Lesson Idea: Acculturation Strategies

Travis DixonSocial and Cultural Psychology

Can you figure out which acculturation strategy these people used?

This activity is designed to help students understant Berry’s four different acculturation strategies. Read the summaries below of how these immigrants have adjusted to life in their new culture. What strategy have they used? Assimilation, integration, separation or marginalization?

Read about the four different strategies in this post.

Monica – Is a 16 year old Egyptian girl who moved to the United Arab Emirates when she was 8. She doesn’t know much about Emirati culture and doesn’t have too much of an interesting in learning, although she does have Emirati friends and teachers.

Bryan – Is a 17 year old American from Florida who moved to Peru with his mother and brother because of his mother’s job. He has started studying Spanish because he wants to be able to meet more people and to go out by himself and experience Peruvian culture. Every Sunday he has friends over at his house and they watch the NFL on TV.

Travis – Is a 34 year old psychology teacher lives and works in Japan. He is married to a beautiful Japanese woman, Satomi, and they have an awesome son, Leo. Travis doesn’t have much interest in Japanese culture and can’t speak any of the language. He supports the All Blacks rugby team and considers himself a proud Kiwi.

Diana – is a 15 year old Syrian refugee who has moved from Syria with her family to Italy. She has fallen in love with the Italian culture, include the food, language and the Italian way of life. It worries her parents that Diana has little interest in Syrian culture. 

Talia – was born in the United States and her parents are from Samoa. She has never been to Samoa and she can’t speak the language. She doesn’t feel very strong connections with Samoa. She often feels like an outsider in America and she thinks that people treat her differently than other Americans.

Discrimination: Who Will Be Least Affected?

  • Can you think of ways that Monica, Bryan, Travis, Diana or Talia may experience prejudice and/or discrimination?
  • From the above descriptions, who do you think will be better able to deal with experiencing prejudice and discrimination? Why?