This interview is designed for students who are learning ethnographic methods, or who are studying cross-cultural communication. It adapts easily for professionals who are interviewing within employees about organizational development or diversity concerns.
For this reason, it is not always a good idea to interview an international student for this assignment because your interview may focus on the differences between schools and cultures as you learn about different ways that schooling happens in the world-- a very interesting project, but not the objective of this assignment.
Dropped into war zones, without knowledge of the Vietnamese language and with little, if any, understanding of local culture, U.S. soldiers had problems distinguishing enemy from neutral from friend. They often became frustrated when making no contact with enemy soldiers for long periods, then seemingly out of the blue were interrupted by violent surprise attacks. Daily treks through insect-filled jungles in the heat and humidity also took a toll on GI nerves. In numerous documented cases, their frustrations were taken out on civilians. The approved routine of burning of huts, destruction of villages, and terrorizing of residents could and did lead to unauthorized sexual assaults, random shootings, and even massacres such as that in My Lai. Heonik Kwon lists thirteen large-scale massacres, including some by South Korean troops; Nick Turse, in Kill Anything That Moves, documents more. Even in villages with decent relations with local U.S. forces, other mobile U.S. forces were known to violently intervene.
As you consider who to interview, think about what "cultural difference" might mean to you, and talk with your friends and classmates, look around your living or work place, and think about people who you know or know about who are from a different cultural background than you.