With increased globalization, people are able to move from one region and relocate to other regions. Immigration has also been enhanced by the fact that mobility of labor is increasingly becoming perfect, compared to ancient years. Though people migrate for good reasons to various parts of the world, they are always faced with difficulties before they eventually settle down.
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It should be noted that culture, being a unique aspect of human life, is different in every region of the world. Nevertheless, immigrants are usually compelled to adapt to the culture of their hosts in order to associate themselves with them. Usually, various methods are employed by immigrants during adaptation and they include: assimilation, ethnic pluralism and transnationalism. All this processes share somethings in common though they have differences as well.
Assimilation is used to refer to a process by which immigrants learn and internalize all the cultural requirements of the hosts. It should be noted that this is a one direction process because the hosts are not expected to learn the culture of the immigrants. Though the difference may not be that significant on first generation immigrants, second generation immigrants are usually so much into the hosts’ culture that it is hard to differentiate the two.
However, it has been proofed that the immigrants do not usually forsake their culture as it seems during assimilation. Many of the immigrants only change their way of doing things in public while they maintain everything including their language in private, especially in their homes. Arguably, assimilation is psychologically disturbing to the immigrants and usually causes mental illness.
On the other hand, ethnic pluralism refers to the situation where the immigrants learn the hosts’ culture while maintaining their own culture. In this regard, the immigrants’ culture is manifested though it is inferior to that of the hosts. When ethnic pluralism is applied the different cultures co-exist side by side. It should be noted that cultural differences are highly pronounced in ethnic pluralism than they are in assimilation.
On the same note, unlike assimilation where the immigrants are expected to forsake their culture, in ethnic pluralism immigrants maintain their culture. In other instances, the host culture dominates in every aspect though immigrants, culture still remains intact. Nevertheless, in both assimilation and ethnic pluralism immigrants do not relinquish their culture.
On the other hand, transnationalism refers to the process by which the immigrants maintain ties with their countries of origin leading to stronger ties between the two countries. In this case, immigrants and the hosts both copy each other’s cultural traits making co-existence an easy process.
Immigrants try as much as possible to remain attached to the people back at home while at the same time identify themselves with their hosts. In this regard, it has been argued that transnationalism reduces the pace at which assimilation takes place. However, it should be noted that transnationalism differs from assimilation and ethnic pluralism in the sense that immigrants are not under any pressure to learn the hosts’ culture. However they share the point that the hosts’ culture is supreme.
Given the above definitions, I would suggest that immigrants use ethnic pluralism. Ethnic pluralism allows immigrants to learn the hosts’ culture without forfeiting their own, while at the same time they can maintain ties with their own country. Assimilation leads to loss of identity because immigrants are expected to fully take up the hosts’ culture. On the other hand, transnationalism does not equip the immigrants properly hence they are unable to deal with certain cultural problems.