OMNES : The Journal of multicultural society
[ Article ]
OMNES: The Journal of Multicultural Society - Vol. 11, No. 2, pp.25-50
ISSN: 2093-5498 (Print)
Print publication date 31 Jul 2021
Received 02 Jun 2021 Revised 15 Jun 2021 Accepted 13 Jul 2021

Africans in South Korea: Adaptation and Coping Strategies and Lessons from Experiences

Rebecca Mbuh DeLancey
Independent Researcher, United States


Globalization has facilitated the movement of people from one continent to another and provided opportunities to experience diverse cultures. Africans living in Korea migrated from their home countries for various reasons, including education and employment. While Korea had previously earned an international reputation as one of the most homogenous countries, its society is slowly changing, even encouraging multiculturalism. Data for this study was collected using a qualitative research method (a combination of focus groups and interviews) from six African groups in Korea. A questionnaire was sent to 175 migrants, and 120 completed and returned it. Recognizing these migrants’ experiences can assist in understanding the uniqueness of their situations, and may help policymakers design integration programs and activities for migrants in general and those of African origins in particular. The findings indicate that the respondents employed several integration strategies at various points during their stay in Korea; most cited learning the Korean language as a breakthrough in the adaptation process. Additionally, the Korean government’s programs for foreigners were evaluated as being encouraging for migrants. An overwhelmingly number of respondents agreed that their psychological sense of community (first introduced by Sarason, 1974) was paramount for successful adaptation in their new society.


Africans in Korea, migration, multiculturalism, culture shock, adaptation strategies, acculturation


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Biographical Note

Rebecca Mbuh Delancey, Ph.D. taught as a full professor for thirteen years in the Department of Business Administration at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Sookmyung Women’s University, Seoul, and Jungwon University, South Korea. In addition to teaching and conducting research, she was a consultant with for-profit and non-profit organizations globally and has conducted workshops with Korean companies and Korean government agencies. Prior to continuing her teaching career in Korea, Professor Mbuh DeLancey taught at Allen University and Webster University, and Universitas Riau, Indonesia.

She holds a Ph.D. human resources/higher educational administration from the University of South Carolina, a B.A. degree from Allen University, U.S.A and her MBA in Business Administration from Anglia Ruskin University, UK. Her academic research interests have resulted in several academic publications including authored several articles and book chapters, co-author of three books (Women in the New Millennium: The Global Revolution, Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cameroon [2010 & 2019]. She is also the author of a children’s book (Full Moon). She has presented numerous papers at conferences in the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Her research interests include multiculturalism and diversity in administration and corporations, African women in peacebuilding and conflict resolution, African businesswomen in the global business environment, and Immigrants’ Entrepreneurship. Email: