Cultural Adaptation of Somali Refugee Youth

Cultural Adaptation of Somali Refugee Youth
Raynel M. Shepard
February 2008

ISBN-13:  978-1-59332-233-5 / Hardcover
Dimensions:  5.5 x 8.5 / xvi, 262 pages

Price   $70.00


Much research has been conducted on the cultural adaptation of Asian, Latinos and Afro-Caribbean youth in the United States, but little on the children of African immigrants. Observations concerning the adaptation of other immigrant groups may not transfer to African immigrants. Shepard explores the cultural adaptation of a group of Somali refugee youths in a public urban high school. As these youth negotiate the social contexts of peers, school, family, and community we see the ways in which race, religion, gender, and youth culture shape their notions of identity. Through the voices of these young people we learn how they create personae in order to conform to the host society without necessarily accepting its molds. As one student remarks, "Acting is not becoming."

About the Author

Raynel M. Shepard has worked for thirty years as a teacher of immigrant children. She began her career teaching EFL as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire, Africa, after which she taught in Boston, Massachusetts public schools, and became an ESL curriculum developer and teacher trainer for BPS. She is an adjunct professor at the Lynch Graduate School of Education at Boston College. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with her husband.