Throughout our research, we identified five primary acculturation and immigration issues. A large section of the focus group discussions centered on issues concerning acculturation and topics about the participants’ future aspirations. Common concerns expressed across the four focus groups are the need for more support that aids refugees in adjusting to their new environments, additional resources that provide financial assistance and aid, a lack of knowledge and resources in transportation in the Greater Hartford area, and a demand for resources in applying for citizenship. Further, the participants’ responses highlight the diverse experiences of the community. People stated that they had some social support, including family support, but others did not have similar sentiments. Individuals who expressed having social and family support tended to have fewer concerns relating to acculturation. Additionally, the interviews showcased that refugees have grand aspirations for their futures. Some have expressed their desires to apply for citizenship, open businesses, return or continue with their educational studies, work towards their dream career, and much more.
Mixed experience with assistance that their organizations provided
Many of the refugees we spoke with had mixed experiences with the organizations which worked with them when they first arrived in the US. One main problem was lack of support when first arriving.
Financial problems and lack of knowledge around government aid
Many refugees we spoke with expressed frustration around the lack of information they were given about various government programs. Additionally, the need to find work so quickly was a financial strain on many of the participants we spoke with
Learning how to navigate the transit system in Greater Hartford was a struggle for many of the refugee families. It was also difficult for some of them to access the resources to get a drivers license and/or a car.
Lack of information on how to apply for citizenship
Many of the refugees we spoke with expressed confusion and frustration with the lack of information around obtaining citizenship. Many of them are arriving at the point where they are ready to apply, however, this issue also intersects with language.
Mixed experiences around social and family support
While some of the refugees had families or existing communities to help them when they arrived, this was not the case for many of the participants we spoke with. There was a very big difference in the experiences of those who had support systems here (primarily familial and social supports) and those who did not.