Final Project: Cultural Immersion essay

Final Project: Cultural Immersion

Final Project: Cultural Immersion
Cultural Competence is an essential aspect of counselor training. In order to begin to understand a
culture, it is essential to have sustained interaction with the . For the final project for this
course, each student will be responsible for actively investigating multicultural issues in the “real
world,” by gradually immersing in a culture different from their own. The immersion project will
involve experiential learning about other cultures. The intent is to increase your knowledge and
sensitivity to other cultures.
In order to complete this project successfully, you will need to work on it throughout the entire
course. As part of the project, each of you will select a culture different from your own and
participate in at least three distinct cultural immersion experiences/observations within that
culture. The idea is to gradually immerse into the different culture over the course of the term.
You may use the list of suggestions below to guide your immersion process or you can devise
some ideas of your own. It is essential that each experience is qualitatively different from that of
your own culture and that the experiences gradually become more involved directly with the culture
of choice.

1. The activities you select must include active involvement in the culture/activity. In other
words, you may “observe” the culture but you may not limit the activity to passive
observation. Make sure that each activity involves interaction with members of the culture,
either through active participation in the activity itself or through conversations with
members of the culture. Of course your third activity, the personal dialogue, already
requires your active participation.

2. Submit a written narrative of your immersion activities. The paper will be 8-10 pages long
(typed, double-spaced, 12 point font), This paper must include the following elements:

• Identification and Description of Population: This section must clearly identify the
population you will be studying, how this population is different from you, and
what your perceptions of this group are at this point in life. The description of
differences should include both the obvious (visible differences, etc.) and the not
so obvious (religious beliefs, sexual orientation, etc.). Please state all the
differences you can identify. Your perceptions of this group should include
information such as what you were told about this group as you were growing up,
any beliefs/perceptions/assumptions you have about this group, what your sources
of information about this group have been in the past, and why you have an interest
in this group. In this section, you must make a case for how this person is different
from you and why this experience will be challenging for you.

• Observation: You will need to complete at least two activities of the group
you have chosen to study. Examples and suggestions of observational activities are listed
below. If you are having trouble finding an observational activity, it may be helpful to
contact a group related to this population and gather information about their upcoming
activities. Please note: You are required to do this experience without inviting along a member of your family or regular social group. The purpose is to challenge yourself to
have appropriate interaction with a different culture.

• Personal Dialogue: You will need to gather information about the lived experience of a
person from your selected population. You will gather this information through a
dialogue with someone from your selected population. This assignment is called a
dialogue rather than an interview because it is not simply a one-sided gathering of
information. The dialogue should be a two-sided conversation that results in the
exchange of information about cultural experience. This dialogue can happen over time
or in a one-time sitting, but you must decide which way you will do it for this assignment.
A list of questions that should help to guide your dialogue is included in this document.

• Create a presentation of your immersion experience and include it as part of your
submission. Demonstrate your interaction on at least 3 levels: from a distance, from
immediate proximity, from total immersion. You are encouraged to be creative with
PowerPoint or presentation software of your choice. Include pictures, music, art, clothing,
or any appropriate medium that will help you share your cultural experience with your
fellow students. The idea is for you to create something that gives the viewer a firsthand
view of the cultural experience as vividly as possible. If you video, record, or take pictures
be sure you get a signed release to use them for class. The release form is included in the
course resources.
Suggested activities for the observation component of your immersion project:
• Attend worship services (e.g., a Black church, a synagogue, a mosque)
• Visit an art gallery, museum, or historical site (e.g., Indian Temple Mound Museum)
• Attend a music or dance presentation (e.g., African American dance, Japanese tea ceremony)
• Visit a gay bar, pride event, or gay/lesbian/bisexual organization meeting (e.g., Gay Pride
Parade, Gay Straight Alliance, Community Cultural Events)
• Visit a mission or shelter
• Visit a cultural organization or association (e.g., NAACP, Image de Pensacola, National
Organization for Women, Pensacola Jewish Federation)
• Attend a cultural food festival
• Spend some hours in the local Department of Health waiting room
• Attend a culturally specific play or event

The following are questions that can be used to guide your cultural dialogue. While you will want to
obtain information about all of these questions, keep in mind that it should be more of a dialogue than an
Suggested Cultural:
1. Describe a typical family composition within your culture (size, relationships among relatives).