Students will need to conduct three different interviews/interactions with persons from cultures different from that of the student. Each of these will have a journal or report that will be submitted through Blackboard. The journals will focus on three different topics:
Views of America
In the past, it has not proven difficult for students to locate and talk with people from other cultures. Sometimes these are fellow students; sometimes they are people from the student’s home town. Some students have most of their interactions with one person; sometimes the interactions are with two or three people.
Conversation Assignment 1
Consider the cultural quality of collectivism. Do your conversation partners come from collectivistic or individualistic cultures? Why do you say so? What did the partners say (not say) or do (not do) that leads you to your conclusion? Perhaps it is the information that they supplied, or perhaps it is also what they did, too.
You might start with “How close are you to your family? Why do you say this?” This may lead to you finding out about them choosing a field of study (or having it chosen for you) or that they can marry or date outside the ingroup or even a person of their choice. Do they live with their grandparents, etc.? How about tribal loyalties (as far as Arab students, for example?) Would they disobey an elder or a member of their ingroup? How about friends? Do they have many “sort of” friends like we do, or do they focus on just a few strong friendships. Do they intend to live their lives near their home/family/ingroup? Does their performance in school affect their family’s standing in the neighborhood? Generally how connected/loyal/obedient/supportive are they when it come to their ingroup?
Overall, in the world, some cultures find connection to the group, family, or clan as the single most important principle in guiding one’s life. Other cultures feel that it is important for individual to break away from the group or family, to be a true individual who is not restricted by the expectations of others. How about your conversation partner? What about his or her culture.
In this interaction, however, students will need to use appropriate and effective interaction and interviewing strategies. Please be respectful. Don’t just dump a bunch of disconnected questions on the person. Get to know the person, if you have not already been acquainted. Follow the conversation as it flows as opposed to stopping things abruptly and changing topics; you can ease your way from one topic to another. Use good interview techniques like open questions, follow-up questions to get clarity, gentle probing for further information. Sometimes, you might have to use a hypothetical scenario to get things rolling because people don’t necessarily know how to talk about their own culture. From the scenario, you could find out what is normal and what might not be allowed, which will help you understand communication in that person’s culture. Again, whatever you do, please be as respectful as you know how. If the person just doesn’t seem to be able to inform you about his or her culture, you may have to find someone else.
After the interaction, you are to write a 600-word reflection (journal) on the conversation. Start with a brief synopsis of the interaction and then report on the information you discovered in line with the specific topic you were to examine.