Why is it important to manage expectations?
Expectations are normal. Expectations enable us to frame our present and future based on past experiences, perceptions, emotions, imagination and desires.
While expectations are not inherently problematic, unrealistic expectations about Canada, the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program, sponsors and their responsibilities, financial support and other assistance, as well as the expectations of sponsored refugees, can negatively affect the sponsorship and it’s outcome.
How do we manage expectations?
Communication is vital in setting realistic expectations, and prevents complications arising from mismatched expectations for both the sponsored refugee and the sponsoring group. Ultimately, clear, timely and effective communication is vital to the success of the refugee sponsorship.
You may want to develop a pre-arrival communication strategy with the refugee you are sponsoring. Consider what mode of communication is feasible and makes most sense given the refugee’s situation abroad in terms of security, safety, access to technology, sufficient funds to facilitate communication and any other factors. Be sure to communicate clearly about the kinds of support they will get from your group, why your group has sponsored them, how long the sponsorship is, your expectations, their expectations, and what they can expect from you.
Do not assume that the refugee has fully understood or remembered all of the information you have discussed with them even if you repeated them several times and in several ways. After their arrival, it will be important to reiterate some of the key messages again. Plan with your group how you will communicate this information in a consistent and objective way in order to establish realistic expectations. Be prepared that the refugees will have additional questions and worries now that they are in Canada.
To prepare for the arrival of the refugees that your group has sponsored, consider reflecting on the following questions, both individually and with your sponsoring group.
- What are you expectations?
- What are refugee’s expectations? Do you know?
- Are these expectations realistic?
- What are the dangers of unrealistic expectations? Can these be avoided?
- What can you do if expectations are not being met?
What happens if there is a conflict or breakdown of sponsorship?
If you are in Toronto you can refer to Toronto RSS.
Toronto RSS is a project of the refugee sponsorship training program (RSTP) that strives to support refugee sponsorship and facilitate successful sponsorship.
If you live outside of Toronto you can contact Ontario RSTP team.