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A significant number of migrants around the world each year are refugees from war and conflict. The purpose of this research study was to gather and analyze refugees’ stories of their resettlement experiences in Illinois.  Data were collected and analysed using qualitative methods, with a focus on narrative inquiry. In-depth interviews were conducted with four male refugee participants who had at least seven years of resettlement experiences in the U.S. Two participants were from Democratic Republic of Congo, one from Iraq, and one from Vietnam. Coding involved categorizing data, assigning numbers to the relevant categories, and creating themes that captured participants’ key responses related to the research questions. Based on these interviews, the study’s findings were: (a) government and non-governmental agencies provided participants with civic education, language acquisition, and technical training that enabled them to gain access to education and employment opportunities; (b) the lack of English language oral communication and writing skills slowed down agency services acquisition; and (c) negative political rhetoric, migration policies, religious and ethnic discrimination, and prejudice created fear among participants that threatened to overshadow their aspirations to integrate and acculturate. The study recommended involving former refugees in resettlement programs, especially acquiring government services, because deeper knowledge based on their experiences would improve resettlement policy and practice.

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Bogonko T. Siko 2777
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