Cultural Interview

you are asked to interview someone of a culture that is different from your own. It may be a classmate, a friend or family member, or someone in your community. This assignment also allows for reflection on your own culture and experiences. The following categories are a guide, or ideas, that you can utilize in your interview.


Cultural Interview Exercise

Interview someone of an ethnicity/culture different from your own.

  • Generation in the US they identified with
  • Nationality, ethnicity, “race” – level of identification
  • Language(s) spoken
  • Religion/spirituality/agnosticism/atheism
  • Individuality vs. family/community orientation, decision-making
  • Social roles (spouse, child, parent, partner, friend, etc.)
  • Socio-economic status (and has it changed during their lifetime or across generations?)
  • Work and recreation preferences, attitudes, beliefs
  • Parenting practices
  • Customs, rituals, traditions that are significant
  • Superstitions, folk beliefs
  • Rules/norms regarding interactions, manners, touch, eye contact, gestures, etc.
  • Assertiveness vs. passivity
  • How emotions are expressed; how disagreements are handled
  • Beliefs and practices regarding health, illness, mental health, indigenous healing or healers
  • Gender, birth order, age, housing arrangements
  • Food/drink, beliefs about eating/alcohol/drugs
  • Major values
  • Major beliefs
  • Major attitudes
  • “should”
  • “must”
  • “never”
  • Current prejudices about other groups
  • Extent to which they have experienced prejudice and/or oppression
  • Extent to which they benefit from social privilege
  • What “other” groups are they most comfortable around? Why?
  • What “other” groups are they least comfortable around? Why? How do they plan to address this discomfort?
  • What about their culture makes them most proud? Least proud?



Cultural Interview Paper Instructions

After the interview, write 3 pages on the knowledge and insight you gained from completing the interview. Discuss how you feel, what you think, and how you react to the notion of serving this minority population in the micro, mezzo and macro areas of social work practice. Additionally, include how the information may influence your professional work and your reflect on the following questions, based on your interviewees perspective, in your paper:

  • How has this group been treated historically in our culture? What is the history (e.g., laws, experiences, etc.) related to this type of oppression? What assumptions, beliefs, or attributions appear to drive the oppression or discrimination of this group?
  • What are examples of specific oppressive or discriminatory practices that this group has encountered as they interact with various institutions? You may include social, economic, educational, faith, and health care institutions in your discussion, as well as any other institutions of relevance.
  • What may be the outcomes or implications of these experiences for the marginalized group? Consider the range of bio-psycho-social-spiritual outcomes and other issues of relevance.
  • What examples of strength and resilience are, or have been, evident within members of this group?
  • What may be the implications of these oppressive practices for social workers who work with individuals from this population?
  • What are 2-3 specific understandings or actions that you see as critical to supporting non-oppressive practices with the culture you learned about in micro, mezzo and macro settings?
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