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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The experience of cultural transition among adolescent newcomers Naraghi, Negin Marie


The purpose of this research was to contribute to the literature on migration during adolescence by exploring the phenomenon of cultural transition as experienced by newcomer youth in Canada. The study employed a descriptive phenomenological research approach to answer the following question: “How do adolescents who immigrate or seek refuge in a new country experience cultural transition?” Interviews were conducted with ten adolescent newcomers, ages 15-17, who had migrated to Canada during their adolescent years. Participants represented six different countries of origin, and resided in both Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Using Giorgi’s (2009) psychological phenomenological method, data analysis uncovered eight major structures that captured participants’ experience of cultural transition. These structures included: (a) Pre-migration Experiences/ “I was excited”; (b) Post-migration Impressions/ “A totally new environment”; (c) Education/ “I’m always in school”; (d) Friendships “Friends is such an important part”; (e) Family/ “Changing makes you come closer”; (f) Language/ “Sometimes I don’t want to say anything”; (g) Internal Experiences/ “I wanted to leave” and (h) Cultural Identity/ “A bit of everything”. This study contributes to a greater understanding of the ways in which adolescents in Canada experience cultural transition, and sheds light on factors that are both challenging and supportive to their integration. Recommendations for further research are made, as well as specific recommendations for counsellors working with newcomer youth and their families.

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