Research With a Purpose: An Immigrant's Dissertation on Ukrainian Diaspora in the US Turned Advice Column

5 травня 2017

Svitlana was born and raised in Kyiv, where she attended the Geography Department of Taras Shevchenko National University. A member of European Geography Student Association, she had the opportunity to travel all over Europe, which helped her decide upon a specialization in tourism management for her degree.  After two summers of Work&Travel Program in the US Svitlana withdrew her Bachelor Diploma in favor of obtaining her Master’s Degree at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. Her Master’s thesis titled “Destination Image of Ukraine as Seen by US College Students” was awarded the Best Thesis Award of 2010 by ECU’s College of Health and Human Development.

Svitlana continued her academic career by obtaining a PhD in Recreation and Tourism management at The Pennsylvania State University. Her experience of coming to the US by herself and adjusting to the new country and new culture was so profound that she decided to make it a topic of her dissertation research. For the next four years, she focused her efforts on researching how immigrants (specifically 4th Wave Ukrainian immigrants) adjust in the US environment and culture, and how this adjustment affects their relationship with their homeland. With the help of Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian Scientific Society in New York Svitlana interviewed a number of immigrants about their experiences adjusting as well as conducted a nationwide survey of Ukrainian immigrants about acculturation and their relationship with Ukraine. The results of this research can be found in several academic journal articles as well as a book chapter in Leanne White’s “Commercial Nationalism” book.

Using the knowledge obtained through her research, Svitlana will be writing a column for UACCH in which she will outline advice for newcomer (as well as established) Ukrainian immigrants and best practices and tips for adjusting in the US in general and in Houston in particular. Please stay tuned for the first article in the series! 

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