Interviews · Megan's Blog · Story Map

Insider on Interviews (and other things)

Update on Interviews:

It’s taken a bit of time for my potential interviewees to get back to me, but Joe has been on a roll. He already has completed two interviews and is hoping to schedule another one. Meanwhile, I have been trying to contact some interviewees, some with success and some with difficulty:

Interviewee one: A translator for the Adair County Health Department. Our interview set up for next Saturday afternoon.

Interviewee two: A student of my English class. I have been messaging him through Facebook, and he has agreed to do the interview. However, after I send him a message, I usually don’t receive a reply. I’ve found it effective to message him again after a few days of not replying. He originally said that he was free this Sunday; however, I was out of town for Easter. In our most recent Facebook conversation, he said he will get back with me on Wednesday to tell me if he is free next Sunday.

Interviewee three: I am still hoping to interview a third person, but will need to follow up with her in English class. I tried to contact her through email, but so far have not received a reply. Unfortunately, she was not in class next week so I was unable to talk to her. I might try to email her again, but might not be successful.

Interviewee four: A few weeks ago, I contacted another local English teacher to see if there would be anyone in her classes who we could interview. She gave me the name and email address of one gentleman who is working at Kraft and taking GED classes. I tried to contact him via email, but it bounced back to me. According to my Mail Delivery System, his email address did not exist.

Interviewee five: Student at Job Corps in Ottumwa, Iowa. I often go to his mother’s house to help her with her English. I had asked him a few weeks ago and he agreed to be interviewed. However, since he is usually at school, I don’t see him very often and knew before starting the interviews that it might be difficult to set  up a time and date to interview him. However, if he happens to be in town in the next few weeks, there is still a chance that I could interview him in time for Joe and my presentation. Nevertheless, even if we interview him later, I do think it would be very worthwhile to put his interview on our website. Job Corps is an excellent program for young Congolese people, and is a great way to improve their English. However, I don’t know how many people know about it.  Read more about Job Corps here. .

Overall, I believe that a lot of the difficulties I’m having are due to cultural differences. I have tried to contact Congolese students for my English classses before, but I often do run into the problem that their emails don’t work or they do not respond. From what I have observed with some of my students and heard from professors who work with the population, computer skills are often a new concept in the US. Therefore, many of them do not use their emails as often as a university student would. However, many other factors could be involved in the communication issues, such as a difference in email connectivity between US emails ( and Congolese emails (


Update on the Website:

Joe and I are working more and more on the content we want to put on the website. We have created a shared Google Docs in order to help us organize our information and determine who we want to display it on our website. When Joe and I next meet, we are planning on setting up some of our pages and creating an About Us and an About COPLAC page.

This past week, I created a Story Map for our website that pinpointed important areas for the Congolese population, including their country of origin, Democratic Republic of Congo, their church and their grocery store in Kirksville, and the Smithfield-Farmland plant in Milan. While creating this, I realized that I was able to use past experiences to describe many of these places. For example, I was able to recall a time I went to a Congolese Church service in order to paint a picture of what one would experience if they attended a service. My only issue is citations. Since this is my own personal experience, do I need to cite these? Also, how would I cite these since these experiences took place last year and since they are not recorded resources?

After editing and finalizing the draft of the Story Map, I hope to create another Story Map that shows where the main languages of DRC are spoken. By using the Ethnologue website, I was able to identify all the languages spoken in the country, as well as what states they are spoken in. I have Also found a map of all the provinces and found that I could use the “Area” setting to surround the general area where the languages are spoken. By the end of this project, I hope to have shown my audience how many languages are spoken in the Congo in hopes of eliminating some of the stigma against them for not speaking English.  This is not meant to excuse the Congolese from leaning English, but it’s important for monolingual people to realize that the Congolese have already learned numerous languages, and that this may have an effect when they try to learn English. Perhaps I could ask my interviewees about the effects of multilingualism on learning English.


In all, I am excited to see what we accomplish in the next weeks, and how our interviews turn out. My next meeting with Joe should set the scene for what work we will prioritize in the next week and how it would be best to move forward. Until my next post, wish us luck and productivity!

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