The purpose of this essay is to illustrate immigrants’ and refugees’ thoughts and experiences of the process of integrating into Swedish society and to examine which social networks foster the process. The main questions in the study are: * What experiences enable refugees and immigrants to become integrated and fully participating members of the Swedish society?
* What is the importance of the social networks with regards to integration into Swedish society? A qualitative method was used and five interviews were completed with SFI (Swedish for immigrants) students. The study shows that knowledge of Swedish language promotes an initiative in contacting native Swedes, and it also determines the success of integration. To attend college is considered an advanced step in integration process. The will to integrate is also one of the main requirements for a successful integration. The surrounding environment certainly affects immigrants’ and refugees’ integration process and feeling of participation. Participants of the study state that their everyday lives, and amicable relationships with native Swedes help the integration process. Trust between concerned persons is a presupposition for a successful integration. Age of immigrants and refugees is another important element to consider when observing the process of integration. In conclusion, study participants feel that the choice of the social network is a crucial one when it comes to the integration process. Some have social networks that include native Swedes, others do not. Immigrants and refugees that do not have any contact with native Swedes are usually not well-versed in Swedish, or they feel they cannot make a connection with the native Swedes. Some feel that Swedish society has a negative vision of immigrants and refugees and this is the reason they are not able to make the connection with the native Swedes. The only contact that some of respondents have with native Swedes is with people working in immigration/refugee centres. Participants of the study feel successful integration means doing things “the right way” and doing things “the way a native Swede would do it”.
- Samhällsvetenskap (5)