Preparing for the Unknown: Designing Effective Predeparture Orientation for Resettling Refugees (MPI)
This MPI Europe report explores the various forms of predeparture orientation programs offered by resettlement countries. It focuses on important design questions and identifies a set of features shared by effective programs.
This MPI Europe report by Susan Fratzke and Lena Kainz explores the various forms of predeparture orientation, also called cultural orientation, offered by resettlement countries to refugees selected for resettlement. The authors discuss the content, timing, and delivery of these programs, shaped by both the refugees’ situation and the resettlement country’s resources and priorities. The study draws on interviews with resettlement policymakers, program implementers, and reception and integration service providers. Its seven case-study countries – Austria, Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and Romania – represent both longstanding and relatively new national resettlement programs.
Among the many approaches to predeparture orientation, the authors identify a set of features shared by effective programs. These include tailoring programming to ensure it is accessible and viewed as credible by refugees, creating continuity between predeparture and postarrival supports, and minimizing distractions so all participants can fully engage with orientation activities.