Post-Soviet marriage immigrants in the USA
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The issues of massive international migration have received an increased attention in the adult education research. Historically, the United States has been greatly influenced and enriched by a vast diversity of immigrants from all over the world. It is important to gain a deeper understanding of the various factors related to the immigrants’ effective cultural integration that underlies the country’s economic and political advancement. In this study, I attempted to shed light on the unique group of post-Soviet marriage immigrant women in the United States. The women’s personal stories of learning and adaptation in the new culture, told in their own voices, lie at the core of this research. Ten face-to-face individual interviews were conducted with the women, who came to America from different post-Soviet territories through the help of international matchmaking agencies. Critical examination of the participants’ immigration experiences revealed such aspects as expressions of agency, discovering support and social networks, and achieving better fitness in the new society through learning and transformation. The women in the study exhibited great capacity to confront the challenges and stresses of acculturation and adapt to new situations. As predicted by Kim’s (1988, 2001) stress-adaptation-growth pattern, numerous disorienting dilemmas that the immigrant women encounter become an essential and integral parts of adaptation to the new cultural milieu and continuing growth. This study revealed two major conclusions: 1) The post-Soviet marriage immigrants represent a heterogeneous group whose adaptation trajectories in America were found to be shaped by the many ways in which these women expressed agency and resilience, and 2) continuous transformative learning has accompanied each phase of the women’s psychological and cultural transition.