Understanding process of learning that immigrant Colombian women in the United States undergo during their social integration experiences
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to describe and to understand the social integrations experiences, and the learning that occurs for adult immigrant Colombian women in the United States. The following research questions guided the study: 1. How do adult immigrant Colombian women describe and understand their social integration experiences in the United States? 2. What types of learning, if any, take place during the social integration experiences of immigrant adult Colombian women in the United States and does the learning lead to a deeper individual change? The epistemological frames that informed this study were experiential learning, transformational learning, postcolonial feminist theory, social integration, and feminization of migration. The study used a basic interpretative qualitative research design as the methodology of inquiry and the epistemological paradigm was the interpretive-constructive stance. Data were collected through interviews and documents. For the analysis of the data, I used two methods. First, the holistic-contend and the constant comparative analysis method. Data analysis revealed two main findings: First, women who participated in the study have not developed a sense of belonging to the United States regardless of time in the country or immigration status, communicating that it is necessary to develop a sense of biculturalism, more social mobility and being active citizens in order to fulfill their integration process. Acquisition of the language, understanding the culture, and isolation were the most unanticipated challenges experienced by participants. Participants began to describe their social integration experiences from the moment when they made the decision to migrate and expressed that the first two or three years after their arrival, were the most critical time for their integration process. The second main finding was that all eight women participated in both formal and non-formal educational programs prior to and upon arrival in the United States. From the analysis emerged learning from experience as an integral type of learning during the social integration experiences. The analysis of the data also revealed a process of learning from experience that included two components: Instrumental learning (practical day-to-day learning), transformative learning (self-reflective, dialogic learning and women’s making meaning of new self).