content analysis and quantitative data with statistical methods (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). It has been noticed that AS live in a legally, culturally, politically, and socially subordinate position around the world (Lähteenmäki, 2013). Applying for asylum is a right, but there is no absolute obligation to grant international protection for the applicants. The personal history of asylum seekers may have been involved in kidnapping, torture, loss, and death (Wright et al., 2016). Asylum seekers have experienced to have overall worse health than the refugees, as well as symptoms of post-traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety (Gerritsen et al., 2005). According to Bang (2016), AS children often experience traumatic experiences multiplied. Cramped housing, relocations between reception centers, parental weakness in health, the prevalence of shocking events concerning whole community weaken the lives of children in the early stages of the cultural transition (Lähteenmäki, 2013). It is seen that large extent of the psychological symptoms of AS is not related to human rights violations or other traumatic experiences experienced, but more likely to the delays in asylum decisions (Laban et al., 2008) or for example employment difficulties, loneliness, and boredom (Morville et al., 2014).
In the preliminary analysis 56 percent of participants reported suffering, 29 percent struggling and 13 percent thriving on CSASS-scale at present but reported a major positive change in five years if they will get their permission to stay. Participants identified a range of ongoing stressors with ambiguous future, cultural transition, the situation in homeland and family issues of particular concern. Participants reported also hope for the future because they came to Finland and a new beginning of particular issues on their minds. Asylum seekers participating in Finnish Pre-Integrational Education are ongoing major stressors concerning, for example, an ambiguous future, concrete and symbolic losses, fears, confusion, worthless, isolation, inactivity, self-blame, despair, and other things generating difficulties to concentrate. Results address also that AS are not only feeling negative feelings as described, but also express the pure gratitude of how Finnish people have treated them with respect or as equals, and when providing them both material, and psychological security, as well as education in their early state of cultural transition. Teachers and other reception center staff should notice these factors when providing PIE. By these preliminary findings, it can be cautiously said that art- and skill-based educational methods would be suitable since it has been seen that they have therapeutic and functional values built-in.
Bang, H. 2013. Iraqi Refugee High School Students´Academic Adjustment. Diaspora, Indigenous and Minority Education, 11(1), p.45-59. Bryman, A. (2004). Social research methods (2. ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Cantril, H. (1965). The Pattern of Human Concerns. New Jersey: Rutgers, The State University. Creswell, J., & Plano Clark, V. (2011). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Los Angeles: Sage. European Pact on Immigration and Asylum (2008). Brussels. Eurostat (2016) (pp. 1-6). Retrieved October 5, 2017, from http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/7203832/3-04032016-AP-EN.pdf/790eba01-381c-4163-bcd2-a54959b99ed6. Gerritsen, A., Bramsen, I., Deville, W., van Willinger, L., Hovens J. & van der Ploeg, H. (2006). Physical and mental health of Afghan, Iranian and Somali asylum seekers and refugees living in the Netherlands. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology (2006), 41:18-26. Hauck, F., Lo, E., Maxwell, A., & Reynolds, P. (2014). Factors Influencing the Acculturation of Burmese, Bhutanese, and Iraqi Refugees into American Society: Cross-Cultural Comparisons. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, 12(3), 331-352. Jaakkola, M., & Reuter, A. (2007). Maahanmuuttajanaiset entisen Neuvostoliiton alueelta - Resurssit ja sijoittuminen työmarkkinoille. In T. Martikainen & M. Tiilikainen, Maahanmuttajanaiset: Kotoutuminen, perhe ja työ (s. 335-388). Helsinki: Väestöliitto. Juntunen, M. (2016). Poikkeustilan sukupolvet - Irakilaispakolaisuus Suomessa. Ministry of Employment and the Economy. Regional development, 31/2016. Laban, C., Komproe, I., Gernaat, H., & de Jong, J. (2008). The impact of a long asylum procedure on quality of life, disability and physical health in Iraqi asylum seekers in the Netherlands. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 43(7), 507-515. DOI:10.1007/s00127-008-0333-1. Lähteenmäki, M. (2013). Lapsi turvapaikanhakijana: etnografisia näkökulmia vastaanottokeskuksen ja koulun arjesta (Ph.D). Helsingin yliopisto. Mattila, A. (2009). Hyvinvoinnin psykologia. Duodecim - Terveyskirjasto. Retrieved January 29, 2018, from http://www.terveyskirjasto.fi/terveyskirjasto/tk.koti?p_artikkeli=ont00040. Morville, A.-L., Amris, K., Eklund, M., Danneskiold-Samsøe, B. & Erlandsson, L.-K. (2014). A Longitudinal Study of Changes in Asylum Seekers Ability Regarding Activities of Daily Living During Their Stay in the Asylum Center. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 17:852-859. Sam, D., & Berry, J. (2010). Acculturation: When Individuals and Groups of Different Cultural Backgrounds Meet. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5(4), 472-481. Taras, V., Rowney, J., & Steel, P. (2013). Work-related acculturation: change in individual work-related cultural values following immigration. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(1), 130-151. Wright, A., Talia, Y., Aldhalimi, A., Broadbridge, C., Jamil, H., & Lumley, M. et al. (2016). Kidnapping and Mental Health in Iraqi Refugees: The Role of Resilience. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 19(1), 98-107.
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