Emerging Rural Research: by Michelle Lam

Newcomers in Rural Canada: Lived Experiences in Education and Integration

Michelle Lam | lamm345@myumanitoba.ca

PhD in Education, University of Manitoba

Rural areas are becoming more diverse as a result of private sponsorship, economically-driven immigration policy, and the desires of newcomers themselves to seek lower costs of housing, employment opportunities, or other reasons. Unknowingly, these newcomers step into a powder keg of long-standing disillusionment towards government, lower levels of education, higher levels of religious affiliation, economic depression, decreasing social contact, increasing rural hate crime, decreasing police presence, and increasing reliance on social media for information. Beyond this, the rapid changes in rural demographics mean that experienced settlement workers, settlement and integration supports, and language teachers are usually not available locally.
How then, do newcomers meet their educational goals, particularly in regards to language learning? Language learning has been linked to positive employment outcomes and social integration. Yet the experiences of newcomers in rural areas is not known, as most migration research happens in the large urban centres of Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.  My project simultaneously aims to deepen understanding of how rural geographical location impacts the language learning and integrative goals of newcomers, while staging an educational intervention that corrects misinformation, fosters empathy, and promotes discussion and social connection.
Kindly  connect with Michelle by sharing your knowledge, expressing an interest in this initiative, or connecting her initiative to other folks who could benefit or contribute.

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