An Exploration of Immigrant Student-Individuals in a New Culture and a Solution to Post Migration Stress

By Sophie Yuechen Yao and Kailin Chen
Senior Category (Grades 11-12)
Study | Psychology

BCVSF Note: The required ethics forms have been submitted for this project.

Migration has been proven to be a major factor in mental illness for new immigrants. This is due to stress coming from cultural shock, loss of social norms, and sudden change of identity, pressuring individuals to adapt to the new environment quickly. In this process, migrants often lack social support and don’t feel a sense of acceptance during this time of change, further exacerbating mental stress and leading to mental illness. As a result, they may experience depression and low self-esteem.

In this project, we investigated the stress factors of new immigrants among the Vancouver high school population by conducting focus group studies. We propose that difficulties such as language and cultural barriers, homesickness, and a lack of connection to the local community are stress-causing factors to the population. A total of three focus group studies were done, and a total of 13 high school students varying from age 14 to 17 years old participated. We designed five questions to inspire discussion, encouraging all participants to share their stories. The first focus group was done in person; the second and third were done through voice calls.

Common answers were found across three focus groups regarding the stress factors, such as language barriers, difficulties of communication with a homestay, and a sense of isolation to the local community. Taking the results from the focus group studies, we envisioned a wellness centre with services aimed to assist new immigrants. Programs such as free therapy, sports, and dance will be offered to help them to alleviate their stress and build connections.

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