Immigration Project Interview Questions
The following list of question was taken from each table. They also include questions that we have brainstormed as an entire class. Questions are listed in NO particular order. You need to design your own list of question and put them in an order that makes sense to you. Using these as a guideline, I recommended that you choose those that will best help you understand you interviewee’s immigration journey. Type your own list and print 2 copies, one for you and one for your interviewee. It is not necessary that you ask all of these questions. The best interview will be one where conversation back and forth feels natural. For example, a specific answer may encourage you to ask “follow-up” questions. Those answers may lead to others. Try to think of the interview as a comfortable conversation. Relax and have fun!
What is your full name?
Is your name different in your native language? Pronunciation/spelling?
Where did you live before you immigrated to the U.S.?
What specific circumstances caused you to immigrate?
Was it a personal decision or one that someone else made for you?
How old were you?
What had you heard about the U.S. before you came? What stereotypes/expectations did you have?
Had you seen pictures or photos of the U.S.? What did you think of them?
What had people told you about the U.S.?
Were your initial expectations accurate? Can you give me an example?
Where specifically in your former country did you live? (great time to pull out your atlas)
What was your life like there?
What was going on historically?
Can you tell me about the government in your native country before you left?
What year/date did you arrive in (present city)?
Did you immigrate alone, or with friends/other family members?
Can you share a memorable experience with me about what is like, how you were feeling when you first arrived?
Was it hard to leave or was it exciting?
Did you experience any “culture shock”? Was it hard to adapt? If so, what was challenging? Can you think of a story or experience that will give me an idea?
Do you miss family members/Friends? Are you in touch with them? How?
What possessions did you take with you? What important things, if any did you leave behind?
How did you arrive? Method of transportation? What route did you take?
Do you have a green card? How did you obtain it? Are you an official U.S. citizen?
When did you become an official citizen?
What did you have to do in order to become an official citizen?
How did you wind up in _____________?
Did you consider living anywhere else?
Did you know anyone here when you arrived?
29. Did you feel welcome?
30. How did people treat you? Do you find people treat you differently now if you have been here for a while?
31. Who/What helped you get settled, find a place to live, etc.?
32. Tell me about any language barriers that you experience/or currently experience?
33. Did you know any English before you arrived?
34. Was it difficult to communicate when you first arrived?
35. What were your first 24 hours/days like?
36. Can you tell me how your life has changed since you came to this country?
37. What sacrifices if any have you made to live in the U.S.?
38. Are their specific things/people that you miss? Who/what? Why?
39. What is the best thing about your immigrant experience?
40. What has been most challenging or difficult about your experience?
41. What kind of job did you have in your home country?
42. What job(s) did/do you have in the U.S.?
43. How did you go about finding a job?
44. Did you bring any specific skills with you that you were able to use here?
45. If you had no immigrated, what do you think your life would be like today? Can you give me an example of how it might be different?
46. If you have children, were they born in this country? Do they speak your native language?
47. Do they know about your immigrant experience/native culture?
48. How might you children’s lives differ if you had not emigrated?
49. What might you life, your family’s life, be like today had you not emigrated?
50. How has this country changed since your arrived?
51. Can you tell me a story or give me an example of how your country has changed since you’ve been here?
52. Has your economic status or lifestyle changed since you left? Since you’ve been here?
53. Are there specific cultural traditions that you have brought with you?
54. Can you tell me about one of them or why/how you celebrate it? Why is it important to you?
55. Did you attend school here?
56. What were your school experiences like?
57. Did classmates/teachers treat you differently?
58. Do you feel that our culture appreciate immigrants?
59. How would you respond to the statement: “America is a nation of immigrants”?
60. What do you think about the future of immigration in our country?
61. What do you currently do? Do you enjoy it? Why or why not?
62. How do you feel about immigration in our country today?
63. Would it be possible to contact you if I have any additional follow-up questions?
from American Immigration Law Foundation
Immigration Curriculum Center Lesson Plan