Refugee Integration

Every year, thousands of refugees who are fleeing war and persecution are resettled to cities across the United States where they are able to rebuild their lives. Unlike other newcomers to the U.S., refugee integration starts in the country of asylum. First contact and cultural orientation begin before refugees depart for the U.S., and orientation continues as communities are resettled in the USA.

According to the most recent data from the Department of Homeland Security, Bhutan,Burma, and Iraq are the leading countries of nationality for refugee admissions, with 71% of admissions in 2012 being from these countries. On average, refugees are younger than the native-born population. In 2012, thirty-two percent of refugees were younger than 18 years, suggesting that refugee children may have a strong presence in schools in the cities where they are resettled.

CAL has been a leader in refugee education and orientation since 1975, helping refugee newcomers understand fundamental aspects of life in the United States and helping service providers and other interested parties understand the rich cultures and linguistic heritages of the new members of their communities. CAL serves as a national technical assistance provider on both overseas and domestic refugee orientation and on the backgrounds and resettlement needs of new refugee groups. Activities include training; development of print, audiovisual, and web resources; research; dissemination and exchange of information throughout an international network of refugee service providers; and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on refugee orientation and refugee groups.

Resources, News, and Events

Related Projects

Cultural Orientation Resource (COR) Center
Cultural Orientation Resource (COR) Center

Funder: U.S. Department of State; Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration

The Linking Communities Project: Building Welcome for Refugees
The Linking Communities Project: Building Welcome for Refugees

Funder: Funder: HIAS

previous arrow
next arrow


CAL supports refugee and immigrant integration through the development of orientation programs for newcomers, their service providers, and other members of their receiving communities. Programs and services can be customized to meet your needs.

Learn more.

Contact Us

The Center for Applied Linguistics is a nonprofit organization promoting access, equity, and mutual understanding for linguistically and culturally diverse people around the world.