Seminar Series: Overcoming adversities: The experiences of migrant and refugee youth in Australia
Associate Professor Nigar Khawaja
2D3, Priory Road Complex, BS8 1TU
Australia is one of the most multicultural society in the world. Thirty percent of the population is born overseas and has culturally and linguistically diverse heritage. Forty percent of this diverse population consists of minor from all over the World, who relocate to Australia as migrants or refugees. Despite these variations, all of them join schools and have to adapt to a new country. Schools can play an important role in their development and integration. The presentation highlights some key outcomes of a 5-year long project conducted at the Milpera State High School, a special transition school for newly arrived migrant and refugee students. The project consisted of 2 phases. During the first 3 years (phase 1), quantitative data were collected through a battery of questionnaires. CALD students (N=247) completed these scales with the help of interpreters. Statistical analyses indicated that most of these students had a high level of wellbeing and only a small proportion was severely distressed. Despite differences in pre-migration experiences, the migrants and refugees were not significantly different on a range of post migration psychosocial experiences. English language proficiency and an absence of trauma had a strong relationship with academic achievement. Those who had experienced pre-migration trauma and lacked a sense of school connectedness encountered a higher level of acculturative stress. Social support and school connectedness strengthened the acculturation process. Further, school connectedness, acculturation and resilience, in addition to having a permanent visa, were significantly associated with higher levels of subjective wellbeing. Personal resilience played an important part in the adjustment and integration of the migrant and refugee youth. During the last 2 years (phase 2), a digital story methodology was used to capture the strategies the school was using to promote the students wellbeing, acculturation, integration and academic successes. The findings have implications for how we can enhance the integration of youth from migrant and refugee background.
All are welcome to attend this event. Tea, coffee and cakes will be available after the seminar.