Cultural Orientation Program Profile
Date Established: The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Moscow began operating this CO program in 2000.
Refugees: Most of the RSC Eurasia CO program's students are of the following ethnicities: Azeri, Armenian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Moldovan, Ukrainian, Russian, Uygur, Afghan, Iranian, Iraqi, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Sudanese, Congolese, Somali, Cuban, or Chinese. Students range from the age of 14 to 69.
Two large groups of the program's refugees are of particular note. Lautenberg (P2) refugees are individuals whose claim is based on persecution for their religious beliefs or their Jewish ethnicity by the authorities in their home countries during the Soviet era. Lautenberg refugees have immediate relatives in the U.S. and, as a rule, they still reside in their countries of origin. The program also serves P1 refugees, displaced individuals whose claim could be based on any of a plethora of reasons and who were referred to the program by UNHCR, U.S. embassies, or non-governmental organizations. These refugees generally have no ties to the U.S.
Training Sites: The program conducts mobile CO missions in the following locations: Baku, Azerbaijan; Almaty, Kazakhstan; Bishkek and Osh, Kyrgyzstan; Valletta, Malta; Timisoara, Romania; Moscow, Russia; Humenne, Slovakia; Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkov, and Odessa, Ukraine.
Staff: The CO team currently consists of four CO trainers.
Course Particulars: RSC Eurasia's CO team travels to the refugees on mobile missions to deliver CO classes, and conducts three standards of trainings: a one-day session of 6-7 hours for P2 (Lautenberg) refugees outside of Moscow, a three-day session of 15-18 hours for P1 refugees, and a half-day session for P2 refugees in Moscow.The program's curriculum is based on the contents of Welcome to the United States: A Guidebook for Refugees, and its accompanying video, as well as on feedback from students, trainers, and resettlement colleagues. The curriculum includes 15 units in total, covering topics such as Employment, Cultural Adjustment, Parenting, Money Management, US Law, Adult/Child Education, Resettlement Agency and Health.
The courses are based on experiential and active learning, with the majority of training conducted through group activities, questions, discussions, debates and dialogue with the students. When necessary, interpreters are used to convey the information with clarity.