How to Improve Your Cultural Orientation Delivery to Burmese Refugees

The CORE Resettlement Navigator website and Settle In app are now available in Burmese. The CORE Resettlement Navigator website contains videos, podcasts, and fact sheets to accommodate all literacy levels. These resources can also be used with interpreters, as the fact sheets serve as the script for what is included in videos and podcasts. Settle In provides relevant Cultural Orientation information through interactive quizzes and learning activities.

In addition to these newly translated resources, CORE recently hosted an hour-long virtual exchange with RSC Asia bringing together overseas and domestic providers. Participants learned more about pre-departure Cultural Orientation and exchanged knowledge about serving the Burmese population. The following are some key insights from the exchange:

1. Create a welcoming environment. Assure refugees that they can ask you questions and share concerns. Remember that this may take time.

2. Ask specific questions to generate discussion and promote sharing from refugees. For example, at the beginning of a topic such as housing, ask them to explain what houses were like for them where they came from. Draw on their own experiences. What is different for them in the United States with their house? This may also provide insight into their resettlement experience indicating, for example, whether they’ve come from a camp or an urban setting.

3. Take a strengths-based approach and have patience when managing expectations. Cultural Orientation providers on the call reported that Burmese refugees have a strong interest in and subsequent ability to find employment in the United States. At the same time, providers on the call also reported hearing common misconceptions about resettlement in the United States from Burmese refugees based on experiences of family and friends. Iterative messaging is important in these cases. Liaising with members of the same community can also help.

For more information about what is covered overseas, view the overseas Cultural Orientation Objectives and Indicators. CORE will be offering a similar virtual exchange with RSC Eurasia at the end of October. Contact your CO Focal Point for more information.

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