Integration is often cited as crucial for migrants and the countries that they are living in, but this is a complex process, involving many actors. Beyond attending language classes, are there more creative ways that societies can help migrants to learn and integrate?
Moving to a new country can be a disorientating experience and it can seem overwhelming at first. We have to learn a lot of new information, that we considered as day-to-day in our home countries. Where can I find the food I like? What did the cashier just offer me at the supermarket? How can I get to work? Who can I go for coffee with? But it’s not just these daily issues that can give us fulfilling and enriched lives. Culture plays an important part in our identities, and learning about the culture of the place that we live can be crucial in feeling a part of that place.
This resource is a document that I developed after completing a placement with the Estonian Institute in Tallinn. Through this placement I was able to follow the Culture Step programme, a cultural integration project that aims to help migrants to feel settled in Estonia. It was developed through use of a blog which incorporated critical reflection in order to consider learning that can happen through cultural integration projects. It was also informed partially by a workshop facilitated at Tallinn university with a group of adult educators from Estonia and around the world. This document contains various lessons and insights that could be useful to adult educators and organisations wishing to help people to integrate in their communities. I believe that these lessons can be useful in my own context (the UK), and various other contexts throughout Europe. This case study is particular to Estonia, but by sharing knowledge about successful projects, I think we can learn more about what can work to make integration a more fulfilling experience for migrants. I have also included some general tips that could be used as flyers or leaflets at the end of the document.
You can learn more about the Culture Step programme through their website.