What is Cultural Orientation?

young Burmese refugee stands in front of U.S. flag at a cultural orientation class in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Cultural Orientation is a pre-departure and post-arrival education program designed for refugees resettling in the U.S. The program helps refugees acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to adapt to their new lives and become productive citizens who are fully integrated into their communities.

Initial Cultural Orientation instruction is provided by trained staff at overseas Resettlement Support Centers (RSCs). In the U.S., staff, interns, and volunteers at Resettlement Agencies (RAs) or at their local affiliate offices continue welcoming refugees to the United States by providing Cultural Orientation specific to the surrounding community. Cultural Orientation is offered to refugee newcomers in group classroom settings or, if necessary, on a one-on-one basis in ad hoc locations.

Topics covered during cultural orientation classes include:

  • The Role of the Local Resettlement Agency
  • The Importance of Learning English
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Health and Hygiene
  • Cultural Adjustment
  • Budgeting and Personal Finance
  • Community Services and Public Assistance
  • U.S. Laws and Refugee Status