“ALWAYS IN BETWEEN”: HOW RESETTLEMENT AGENCIES SUPPORT CAN SHAPE THE REFUGEE EXPERIENCE
Nascimento, Mayara Michelli
MetadataShow full item record
This study explores the communication barriers faced by refugees going through the resettlement process in Amarillo, Texas, which is guided by VOLAGs, or voluntary resettlement agencies that work in alignment with the goal established by the U.S. refugee resettlement program of helping refugees achieve rapid self-sufficiency after entering the country. The Refugee Services of Texas (RST) is an example of a VOLAG that provides support services for refugees during their initial time in their new home. This study analyzed how services provided by RST can shape the refugee experience. This organizational ethnographic research took place at RST during English as a Second Language (ESL) classes over the period of 15 months. In addition to participant observations and fieldnotes collected at RST, five in-depth interviews were conducted with refugees and RST service providers. Results show that part of the refugee community is struggling with communication barriers in Amarillo. Additionally, a high number of refugees work in the meat-packing industry, a job that does not always allow refugees to perform educational and professional skills from prior experiences, often leading to dissatisfaction with life in the United States. The refugee community can benefit from the support provided by organizations like RST and be able to achieve varied professional opportunities to explore their career through the resettlement process. In order for this to happen, such support must be offered in the proper way, which should respect particular limitations and strengths of each client.