It would be impossible for a volunteer to learn all of the customs and preferences of the various cultures from which refugees arrive. As you get to know refugees through friendship, you will learn more about their cultures. Refugees understand that they are entering into a new culture, and will therefore have to adapt to that culture (but still keep their own!). Their own culture is to be celebrated, but they will learn various American customs in order to thrive. For example, a refugee will most likely shake your hand when you meet them at the airport, even if this is not how they would have greeted you in their home country.
Listed below are links to information that will assist in better understanding and serving refugees.
- Afghani Cultural Overview
- Bhutanese Background Info
- Burmese Background Info
- Burmese Refugees Cultural Profile
- Cambodian Culture Info
- Central African Republic Cultural Overview
- Colombian Cultural Overview
- Congolese Culture Info
- Cuban Fact Sheet
- Eritrean Cultural Info
- Iranian Culture Info
- Iraqi Cultural Overview
- Iraqi Fact Sheet
- Montagnard (Vietnam Background Info)
- Muslim Refugee Cultural Overview
- Pakistani Culture Info
- Somali Bantu Refugee Info
- Sudan Fact Sheet
- Syrian Culture Info
- Tanzanian Cultural Info
- Tutsi (Rwanda) Background Info
You can also check out "EveryCulture's" website and/or Cultural Orientation Resource Center's website for extensive background information on refugees from various countries. The Joshua Project is another helpful site that discusses smaller people groups within specific countries.
Click here for helpful information about Arabic websites and TV programs.