International Family Interview Project: The goal of this project is to acquaint you with a family that is culturally different from the family that you have grown up in. Find an individual or a family who has either immigrated to the United States, whose parents have come from another society, has adopted internationally, or who is visiting here. Interview at least one member of this family about an aspect of their family life that interests you and that seems different from yours. For example parenting, family customs, intergenerational relationships, dating, wedding customs, etc. Make up about 8-10 questions to ask them. In addition, read 2-3 articles in the academic literature on this topic, for example childrearing in Mexican families or arranged marriages in India. I shall explain how to find these articles in class. You are to write up your interview and observations, as well as a summary of your readings in a short paper.
• Your paper should NOT exceed 3-4 typed (double spaced) pages (NOT including the interview)
• Attach a typed copy of your interview to the end of your paper.
• Describe the interview: How you found that particular family, what you noticed, what they said, what are the most significant issues that they are facing, something interesting you learned about them.
• Try to integrate your interview with the readings. This means that you should not just write up the interview and then have a separate paper about the readings. Instead, combine the two: for example, say “I found interesting that Sasha was enthusiastic about raising an adopted child from Honduras. According to (reference, 2004) most parents who adopt internationally, want…….
• Describe a bit how the interview reflects what you have read about this group or topic – are there significant similarities or differences?
• Make sure NOT to use the person’s real name – you want to protect their anonymity.
• Include a properly referenced bibliography. It can be either APA style or MLA – whichever you are more familiar with.
For this interview, I will refer to my interviewee as “Jennifer.”
• In terms of marriage, what is the biggest difference between your culture, and the American culture?
In my culture, we are accustomed to arranged marriages. Rather than a self arranged marriage, which is commonly practiced in the American Culture, we have marriages that are encouraged by others.
• Who exactly arranges the marriage?
It all depends. In my culture, we have someone known as a sponsor who ultimately finds our true match. Now of course we can find love on our own, but it is the responsibility of the sponsor to ensure that this love is a perfect match.
If we don’t have someone who is already considered to be a significant other, it is the sponsor’s job to find just that. They often utilize someone known as a matchmaker to assist in identifying true love for the man or woman.
• Does the man or woman have the right to object to this arrangement?
Well, the man or woman does actually get to thoroughly get a feel for the arrangement. There is no arrangement made untul all parties are 100% committed to the marriage.
• At what age is a marriage most commonly arranged?
Believe it or not, age is not really a factor in terms of marriage. The best way to describe it would to be to say that for a woman, the most common time is when she has finished school. For a man, it is when he has stability in his life and is making enough money to support his family.
• Are Indian weddings small or large?
Indian weddings are extravagant! (Jennifer seemed to have a big smile on her face while answering this question). We invite many people, some who we may not even know. Usually we can have anywhere from 100 people to almost 500!
• Is the celebration itself similar to that of the American culture?
Not exactly. It seems to me as if Americans rehearse for their wedding, and then go right into it. Then they have their celebration afterwards. However, it is much different in India. We celebrate our marriages over the course of 3 days. Each and every day we party of course! (This also brought laughter upon Jennifer and myself) The first day we pray, but only with family. The next day, the bride has henna applied to her hands and feet, which is beautiful! She also exclaimed that this was her favorite part about the wedding. Finally, on the third day, the bride and groom are married, where many different traditions take place. Many Indians believe in different traditions for this ceremony, usually depending on where we are from.
• Do newlyweds in India go on honeymoons?
We may celebrate with a honeymoon, but we believe in First-night. This is the bride and grooms entrance into freedom, where they may act in private without acting in sin.
• Are wedding anniversaries celebrated?
Yes of course! They are celebrated and much encouraged.
• Is divorce accepted and/or allowed in Indian Culture?
No. Divorce is absolutely not common in my culture. We as Indians believe that marriage is for life.
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