Sample Interview Paper: Intercultural Communication
Matthew is a senior at UNC who is studying business. He is twenty-three years old and was born in America. So what ties Matt to a specific culture? From the ages of 6-13 he was a resident of Quito, Ecuador, a country in South America. Studies have shown that significant growth takes place in early-mid childhood, and as Matt was growing up and developing his identity, he was embracing the culture specific to Ecuador. Matt and his family traveled to Ecuador to complete missionary work with Compassion International, therefore embracing the Christian religion, while adapting his lifestyle to both Spanish and English customs. Through a detailed interview Matt was able to provide information specific to Ecuador’s cultural values, traditions, and ways of life.
Interview Questions and responses are as follows with responses in italics: How would you describe a typical family?
Usually about 5-6 people; Common to have 4-5 children
A lot of couples are not married, not enough money to get married
very family oriented – extended family stays close, sometimes under same roof A lot of student’s can’t afford to move away from their families.
What are the common roles within the family system?
Wife- domestic responsibilities as well as caring for the family Husband- work during the day-go out at night (on the town-drinking) Children-Help around house, work as soon as they are able (usually beginning around age 12), if lucky they are able to attend school
What are the gender roles? (both in the home and in general)?
Men have a much higher status. They are the leader of the household and make all of the ‘family’ decisions
Women are granted very little respect. They usually do not work outside the home and their opinions are usually not validated.
What are the main religions?
Roman Catholicism – occasional practices of tribal religions
What holidays are celebrated and how?
Basic Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter
New Years- dress as famous people; blow up scarecrow filled with fireworks 10th of August; Independence- drinking and partying
What is a typical day like?
Men get up early and go to work (generally labor job)
Women get up early to prepare breakfast, get children ready and begin chores Children (if lucky get to go to school) get up and go to work (chores/labor) Long lunch break (1-3) Family eats together and takes a nap or ‘siesta’ Work/school goes until about 7
late dinner (around 8 o’clock) with families
What types of foods are common?
Several Course meal (wealthier families)- begin with coffee/appetizer Rice, potatoes, meats—lomo fino (similar to steak)—often times grown by the family
One course meals for poorer families
How do people handle conflict?
Very expressive; late at night the men are drinking, leads to more violence Taught to be very vocal-discuss heavily
What are the education systems like?
Not everyone gets to go to school – some have to help family Show more respect towards teachers- don’t want to get into trouble, see school as a privilege and don’t want to lose it
Not as many restrictions on discipline (hitting or ‘striking’)-doesn’t mean it happens all the time
Is anyone given more respect than others?
Elders and males
How is America viewed?
The Projects view them very positive because they understand that Americans come to help them
Very envious, everything Americans do is great– view Americans as ‘better than they are’
-mimic our actions and lifestyles
What are misinterpretations that people have (both...
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