TOPIC: “An Immigrant Interview”

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TOPIC: “An Immigrant Interview”

TOPIC: “An Immigrant Interview”


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Adapted from Kenneth J. Guest (2017) Cultural Anthropology Fieldwork Journal (2017), a companion material for the textbook.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: as listed on the syllabus for week 12, The Global Economy.”

Rough draft due Thursday, March 15th (30 points toward final grade)

Final draft due Thursday, April 5th (30 points toward final grade)

Length: 2-3 standard pages (double-spaced, 12-point font)

Humans have been on the move since our species’ earliest days, seeking out better conditions for themselves and their families. Humans have moved in search of better hunting grounds, pastures, fields, natural resources, and climate. They have moved to avoid conflict, predators, and natural disasters. Others were forced to move against their will, including millions on trans-Atlantic slave trade. Movement is a fundamental characteristic of the human experience.

In the past thirty years the rates of global migration have been one of the highest in human history, between countries and within them as well. But why do people migrate? Why do they choose certain destination? These decisions are rarely random or frivolous.

Factors that result in migration include “pushes” and “pulls.” People are pushed to migrate by poverty, famine, natural disasters, war, genocide, and political or religious oppression. Immigrants are pulled to certain places by job opportunities, better wages, educational opportunities, access to healthcare, or a safer environment.


To understand better the immigrant experience, interview an immigrant of any age, gender, and nationality. Ask to hear their immigration story. Do not use recording devices. Take notes.

Write a short paper based on your interview. Make sure to address all of the “grading points” below. Use the grading points as section titles to organize your paper. Carefully edit your paper for clarity, grammar, style, and typographic errors.

GRADING POINTS (same grading points for rough and final drafts)

Please note: All tasks listed below must be completed to receive any credit for the project.

1. Describe the person’s age, gender, and nationality but do not use the person’s actual name (3 points).

Now ask about “pushes” and “pulls” that influenced their migration decisions.

2. Pushes: What made them decide to leave (5 points)?

3. Pulls: What made them chose their country of destination (3 points)?

4. Ask about any challenges they encountered while migrating (4 points).

5. Ask about what made their migration easier (3 points).

6. Ask about their overall experience of settling in the new country (3 points).

7. Have they experienced any challenges while settling in (3 points)?

8. What were some of the good changes they experienced while settling in (3 points)?

9. What would they tell a person considering immigration to this country (3 points)?


This project requires you to do your own interview. The interview needs to be done specifically for this project. What you may remember from some previous experiences and conversations is not acceptable for this project.

  1. This is an individual      project. Do not collaborate with others. You are welcome to consult the      Writing Center, though.
  2. Be attentive to academic      integrity guidelines. Do not use any work that you may not have done      yourself. Consult the NAU Academic Integrity Policy for more information:

Work that violates the guidelines of academic integrity will result in a fail for the project, may have more serious consequences depending on the seriousness of the violation, and will be reported to the NAU SBS Dean of Students.

If not sure whether your work meets the guidelines of academic integrity, please talk to Dr. Fenigsen.

If you are not sure that you understand the project, please drop by Dr. Fenigsen’s office hours. You can also talk to your TA.

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