Refugee, Jordanian, and Other Migrant
experiences with integration
Broken Social Networks
There were already social and family connections between Daraa in southern Syria, and Irbid governorate from long before the conflict broke out in 2012, although one 2016 study found social networks are “underutilized” among refugees in Jordan (Stevens, 2016). This may be because many families and social networks have become fractured, with some members living in Irbid, others in Amman, some back in Daraa trapped by the closed southern border with Jordan, and others abroad in the Gulf, Europe, Canada, or the US.
Those living in Irbid expect remittances to be sent from family members living in developed countries, imagining life in Germany or America to be a paradise “where cash grows on trees” (as one Syrian living in Germany described what he believed his family back in Jordan thought life was like for him in Europe). Syrians in Jordan do not widely understand the steep cost of living in the West, and the difficulties resettled refugees face scraping together a living. This puts pressure on family members living abroad, who often chose to slowly drop their connections with family back in Irbid because they feel stressed from constantly being asked to remit more money. Syrian refugees describe different experiences with the breakdowns of their social networks: sometimes losing contact happens after a sudden, heated argument over politics or money, and other times it happens gradually, sending messages less and less frequently after moving apart.