I chose to work at a child care center and the family that I welcome will be from Uzbekistan. Having no knowledge of the Uzbek culture, to prepare myself for the new arrivals, I will make sure that I do the following:
- I will find out where exactly Uzbekistan is and learn about the culture and the dominant religion. I will do this because by learning about the country and the culture I will have prior knowledge of their culture and will not make any cultural faux pas.
- I will try to find out if there are any immigrants –serving organizations or cultural mediators in case the need for their services arises. I will also try to have an immigrant family from the school be their “buddy” family. This will make their transition easier because they will have a family that has gone through the same journey that they are taking, advising them.
- I will inform my class and my colleagues of the new arrivals and the need to make them welcome. We will learn something about Uzbekistan and this will help the children to relate to the family with prior knowledge.
- I will not assume that they speak a lot of English and will try to have materials translated into the Uzbek or Russian as these are the languages spoken there. We will try to learn a few Uzbek and Russian words.
- We will make our class welcoming by putting pictures from the Uzbek culture on the walls.
By preparing myself in the ways described above, I think it will make for an easier transition for the family and the children in the class. It is important for them to have access to other families that are immigrants as this will help them navigate the new cultural and social landscape with families that have had the same experience. Learning a few Uzbek words will help the new child to feel good about their language and the children in the class will not find it strange. Translating the materials into Uzbek or Russian as a backup in case they are not proficient in English will help to demystify the whole enrollment procedure (the various forms that have to be completed, the vaccinations required, the parent handbook etc.).