Do you consider yourself successful? What does success mean to you? Do you think your parents consider you successful?Discuss

You need to find a 1.5 or 2nd generation individual (they must have grown up in the

United States and have at least one immigrant parent) to interview about their

assimilation experience. The questions here are a good guide for your conversation,

but you should also feel free to add your own questions that reflect your own

interests or the specific experiences of your respondent. It is best to record your

interview and later transcribe it. Alternately, you can take extensive notes during

the interview. (If you record it, you might think about giving it to your respondent

after you write your paper, it is a nice record of their experiences that they might

want to keep or give to their children or grandchildren someday.)

Your paper should summarize your respondent’s experiences and analyze those

experiences using the theoretical and empirical material from the class. Focus on

one or two important aspects of their experience. For example, what type of

immigrant is the respondent or their parents (refugee, economic migrant,

undocumented migrant), and what impact, if any, did that have on his/her

incorporation? What was the context of reception he/she faced? What kinds of

racial or ethnic identities did he/she develop? Did he/she face discrimination and if

so how did he/she react to it? How did the local context (city or suburb, high

concentration or low concentration of other immigrants) affect his/her

incorporation? How did gender affect his/her experiences growing up in an

immigrant household? What are the trends of intergenerational change from the

parents’ generation? Are the children going to do better than the parents? What

institutions or organizations affect their experiences? How did their experiences in

U.S. schools affect their experiences?

You should tell your respondent the purpose of the interview, that you will not use

their name in your paper (you should use a pseudonym), and that you will not keep

their name on the recording/transcript (if you make one) or your notes. You should

explain that this is just for a school assignment and won’t be used for any other

purpose.

Length 5-6 pages (approximately 1500 words) (NOT including interview

transcript/notes, which must be attached to your paper, or your list of references)

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SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

MIGRATION EXPERIENCE

1. When did your family first come to the United States?

2. How old were you? Were you born here or did you come as a child?

3. Did you come by yourself or with other family members?

4. Did you visit first, or come to live?

5. Why did your family come? Did they intend to stay?

6. What country did they come from? Were both of your parents from the

same country? Were both parents immigrants?

7. Do you know what kind of visa they had? (Tourist, work, green card, refugee,

no papers?)

8. How hard was it for them to get permission to come into the US? (or to get

into the US, if they came without papers)?

9. What was it like for them when they first arrived? Where did they live?

Why did they settle there? Did they know other people there?

10. Do you know what they had heard about the U.S. before you came?

11. Can you remember any things about the US that surprised them?

12. What were the greatest challenges your family faced after immigrating?

13. If your parents had it to do over again, would they make the decision to

come to the US?

CULTURE & IDENTITY

14. Have you been to visit your parents’ country?

15. Would you ever want to go live there?

16. What language did you speak with your parents growing up? What language

do you speak at home now? How did you learn to speak English? How well can

you speak your parents’ language? When and where do you speak it? What

language do you prefer to speak?

17. Have you experienced any negative feelings or prejudice or discrimination

from other people in the US? If so, what do you think caused it (race,

language, ethnicity, poverty, jealousy)?

18. When someone asks about your race or ethnicity what do you usually say? Do

you identify strongly as that race/ethnicity?

19. Do you think of yourself as an American?

20.What does it mean to be an American?

21. Are most of your friends from the same ethnic group as you? If not, what

ethnic or racial groups do they identify as?

22. Do you participate in any ethnic organizations or clubs? If so, what impact

has that had on you? (for instance, has it shaped your identity?)

23. Do you think Americans have a stereotype or idea about your group? What

would it be?

CITIZENSHIP

24. Have your parents become citizens? Why or why not?

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25. Have you voted in elections? Why or why not?

26. Are you or your parents still a citizen of the sending country? Can you be a

citizen in both places?

27. How does that work?

EDUCATION AND WORK

28.What is the highest level of education you received?

29.Why do you think you went as far as you did in school?

30.What were your experiences like going to school in the U.S.? Did you ever

attend school in another country? How was it different?

31. How much education do you think your parents wanted/want you to get? Is

this something you talked about a lot with them growing up?

32.What is your current occupation?

33.What kinds of jobs have you had in the past?

34.What have your experiences been like in the labor force?

35.What goals do you have for the future in terms of work/career?

36. Do you consider yourself successful? What does success mean to you? Do

you think your parents consider you successful?

37.What was the highest level of education of your parents? Was that in the

US or in the sending country?

38.What did/do your parents do for a living? Did you ever consider doing the

same type of work as your parents?

FAMILY AND GENDER DYNAMICS

39. Do you share many of the same views as your parents or do you feel that you

and your parents clash a lot? What types of conflicts do you have/ did you

have growing up?

40. How many brothers and sisters do you have? Were their experiences

growing up similar to yours? Did your parents treat all of you the same?

41. Do you feel that being male/female has made it harder or easier for you to

achieve your goals? How so?

42. Is there anything else you would like to tell me about your experience as a

child of an immigrant?

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