Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Jeffres, Leo

Subject Headings

Refugees -- Bhutan, Intercultural communication, Immigrants -- Ohio -- Cleveland, Immigrants -- Ohio -- Akron, Acculturation, Assimilation (Sociology), Adjustment (Psychology), Americanization, refugees, immigration, acculturation, assimilation, adaptation, new communication technologies, Bhutanese


This study examines the Bhutanese refugees, who are the newest group of refugees to arrive in the United States. It provides a detailed account of this community in the Cleveland-Akron area in Ohio. Research on this refugee population has only just begun, and they have been surveyed at an early time in the acculturation process. In 2007, their resettlement in the United States from camps in Nepal began, and by 2012, a total of 60,000 are expected to arrive in the United States. The research questions examine to what extent new communication technologies and media (ethnic and host) help the Bhutanese refugees in their acculturation in the United States and to what extent this helps them keep in touch with their native culture. A questionnaire with 106 items was given to 116 Bhutanese refugees who began arriving in Ohio in 2008, after living for about 17 years in refugee camps in Nepal. The study primarily refers to Young Yun Kim's theory of communication and cross-cultural adaptation and examines the influence of various new and old communication technologies since their arrival in the United States. The results indicate that the Bhutanese refugees are anxious to settle and make new American friends while remaining in close contact with other Bhutanese, whether across the street, the country, or around the world. As hypothesized, age was negatively associated with using technology to maintain ties with the home country and other Bhutanese. The use of American media was positively related to adjustment to the host culture. Also, the use of American media to learn about American culture was positively related to adjustment, as was frequent interpersonal communication with non-Bhutanese. Results of this study can impact how future waves of Bhutanese refugees from Nepal and also other immigrants and refugees can use communication technologies to adjust and cope in a new environment. Any person interested in this refugee population will obtain information from this study about their background, habits, culture, media

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