Points Possible: 25
Immigrant Interview Assignment
“Where are you from? Why did you stay?”
Throughout this unit, students will investigate the theme of immigration in order to gain
a greater awareness and empathy for people from of other cultures, as well as become more informed . With this project, students will engage in an authentic learning experience by uncovering an immigrant’s journey to America.
Directions: Students will seek out an immigrant (relative, friend, or acquaintance) and uncover his/her journey to the U.S. by conducting a thorough interview. Interviewees can remain anonymous, as long as they are given a pseudonym (fake name) on the paper. Students must ask at least 15 questions (5 required questions and 10 optional).
1. Where are you from?
2. How did you get here?
3. What hardships have you faced during your time here?
4. What successes have you achieved during your time here?
5. Why did you stay?
Students may substitute optional questions with their own.
1. What specific circumstances caused you to immigrate?
2. Was it a personal decision or one that someone else made for you?
3. How old were you?
4. What had you heard about the U.S. before you came? What stereotypes/expectations did you have?
5. Had you seen pictures or photos of the U.S.? What did you think of them?
6. What had people told you about the U.S.?
7. Were your initial expectations accurate? Can you give me an example?
8. Where specifically in your former country did you live? (great time to pull out your atlas)
9. What was your life like there?
10. What was going on historically?
11. Can you tell me about the government in your native country before you left?
12. What year/date did you arrive in (present city)?
13. Did you immigrate alone, or with friends/other family members?
14. Can you share a memorable experience with me about what is like, how you were feeling when you first arrived?
15. Was it hard to leave or was it exciting?
16. Did you experience any “culture shock”? Was it hard to adapt? If so, what was challenging? Can you think of a story or experience that will give me an idea?
17. Do you miss family members/Friends? Are you in touch with them? How?
18. What possessions did you take with you? What important things, if any did you leave behind?
19. How did you arrive? Method of transportation? What route did you take?
20. Do you have a green card? How did you obtain it? Are you an official U.S. citizen?
21. When did you become an official citizen?
22. What did you have to do in order to become an official citizen?
23. How did you wind up in Chicago?
24. Did you consider living anywhere else?
25. Did you know anyone here when you arrived?
26. How did people treat you? Do you find people treat you differently now if you have been here for a while?
27. Who/What helped you get settled, find a place to live, etc.?
28. Tell me about any language barriers that you experience/or currently experience?
29. Did you know any English before you arrived?
30. Was it difficult to communicate when you first arrived?
31. What were your first 24 hours/days like?
32. Can you tell me how your life has changed since you came to this country?
33. What sacrifices if any have you made to live in the U.S.?
34. Are their specific things/people that you miss? Who/what? Why?
35. What is the best thing about your immigrant experience?
36. What has been most challenging or difficult about your experience?
37. What kind of job did you have in your home country?
38. What job(s) did/do you have in the U.S.?
39. How did you go about finding a job?
40. Did you bring any specific skills with you that you were able to use here?
41. If you had no immigrated, what do you think your life would be like today? Can you give me an example of how it might be different?
42. Did you feel welcomed?
43. If you have children, were they born in this country?
44. Do they speak your native language?
45. Do they know about your immigrant experience/native culture?
46. How might you children’s lives differ if you had not emigrated?
47. What might you life, your family’s life, be like today had you not emigrated?
48. How has this country changed since your arrived?
49. Can you tell me a story or give me an example of how your country has changed since you’ve been here?
Tips for Conducting a Good Interview
· Make sure the location you choose to conduct your interview is quiet and comfortable
· Give a list of questions to your interviewee, so they know what to expect.
· Be encouraging to your interviewee
o Look at your interviewee and smile while they are talking.
o Be familiar with your questions so that you can pay attention to your interviewee, NOT the paper in your hand.
· Really listen to what your interviewee is saying
o Make sure that they have answered your question and that you have received the information that you are looking for. If not, ask the interviewee to elaborate.
o Pay attention for something that you find interesting, so that you can ask a follow-up question. (Write it down if you need to, so that you don’t forget to ask it!)
o Don’t be afraid to ask questions that you might not have written down. What your interviewee says might lead you somewhere unexpected.
· Wait for at least 3-5 seconds after you think your interviewee is done speaking to ask your next question. They might surprise you and have more to say.
· Thank your interviewee for their time. Be sure to ask permission to contact them again if you need to clarify or get any additional information.
· Be gracious and appreciative.