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Bosnian Immigrants: Opportunities and Challenges in the Greater Rochester Area

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This book is a first attempt to analytically study and discuss the Bosnian community of Rochester. It is focused on the lives and experiences of a sample of 100 Bosnian families living in Rochester, most of whom have successfully adjusted to a new environment, while facing many religious, cultural, and linguistic challenges. According to the testimony of many Bosnian refugees residing in Rochester, New York, as refugees and newcomers to the city, they faced many challenges including: the language barrier, cultural differences, isolation, fear of being different and not accepted, fear of losing their ethnic and religious identity, prejudice, discrimination, and uncertainty of the future for their children. They also had to overcome inhumane treatment, deportation, grieving, trauma, revenge, forced labor, rape, destruction of cultural and religious monuments, illegal detention, starvation, loss of family members and more. The majority of the participants in this research are Bosnian refugees who fled Bosnia as teenagers or young adults. As such, they were old enough to have formed personal connections to their home culture, religion and language, yet young enough to master and adapt to the systems of an American life. This group must shoulder the burden of fostering solidarity, trust, cultural and religious appreciation among Bosnians in America while simultaneously having to prove their loyalty to their families and their home country. All of this while still facing personal challenges with their older parents, who live either in Bosnia or with them in Rochester. In addition, they face challenges with their own children, who have no memories of living in Bosnia and do not see their religion, language and culture through their parents' lens.

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Aisa Purak
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