Anthropology refers to the study of human history and cultures from medieval to present times. The basis of the study is on the current and existing human lifestyles, especially on the aspect of human interactions using current social constructs. The study scrutinizes the existing diversity of human cultures and uses its findings in resolution of existing human problems. Therefore, this interview schedule will help in the collection of information concerning immigrant’s experiences in America. Gender roles, immigration, and adaptation experiences are also some of the information that the researcher will collect using the interview schedule. Furthermore, the researcher will look for information on aspects like values, racial discrimination, family associations, and religious inclinations. Hence, the essay presents the findings of the research on the immigrant’s experiences in terms of religion, adaptation challenges, gender roles, racial discrimination, morality, education, marriage, and family.
Motivation to Migrate to the United States
The study chose a 35-year-old woman from Saudi Arabia. The immigrant studied and acquired her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan. The immigrant works as a teller with a branch of Barclays bank in the state of Washington DC where she also resides. According to the woman, the motive behind her intention to visit America was the aspiration and the ambition to live a good life. The immigrant believes that America offers many job opportunities, it is politically stable, has many business openings, and good economy. Thus, the presumption of a good life, white-collar job, and high quality education were the driving forces that made the respondent travel to America. During her stay in America, the immigrant underwent through many experiences in all aspects of life such as socio-cultural, religion, marriage, and ways of living.
In Saudi Arabia, people profess Islamic religion and apply the principles from the Islamic doctrine in their ways of life. The manner in which people relate is unique and different from her observation in the land of America. In Saudi Arabia, the society regards women as weaker beings than men. Thus, women do not enjoy some rights that men enjoy in the society such as leadership, societal roles, and equal treatment. The immigrant notes that in America she observed that men and women receive equal and fair treatment from a society that looks at both genders as equal entities. The Islamic religion professed in Saudi Arabia creates a culture that demeans women and depicts them as weak beings. However, in the United States, she realized that men and women accorded respect to each other in disregard of their gender.
The respondent highlighted that in America, she went through many experiences concerning societal dictations on various duties expected from men and women in the society. She stated that in her homeland, people held the notion that women should engage in domestic chores such as cooking, washing clothes, and remained indoors. According to the immigrant, in her home country, men acted the sole breadwinners of the family. In contrast, the immigrant experienced a scenario in the United States where men and women shared responsibilities equally (Inglehart and Norris 3). Moreover, she noted that the American society held the belief that the feelings, points of view, and suggestions presented by both men and women in the society are important. This compelled the immigrant to adjust her perspective on aspects of life that deals with gender and equality.
Adaptation Challenge in Industrialized Country
Another experience that the respondent encountered was concerning the adaptation challenge. Since the United States is a developed and industrialized country, the respondent had to adjust her lifestyle to match the ways of living in America. In her assertions, the immigrant noted that Saudi Arabia has an infrastructure that is slightly below the standards of those present in the United States. She highlighted that the United States maintained and developed roads, sources of energy, and forms of infrastructure on a regular basis. The respondent also explained that the United States carried out habitual maintenance and developments of its infrastructure.
In addition, many farms and factories mechanized their operations. Since the roads were in good condition, the immigrant had to undertake some driving lessons so that she would drive well on the roads of the United States. Moreover, the good state of American roads reduced frequent accidents and inconveniences on the roads and other transport systems present in many developing countries.
Since Saudi Arabia is developing, many of its infrastructures are slightly below international standards. Some of the infrastructure such as buildings and roads require the country to undertake urgent repairs since they are in bad state. This incurs the country a lot of money, which businesses and industries incur in addressing the challenges posed by inconveniences presented by the poorly developed infrastructure. The developed infrastructure provided a very new experience to the immigrant who has become used to the challenges in her home country. However, the case was very different from her experience in the United States where road accidents and breakdowns associated with poor infrastructure are minimal. Therefore, the respondent had to adopt an urbanized lifestyle so that she would adopt the lifestyles of people in the United States.
According to the respondent, racial discrimination is minimal in the United States. She noted that since America is a metropolitan state with from diverse cultures and different countries, the chance of racial discrimination from the natives was minimal. However, she recalled a scenario where some natives discriminated one of her colleagues in the state of Los Angeles. She highlighted that though the level of racial discrimination was minimal, the state had to enact effective and functional policies, which would help reduce different forms of discrimination against immigrants. He described her experience of racial discrimination after attaining her undergraduate degree.
She stated that in a few offices where she sought a job, employers were reluctant to hire her, as she was not an American. Some of the employers even proposed salaries that were lower than what Americans workers received. The immigrant also stated that in some instances some of the natives subjected her colleagues to some forms of racial discrimination in shops, churches, and other social places.
The respondent stated that reduced employee productivity, self-confidence, lateness, and absenteeism from work are some of the effects associated with racial discrimination. Many employees are reluctant to work because their employers overwork them or perform unfair promotions on some of the native employees leaving out the best performers who are not Americans. She contends that the American society should cherish love, respect, and appreciate people from diverse countries irrespective of their racial backgrounds. In addition, the immigrant stated that in one instance her former employer overlooked her during a promotion. The respondent explained that irrespective of her outstanding performance, the employer still promoted an American employee instead her. This experience created a feeling of disgust, dissension, and greatly disturbed the respondent.
Moral Values and Ethics
According to the immigrant, the Saudi Arabia is a country where many individuals profess Islamic religion and use it to uphold their moral values. However, the respondent realized that in the United States, people have different opinions concerning moral values as many of them hold different perspectives on morality and ethics. In America, many native people no longer uphold moral values, especially on aspects such as lifestyles and dressing codes. The respondent noted that many people in the United States exercise liberty and freedom in their living standards. In addition, they are not subject to any religion or culture. The issue of morality was a unique experience in the United States when compared to the Saudi Arabia where people religiously uphold the principles and philosophies of the Islamic doctrines. The experience made her change her perceptions concerning moral values and ethics for her to adapt some lifestyles common in the United States.
The respondents also noted the issue of education as another challenging experience. In her assertion, the respondent compares that the education system in the Saudi Arabia is not the same as the education system in the United States. According to the immigrant, there is a training accorded to immigrants to America so that they can fit into the American education system and continue with their education. In her place of origin, the education system emphasizes on Islamic religion and asserts the application of the Quran’s teachings in learning. However, this is not the case in America as students learn in secular intuitions that only focus on learning. Furthermore, the education makes the students to be liberal, innovative, and creative scholars. This was a major experience as the respondent wanted to further her education in the United States.
In America, people relate very differently with each other in terms of gender and equality, and marriage. In her motherland, people practice polygamy as is right before the Islamic law. According to Inglehart and Norris, Islamic practices such as polygamy, arranged marriages, and domestic violence are common in the Saudi Arabia (3). She also elaborated that the lifestyle of Americans is unique, as they do not value the consecration of marriage. In the Saudi Arabia, the native country of the immigrant, people value marriage, and hence cases such as separation or divorce are very rare. The respondent noted that another experience that changed her understanding on aspects of marriage and civilization was the issue of same-sex marriages. The immigrant said that in her motherland, same-sex marriages and other forms of sexual relationships have no room, whereas in the United States, the constitution considers them as legal marriages.
Another notable experience observed by the respondent was in the manner in which the people of the United States regard family unions and extended relationships. In the United States, people do consider the essence of the extended family. This means that there are weaker ties among family members and relatives in the United States than in Saudi Arabia. In the Saudi Arabia, people practice polygamy and always stuck together as members of an extended family. The immigrant noted that the people of America do not care much about issues relating to kinship or family ties, especially if the ties go beyond the third generations. However, this is not the scenario in the Saudi Arabia since people relate together and know their ancestral backgrounds as opposed to many Americans. This was a unique experience for the immigrant who was surprised. The immigrant believes that for a society to be complete, people living in it must understand their ancestral backgrounds and value their relatives, family members, and clan members.
Inglehart, Ronald, and Pippa Norris. Muslims Integration into Western Cultures; Between Origins and Destinations. 2009. Web.