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Your task is to interview an organization member (profit/non-profit; private/public are all acceptable organisations) who has worked overseas. Their nationality is not important, but it is important that they have lived and worked for a while (at least six months in full-time status) in a country other than their own. This also includes foreign nationals who are currently working in Singapore. The purpose of the assignment is to provide you with personal exposure to expatriate issues and, more broadly, to the issues facing people who work and live in a culture different than the one they grew in. In preparing the interview and the report, pay attention to the following points:
1.First, identify an expatriate you would like to interview. Decide on a general direction and time needed (a reasonable length would be half an hour to an hour long; you may go longer if they have the time).
2.Establish contact and gain permission for interview. We expect most interviews to be face-to-face. In exceptional cases, we will consider allowing interviews in other formats.
3.List the topics that you would want to address. We recommend you read the material on expatriates (Textbook and other sources) before you finalize your topic list.
4.Compose questions to address each of the topics you have chosen. Structure a general interview plan (e.g., the order of questions) before commencing the interview (see sample questions below).
5.At the interview: you may ask your interviewee’s permission to be recorded—that will help you being more relaxed and natural during the conversation. Alternatively, take notes while conducting the interview.
6.For the first part of your written report, briefly describe who the person is (e.g., age, sex, countries where s/he worked and lived in, educational and professional background). If the person wishes to remain anonymous, you may use her first name or initials in the report; however, you should be ready to submit full name, for verification purposes, if we ask you to. Describe the person’s present job and organization and the job and organization s/he had when working in the foreign country.
7.In the second part, include the essential elements of the interview you conducted. One format is to list the question you asked followed by a quoted answer from the interviewee. You may include your comments or explanations too, if you feel they contribute to understanding the dynamics and content of the interview. The format is not crucial, but we want to see you using direct quotes from your interviewees to illustrate your points.
8.Most of you will have too much material and notes after you finish the interview. That is, not everything will fit in your report. Part of your job here is to edit and decide which materials (quotes) are more relevant and interesting for the reader.
9.Lastly, in the third part of the report describe what you learned about working in the country your interviewee worked in. In this part, we encourage you to be analytical and creative and to write on two levels. On the personal-reaction level, write what you felt and thought about the person’s experiences. Do you think your experiences would be similar? Why? Feel free to include value statements and ‘raw’ reactions to the interview. In addition, we expect you to react to the interview on the analytical level. Review what you learned from the interview and assess it in light of what you learned in the course. Which aspects support or relate to some of the studies we covered? Are there any issues you learned about that contradict or are not covered by the models and studies addressed in class and in the readings?
10.The interview report should be max 2,000 words excluding references and appendix (see the section Guidelines for Written Reports for additional guidelines).
Sample interview questions (based on Dr. Joyce Osland’s course):
1. Tell me about one of your overseas assignments, from the time when you first learned about the possibility of going to __________.
1a. Did you prepare this immersion in another cultural environment? If yes, how?
2. What did you think when you first heard you were going to __________?
3. What were the first few days like?
4. Were there things that surprised you about the way people thought or worked?
5. What was your first big “aha” about the culture?
6. How would you sum up your first six months?
7. Did you have someone who could explain the local culture to you and that you could confide in?
8. How did people see you?
9. Can you describe your relationship with your co-workers?
10. What did you think about your job?
11. What was the most important thing you learned in those first six months?
12. What did your family/spouse think about living in __________?
13. Whom did you mainly socialize with (people from your own culture, third-country expatriates, or host-country nationals)?
14. How many host-country co-workers did you interact with on an average day?
15. How many did you supervise? What was that like?
16. Did you feel you changed as a result of working in _______? If so, how?
17. What was it like to come home (if the person has been repatriated)?
17a. Did you prepare your “cultural” repatriation? If yes, how?
18. Do you feel you get to use the skills you acquired abroad in your current job?
19. What advice would you give to a friend who was on his or her way to a foreign assignment?
1. Appendix: if you have documents that you think can add to your work, but are not an essential part of it or would not fit well in the body of your report (e.g., large photos or graphical information), you can choose to include them in the Appendix part, which should be limited to four pages.
Havard style of references. 10 references from 3 souces. at least 3 jounal artical.
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