Intercultural Adaptation of Refugees and Rural Communities: From Burma to Minnesota

Between 1998 and 2015, 7,389 refugees from Burma of various ethnicities arrived in Minnesota from overseas (Minnesota Department of Human Services Resettlement Programs Office, 2010, 2016). This research is a continuation of two studies (Stone, 2010, 2011) that examined 1) the well-being and satisfaction of Karen refugees placed in employment in Worthington, Minnesota, by Lifetrack, a nonprofit social services organization, and 2) factors in the community that influenced their degree of satisfaction. Utilizing comparable methodology, the current study is focused on 1) the satisfaction of Karen and Karenni refugees placed by Lifetrack in Austin, Minnesota, for employment and 2) factors in the community that contributed to that satisfaction. Between February 18 and September 17, 2011 Lifetrack assisted 63 Karen, 20 Karenni, and 7 Chin refugees from Burma to find employment and social service support in Austin, Minnesota. Results of in-depth, ethnographically inspired interviews with Karen and Karenni refugees assisted by Lifetrack as well as interviews with the receiving Austin community leaders are analyzed to present critical factors contributing to resettlement adaptation and satisfaction