Immigrants' Perceptions of their Experiences in Integrating into Communities in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia

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Saeed, Uzma
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Immigrants integrating into a new culture and/or society might bring certain expectations, perceptions and hopes with themselves. Although generally considered fairly normal and expected for the most part, these expectations can create problems for oneself and for others around the individual immigrant. This thesis will look into the perceptions of the immigrants integrating into the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. The immigrants discussed and studied in this particular thesis are from Pakistan, one of the many different communities that are a part of the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. The participants selected were five families that are part of the Pakistani community in the Tri-cities area of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. These families were selected because they were known to the interviewee or they were known through a common friend. A questionnaire was created and the immigrants were interviewed using that questionnaire; some participants completed the questionnaire on their own, without being interviewed. The research was conducted so that a better understanding would be attained by educators and others in lower Mainland regarding the issues faced by the immigrants in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and as well as their perceptions during the process of integration. It was also hoped that the research would help bring awareness and raise questions for future research and/or studies conducted on the same topic. The research design used was a mixed method qualitative ethnographic study. The key finding showed that the interviews established some themes. These themes were obtained by using thematic analysis. The most common positive themes were 1) factors helping immigrants, 2) educational programs & activities are beneficial, 3) managed to integrate by, and 4) immigration process. The most common negative themes were 1) credentials/work experience not accepted is the biggest challenge/hurdle, 2) religion, 3) health care not as good, 4) high cost of living, and 5) lack of information. Some minor themes also emerged which were 1) racism, 2) educational system, 3) other benefits and 4) other challenges. This research also helped the immigrants in sharing some of their own best solutions for improving the experiences of integration into communities in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Most of the information that appeared as a result of this research would also benefit any other future study or research.
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