An exploration of the lived acculturation experiences of newcomer varsity athletes in Manitoba

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Brown, Craig
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Immigration has grown exponentially in Canada and, according to Sport for Life (2018), it will be the primary source of net population growth by 2030. Therefore, understanding the acculturation (learning a second culture [Rudmin, 2009]) challenges faced by the Canadian newcomer population has become essential. A gap related to understanding Canadian newcomer varsity athlete acculturation exists. This study explored the lived acculturation experiences of this population in Manitoba to reduce this gap and answer the call for more qualitative research related to this phenomenon (Schinke & McGannon, 2014). Using a social constructionist approach, letters to their younger self (inspired by Creative Analytic Practice) were used to inform semi-structured interviews from which data related to the participants’ acculturation experiences was collected. An interpretive thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006) was conducted in order to answer the question: What are the acculturation experiences of newcomer varsity athletes in Manitoba? The results revealed themes related to: a) the challenges athletes face settling in their host cultural context, b) the essential role of support systems to these athletes, and c) how context affects the athletes’ acculturation positionality. Particular insight into the social and structural aspects of the host culture, the networks of support that exist and how they can be improved will be discussed. Further, the practicality with which the athletes viewed adjusting to their host cultural context emerged as key to how the athletes experienced and approached acculturation in their host cultural context.
Acculturation, Newcomer, Varsity Athlete, Social Constructionism