Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

Trip to historical museum helps refugees connect with new country

Posted by Christopher Coen on May 31, 2012

Much of what makes our country so alien and difficult for refugees to adjust to is the changes to our society brought about by technological change. Many of these people are coming from societies that have not been impacted by technological change to the same degree that our culture has. These differences add to culture shock and to the cultural bereavement they experience for the culture they left behind. An English as a second language teacher took his students to a local historical museum to show them the similarity of our culture to theirs before the advent of modern technologies. An article at the Buffalo News explains:

About a year into teaching refugees in Buffalo, Nick Prune decided to take his class to the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society Museum. Most of the refugees were from Burma — people accustomed to living in the forest and making their own clothes.

When we brought them there, we could show them that life here wasn’t that different than theirs long ago,” said Prune, a teacher of English as a second language in the Buffalo Public Schools. The refugees saw how Americans lived before the Industrial Revolution and “felt more connected to the country,” Prune said…

…Looking back, Prune says, the visit to the museum was the best field trip his class took, as it allowed them to more easily understand American culture… Read more here

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