Integration and Adaptation of Immigrants in a New Country

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An immigrant, in a new context is facing with the challenges of being in an unfamiliar environment with different culture, language, rules. In recent years, immigration becoming a social fact that confronting host countries and immigrants with different challenges. Despite the fact that percentage of immigration is different among countries and between the number of immigration and emigration. Some countries have higher percentage of emigrants; in opposite some have more immigrants. Therefore, this makes it difficult to have a total number of immigration.

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This text focuses on the immigration as the process of coming into another country to have a permanent resident there which may cause by the tendency of having a better life as a personal preference or as a result of a vulnerable situation. Relatedly, immigration usually happens from underdeveloped countries to developed ones. So, the problem is the discrepancy of contexts where the immigrants come from and the place they come in (as the departure, and the destination land) which includes cultural, linguistic, religious and traditional differences.

The main topic of this paper is based on the problem of contextual differences in the departure and the destination land which I describe them by two sociological concepts; integration and adaptation, as different strategies to deal with this problem. The questions here are; how will the problem solve? by integrating or adapting to the context of destination land? Which one is more beneficial? Who will determine it?

First, involved agents in this argument with their different perspectives, and purposes should be mentioned. Policymakers as one of the main actors in this topic mostly emphasize on the adaptation instead of integration for immigrants, with their different policies. While among “public opinion” it may differ, and they usually tend to consider on integration instead. However, immigrants may want neither of them and use other strategies to keep their balance.

Noticeable, if none of the processes happen, separation and marginalization are possible to occur which is asserted by Ward, C. (2013: 392). Meanwhile, ideal type for a society is to benefit every individual to have a society with the least possible issues. To illustrate the different perspective about immigration among active agents, concepts of integration and adaptation should be described and their differences be high lightened by illustrating their focused point. Then more studies should be done to evaluate advantages and disadvantages of both also, their possible correlation.

Integration interpreted by Stuart and Ward (2011: 256) as maintaining one’s ethnic culture while also accepting elements of the host culture. Adaptation by the definition that Berry (1997:13) represented, in general it attributes to alteration which happen in individuals or groups for reacting to environmental demands. These adaptations can occur immediately, or in a long duration.

As Ward (2013) asserted in Neto, Barros, & Schmitz, there are reliable documents available which show that integration is beneficial to psychological well-being and as a result causing less Sociocultural adaptation problems (Neto, Barros, & Schmitz, 2005; in Ward, 2013). Therefore, it is possible to interpret that both concepts are correlated and complementary factors. Integration can be assumed as a perquisite of having a suitable life in the new society and facilitate the process of adaptation.

Beside, review of relevant literature demonstrates that both concepts are correlated with a more general concept of acculturation as Stuart and Ward (2011: 255) pointed on Berry and Sam (1997) and Ward (2001), that immigrants are seen as losing their heritage culture to adapt the mainstream culture of the society of settlement, have been discarded, while it is extensively perceived that ethnic and national cultural orientations are highly autonomous and the fact that they both have a crucial role in acculturation and adaptation.

Acculturation as Berry (1997) asserted in Redfield, Linton, and Herskovits (1936 :149) is “comprehends those phenomena which result when groups of individuals having different cultures come into continuous first-hand contact with subsequent changes in the original culture patterns of either or both groups”.

Ward (2013) also stated on this: at the same time, it poses critical questions about identity, integration and adaptation that has broader implications for the development of acculturation theory and research. What represented, suggested that different strategies cannot assume separately while they are correlated. But depends on perspectives, someone might believe or give the priority to only one of them which probably is insufficient. this negligence may be made by policymakers, in public opinion or even immigrants.

As far as Each concept contains a different part of the problem and try to solve it differently, probably has different consequences. It should be clarified that, keep original cultural elements as long as accepting host culture has what kinds of advantages in comparison to adopt the demands of the destination land. If both process happen sequentially it is more beneficial or they are only two separate ways, if is an individually oriented or politically directed choice.

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