The aim of this study was to investigate the coupling between the immigrant and the new environment by focusing on South African emigrants in Canada’s experience of the environment. Thus far, acculturation and adaptation research has excluded the physical environment as a study unit. This study focused on the immigrants’ adaptation as a whole by including the physical environment as a component of the acculturation and adaptation processes. Systems theory constituted a framework for studying the interactions between people, culture and the physical environment. Twenty-four interviews were conducted via the Internet. The first order analysis identified 36 categories of experience. The second order analysis identified nine pattern categories that constitute a shared experience. The third order analysis placed the immigrants’ experience as a whole in the context of interacting systems. In conclusion recommendations are made for interdisciplinary co-operation, further research and the practical
implementation of migration research.