This blog process has been extremely educational in a number of ways. Besides learning a significant amount about Swazi culture, I learned how to correctly conduct an interview and I now better recognize how other cultures are affected by and change because of Western cultures.
It was very interesting to receive insight into a culture that I previously had no knowledge about but, initially, I had difficulty asking the right questions. On one of the first blogs on culture I began the interview by asking, “what is your culture like?” Muhle immediately laughed. How could he even begin to describe the entirety of his culture that is so different than my own? After that interview I recognized how important it is to ask specific questions to the interviewee. By asking questions such as, “how do men typically propose to women?” rather than “tell me about Swazi marriages” the interview receives a more focused and informative answer. By altering my approach I was able to produce more interesting blogs and make the interviewing process more efficient and interesting.
Throughout the interviews a central theme remained: Swaziland is changing because of the influence of Western cultures. Because of Swaziland’s strong trade relations with the European Union, Swaziland is exposed to Western culture. Western culture has affected almost every aspect of urban Swaziland. From family relations to music and clothing, Swaziland has been changed indefinitely because of its trade relations with Western nations. I understand the concept of globalization and can see its affects everyday, but this interview project made it a bit more tangible because I was able to understand it from the point of view of someone who has seen his culture change. I now recognize how quickly cultures around the world have been losing their traditional customs due to globalization.
Ultimately, I have enjoyed the interview and blog projects because of the practical and cultural knowledge that they have afforded me. Throughout the semester I believe that I have improved in both interviewing and blog writing. I have also better understood some of the concepts that we discuss in class from an insider’s point of view. I have learned a lot about a new culture, interviewing, and the effects that my own culture can have on others.