The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Issues of Acculturation and Identity Development for Immigrant Youth: Acculturative Challenges that Immigrant Youth Face and Coping Strategies

Mehrnoush Shahbandi, Simon Fraser University (Canada)


Immigration is a worldwide fact nowadays. Many countries have become the new settlements for millions of immigrants from around the world and it is considered both as a source of challenges and opportunities for individuals and countries (Bilsborrow, 2002). Psychology and other social sciences have tried to understand the problems and opportunities and have contributed to making the immigration process a positive factor in the individual and social life of immigrants. One of the consequences of immigration for individuals is the experience of acculturation, the practice of living together and adopting different strategies to enable immigrants to live interculturally and achieve a constructive and successful adaptation (Berry & Sam, 2006). While there are many studies on adult immigration, the studies of young immigrants have fallen behind. The second generation of immigrants, immigrant youth and children, encounter many challenges as they adapt and enculture into the host society (Berry, Phinney, Sam, & Vedder, 2006). They tend to enculture while retaining their heritage and family values, (e.g., Liebkind, Mähönen, Varjonen, & Jasinskaja-Lahti, 2016; Behtoui, 2019). In this paper, with a thorough review of scholarly literature and drawing my own experience as an immigrant parent to a teenager, I will discuss the acculturation challenges and stressors that young immigrants encounter as they try to fit into their new settlement and will review some coping strategies which may help them overcome the difficulties of acculturation.

Keywords: immigrant youth, acculturation, identity, acculturative challenges.

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