Individual Community Project
As this course sits at the intersection of culture and business, the goal of this project is to learn about the experience of moving to and working in a foreign country. It is through the experiences of others that we are able to develop empathy of those who may be different from us.
Step 1: Identify your participant
You will spend time with an individual who has immigrated to the U.S. (that is, someone who was not born and raised in the U.S., but lives here now). The participant must be from a different background than your own (e.g., if you would define yourself as Mexican, you cannot choose someone originally from Mexico). The participant must also have some kind of full-time job.
Some suggestions: Find a local business that is run by immigrants, and talk to an owner. Perhaps the easiest way to do this would be to go eat at one of the many local ethnic restaurants in Long Beach. You could also visit a store that you suspect may be owned by someone from a different country (for example, a retail clothing store, a salon, a home goods store, a bakery, etc.)
Alternatively, you may find a person in your local community or that of CSULB that is from a different country, such as a family member of one of your friends or coworkers, or a “friend of a friend.” Have a meal/ coffee/ tea with this person.
The more time you are able to spend with your participant, the better! At minimum, a 10- minute conversation is required.
Step 2: Ask your participant some questions
Be prepared with a list of questions that you plan to ask.
Take WRITTEN OR TYPED notes during your time with your participant (do not audio or video record).
You should ask these questions in a public venue; that is, a public place with other people around.
Questions may include:
What is your name? Where and when were you born? Where did you grow up? What jobs
have you had? What do you do for a living now?
Why did you come to the U.S.? Do you know any stories about how you or your family first
came to the U.S.? Where did you first settle? Why?
What were some of your first impressions and early experiences in this country? What
home country traditions or customs have you made an effort to preserve? Why? Are there traditions that you have given up or changed? Why?
How did you make a living when you first arrived? How did you first get started with this particular business/skill? How did you learn the skills that enable you to run this business/do your current job? Who taught you, or where did you learn? What was the learning process like? What is the most challenging or difficult aspect of the running your business/doing your job? Why?
Step 3: Reflect and write
After you have spent time with your participant, review your notes. Reflect on your participant’s experience. Consider the differences between their culture, and yours. Consider also any differences in language, race, appearance, gender, and/or religion, perhaps.
Answer the following questions:
1. Describe your participant and his/her experience (provide about a half-page summary)
2. Given that you may or may not have gone through an immigration experience yourself, choose one of the following questions to answer:
If you yourself have gone through an immigration experience, how would you compare your participant’s experience to your own? What similarities or differences exist? To what do you attribute any differences?
If you are not an immigrant, describe how your learning of this individual’s immigration experience has affected you personally (if at all). Were you surprised at any aspects of it? If so, what do these surprises mean? Does learning of this individual’s experiences alter your perceptions or opinions of what it may be like to live in a foreign country?
3. Given what we have learned in class about the value of diversity for businesses, explain how this participant’s experiences may add value to his or her current or future business endeavors, or organizations in which this individual may work. What qualities, knowledge, skills, or abilities does this individual have as a result of his/her experiences?
Complete your answers to these questions (maximum three pages; double spaced, 12 pt Times New Roman font, 1 inch margins, Word document),
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