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What is integration? And what does it take to integrate?

When migrants choose a strategy of integration (contrary to separation or marginalisation for example), they are interested in maintaining the culture of origin while having day-to-day contacts with members of the other culture. They are interested in being part of a wider social network (Berry, 1997).

For example, I chose to be part of the local culture at the same time as preserving my own. When I encountered a conflict of values, I chose my culture of origin (for example, I will not study on Yom Kippur).

Haug and colleagues (Haug et al., 2007) describe integration as taking place in three social circles in the host society.

The first circle is the inner circle consisting of the home (family), the church (religion) (or synagogue) and the school (education). This circle is legally open to foreigners as well, meaning that even those who are not natives can receive services from these institutions.

The second circle consists of public spaces shared by native-born and migrants, such as shops and markets, where contacts between locals and foreigners is superficial.

The third circle is a circle of traditions and cultural events, and is reserved mainly for native-born people.

It takes a long time for them to integrate into all or some of the circles.

During integration, there are processes of inclusion, alongside processes of exclusion. The processes of inclusion take place in social networks and in the education, health and economic systems, and are expressed in the fact that the new immigrants receive rights as local residents. The processes of exclusion, on the other hand, are evident in the location of residence - that is, in living in neighbourhoods where there are other immigrants and in some cases in the resistance of landlords to rent apartments to immigrants - and in social manifestations, such as racism, xenophobia and prejudice (Schuster, 2005).

Migration policy in the destination country affects the attitude of the host society and the disclosures of inclusion and exclusion. This policy has consequences for most areas of the individual's life, such as institutions with which the individual comes in contact, his social and family life and the education system of his children (Hannam et al., 2006).

I will be happy to hear what do you think about this little explanation.

Dr. Efrat Tzadik

Expert in migration and integration

Certified coach for empowerment and personal development

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