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The Lived Experiences and Sense of Belonging among Somali Adults and Youth in Edmonton Open Access


Other title
Home ownership
Somali immigrants
Sense of belonging
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Abdela, Yesuf H
Supervisor and department
Garvin, Theresa (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Agrawal, Sandeep (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
McDougall, Ann (History and Classics)
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
Edmonton has the largest Somali-Canadian population outside Southern Ontario, and Somalis are the largest African community in Edmonton. Although, many immigrants in Canada face challenges in settlement and integration, Somalis face additional challenges (Mensah, 2010). This study emerged from a desire to explore the lived experiences and feelings of belonging among Somalis in Edmonton, given the challenges faced in settlement and integration. Through a grounded qualitative approach, I employed one-on-one interviews with adult and youth participants to explore their experiences, perceptions and views of Edmonton and Canada. The findings show that 1) family disintegration – as family members are settled in various parts of the world, 2) cultural and psychological displacement, and 3) the problems related to home ownership due to the issue of “riba” (the paying of interest) on mortgages affects Somali immigrants’ sense of belonging to Canada. Furthermore, while legal citizenship status is important to many Somalis, this is attributed to the practical need for a passport that can serve as a legal identity document and travel permit, as opposed to being a symbol of belonging. The research participants’ self-reported feelings of belonging are low as is their corresponding intention and hope for owning a home. However, despite all these challenges, Somali immigrants are also striving to create their own place within the larger Canadian society and Canadian life.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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