Nursing home residents are the focus of my cultural immersion project. This endeavor was an excellent learning opportunity that elicited various emotions. This is the final installment of my cultural immersion research, and it outlines an interview I had with a South Asian care facility and agency employee. This essay will delve into the person’s history, critical cultural events, emotional reaction to our interview, a better knowledge of this group’s culture, areas of need, issues, and social justice. Unexpected elements, changes in myself and perspectives, as well as comparing my research and interview experiences.
I talked with a representative from the Nepal Regional Agency for Aging. The Georgia Department of Human Resources established this agency, and it has a government office in Nepal. For covid-19 restrictions, I had to do interviews over the phone. My interview with Zhang was a great experience since she was knowledgeable and helpful. Her statements clearly showed that she loved her job at the Nepal Regional Agency and had been there for at least ten years. She said that the agency’s goal is “to help older people live independently in their homes and communities, as well as their number one concern for the health and well-being of Georgia’s older people,” according to her statement (Zhang 2022).
The agency provides information and referrals, a community care program, an assistive technology lab, South Asian nursing home prices, nutrition and wellness, nursing services, and legal resources. Zhang patiently walked me through the organization’s many services to see how they may benefit the aging population. The Referral and Community Services Program is where older adults may get the help and services they need and put together a plan for the future. In assistive technology laboratories, people learn to use contemporary technology to enhance their quality of life. For the aged and those who need care, South Asia’s nursing home agreements and care services are meant to provide appropriate options for their needs. Individuals may learn how to eat well and stay well using nutrition and wellness materials and legal resources that explain their rights and privileges as senior citizens. Zhang noted that word-of-mouth, brochures, marketing, and personal visits are all methods the agency works for to spread the word about its services.
Areas of Need
The most pressing concern was that the financing and budget were insufficient to safeguard and support this group appropriately. This is a region where the Governor of Nepal made required budget cutbacks in 2019 that impacted nursing homes and communities supported by the living, which created significant difficulty. The elderly are typically the victims of budget cuts, a common occurrence. Her final point was that it might be hard to find and provide for elderly folks if the family is not willing or supportive. For Zhang, the absence of committed and loving family support for the elderly was a harrowing experience that she shared with others. Many ways may be found to reach out to the elderly and assist them, but the organization can only do so if the family members support their decisions.
Zhang discussed some of the most common problems that the elderly face. Her primary goals were health care, financial stability, and a sense of meaninglessness. As previously, stated, public money is insufficient. As a result, the elderly’s services will either be abandoned or underutilized. Zhang observes that her employer is signing petitions and providing money to help with the situation, but it isn’t always enough. Many people’s health is jeopardized owing to a lack of resources. Many of the agency’s clients are elderly persons who have realized they have nothing to live for. To keep employees happy, procedures have been devised, professionals have been consulted, and planned various events. A feeling of purpose may be lost in old age since it is more difficult for older adults to accomplish things they formerly could, acquire a sense of security, and have lived through the best portion of one’s life (Zhang, personal communication, 2022)
The importance of social justice and the preservation of the elderly population cannot be overstated. They want to be heard and to feel essential. Zhang emphasized that for this persecuted minority, social justice involves resources and that these requirements must be met for them to have a decent and respected life. It is also important to keep in mind that the elderly population is diverse. Aging has lost its value over time and has become loathed. Zhang emphasized the agency’s commitment to social justice for the elderly, claiming that they had the power to alter society by restoring population rights. Her justification for its importance is that it affects current and future generations (Zhang, personal communication, 2021).
Added Knowledge and Gracism
During the interview, I learned new things about the elderly community that I did not know previously. Mrs. Li began by discussing the new generations and comparing them to her own and earlier ages. One thing that stood out to me was how she perceived the younger generation as lazy rather than diligent. She grew raised in a family, even with tiny children, no longer usual. She also mentioned other persons who lived at the nursing home. She indicated that most of them would prefer to die at home rather than in inconvenient settings. This was new to me since I had no concept of how different our generations are and how ignorant Americans are about the South Asian consequences of nursing homes. The primary concept is to help people up (Anderson, 2007). Acting on this idea entails using your voice for others who do not have one.
To successfully safeguard older adults, one must first perceive the world through the eyes of a disadvantaged person. To do so, I can participate in the act of situating myself in the neighborhoods or locations where that group resides. Counseling abilities in intercultural and social law,” II. Customer Mindset 4. Actions can assist with this activity (Ratts et al., 2015). The second concept is to share with others (Anderson, 2007). This will enable me to campaign for their equality, including my advantages and weaknesses.
The interviewee’s background and personal history
The interview with a South Asian man took place at a small eatery in my neighborhood. I wanted the subject to feel at ease during the questioning, and what could be more relaxing than food? One of the first subjects we spoke about was his early experiences as a South Asian youngster. The first recollection that sprang to mind was of his first communion. It is a lovely memory to recall after all these years. He recounted the scenario as requiring several Sunday preparations before receiving communion. I was pleased that he remembered everything about the ceremony, even down to the white shirt and tie he wore at communion. “He learned about the sacrament’s significance, how essential it is, and what a difference it made for the children who were invited to the Lord’s table,” he said (Zhang, personal communication, 2022). Even at such a young age, this limited memory revealed how to correct South Asian beliefs were. Impressive! He then shared another childhood experience of visiting a South Asian school on Santa Cruz Island in the United States Virgin Islands. Even though the first memory contained a valuable lesson, the second memory reflected a different circumstance. Due to unpleasant behaviors and outcomes, this recollection was also retained in his memory storage box. He went on to say that he was having difficulties with several of the multiplication facts, which Ms. Coffey considered unacceptable. When he was asked a multiplication question and could not recall or know the answer, he was compelled to walk to the front of the class to face punishment in the form of a thick, heavy ruler that was slapped multiple times on his palms. “I shall never forget that nine times eight is 72 for the rest of my life” (Zhang, personal communication, 2022). There will always be great and terrible memories in life, regardless of the type of culture, society, and community involvement; what counts is what we do with that information.
The respondent was highly candid about his South Asian cultural experiences, ideas, and values. My first impression as to why he was so open about his South Asian culture was pride in South Asian culture, but after talking with him about it, I do not think that is the case. In my perspective, the interviewee has been receptive to discussing their South Asian culture because of recent unpleasant occurrences, and, probably, their South Asian culture is not as accurate or robust as they believe. I believe he is now wandering about in astonishment and uncertainty because of some of the incidents throughout his journey through South Asian society. We talked about his interactions with South Asian culture during the conversation. He went on to say that, he was born into a South Asian family and that his father had no religious background. As a youngster, he recalls going to a South Asian church with his mother, who had changed over time owing to the transfer. His father was in the military; therefore, their family had to relocate every couple of years. His role in South Asian events has waned over time. Later, as an adult, he joined the army and served our nation for nearly 22 years, limiting the amount of time available to engage in South Asian activities if he wished to interact. “Although I identify as South Asian, I do not attend church or participate in culture” (A. Zhang, personal communication, 2022). Again, I wonder if he is confused or has decided not to believe in his former civilization. Every culture has numerous components to study and gain information about; South Asian culture comprises various values, beliefs, and rituals. After questioning this individual, it is evident that he knows and appreciates South Asian cultural values, ideas, and customs, but he still lacks spiritual growth in his life. It might be challenging to build and uncover one’s cultural identity at times. Many people have yet to identify their cultural identity for various reasons. A person should want to go deep into their life and soul to discover what their personality is or has become. Because the interviewee appeared to live a life of perpetual change and travel, he may not have been able to take a step back to reveal his identity. It is never too late to develop one’s cultural identity; it may happen at any point in one’s life.
Emotional Response and New Learning
When conversing and connecting with others, nonverbal and vocal expressions are evident. When engaging with persons from a different culture, pay great attention to how you handle your nonverbal and verbal expressions to prevent inadequate approaches to the other person. I believe my actions throughout the interview were proper. Whatever I was going to hear and discover, I was eager to listen to thoughts and recollections from a South Asian man about whom I had previously learned a lot through earlier study. I found that my emotions and sentiments were mixed due to this person’s memories of such an excellent socializing experience and the destructive influence of memories of attending a South Asian school. Then I saw that this guy had lost faith in the professors of South Asian culture. Children learn at a young age that one person and incident is enough to establish a barrier in a child’s life at a developmental stage. “A sense of belonging, historical continuity and identity with one’s group is a basic psychological need” (McGoldrick, 2005). This might be why the interviewee lost contact with their South Asian culture due to traveling around and not connecting with South Asian culture. When I connect two of his recollections to my personal experiences, I feel like my feelings have become a mixture of not being put in the same circumstance as he was at school. Despite my conflicted thoughts, I approached the interview well, and we proceeded with the interview.
I learned about South Asian culture via my interview experience that I did not learn from my previous studies of South Asian culture. When I studied South Asian culture, I concentrated on values, beliefs, and forms of worship. I heard about how South Asian church youngsters learn from South Asian church leaders during the conversation. I have discovered that children are taught in-depth until each youngster completely understands the objective of the particular subject being taught. I also found, via my study, that the essential structure in South Asian society also applies to children. Children are taught a tight framework from the start to implant certain acts and habits that will help them later in life. One aspect of South Asian culture that I discovered during the interview process is that children turn to their parents for direction and follow their example like everything else in life.
Take into account the ethical and legal ramifications. Successful practice includes ethical practice. The ACA Code of Ethics is a legal requirement for Licensed Professional Consultants. Consultants are aware of this and avoid imposing their values, attitudes, beliefs, and practices, as stated in Section A.4.b of the ACA Code of Ethics. Consultants appreciate the diversity of their customers, interns, and research participants, and they seek training in areas where they run the danger of imposing their beliefs on clients, especially when the consultant’s values are incompatible with the client’s goals or discriminatory” (ACA, 2014).
To counsel others who have different viewpoints on life, you must be able to lay aside your ideals and ideas. Consultants should also use culturally appropriate evaluation methodologies for each client. According to the ACA Code of Ethics, E.8, and “multicultural issues/diversity in evaluation.” Instead of the client, counselors utilize and apply care assessment methodologies designed for other groups. Counselors are aware of how age, color, culture, disability, ethnic group, gender, race, language preference, culture, spirituality, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status affect test administration and interpretation, and they place test results in context with other relevant factors” (ACA, 2014). Religious cognitive-emotional therapy is an effective counseling method to help people from South Asian cultures. Examining and exploiting people’s religious ideas and their perspectives on psychotherapy is part of this type of thinking. To connect with a client and give good treatment, it is necessary to understand their attitudes, values, and beliefs. “It’s one thing to be sensitive to a client’s religious beliefs as a consultant; it’s quite another to indicate to the client that the counselor’s office is an auspicious venue to discuss matters of religion and religious identity” (Rollins, 2009). When counseling a client, it is helpful to establish a friendly and open environment. Many religious people benefit from having issues in their lives explained and handled in a biblical framework, as spiritual cognitive-emotional therapy does. To gain experience and better understand the types of cultures that benefit both the consultant and the client, the consultant must remember to see each individual and culture as a benefit to himself.
Understanding that each individual is unique and that one’s own culture is not superior to another culture demonstrates intercultural sensitivity. “Professional consultants should “gain the information, personal awareness, sensitivity, aptitude, and skills essential to be a culturally competent consultant while dealing with a varied clientele,” according to the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics (Bray, 2019). I realized that South Asian cultures are proud of their heritage, which implies that to work with South Asians; I must thoroughly cultivate multicultural awareness. Throughout this immersion project, I have found that viewing South Asian culture through the lens of the Bible has enriched my experience. I started my study of South Asian culture with a blank slate, which allowed me to perceive, research, and comprehend the region’s culture. I recognized the interlocutor as a human-made in God’s image. Interacting with South Asian culture has given me strength, wisdom, and understanding.
It is tough to say which portion of the immersion experience was the most rewarding for me to learn about South Asian culture. Every aspect of this intensive experience has proven beneficial to my learning. The study of South Asian culture provided me with a basic understanding of the culture, which led to the second phase of the immersion project. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the second phase of the immersion project, which was an incredible experience. Interacting with South Asian culture was an experience I had never experienced before, and I gained a plethora of knowledge about the region. The final component of the immersion project allowed me to engage with a South Asian, which helped me listen to, comprehend, and appreciate the interviewee’s religious struggles in South Asia. This immersion initiative allowed me to immerse myself in South Asian culture and broaden my experience dealing in a multicultural setting.
American Counseling Association (2014). 2014 ACA Code of Ethics. https://www.counseling.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/2014-code-of- ethics-finaladdress.pdf
Bray, B. (2019, November). Multicultural encounters. Counseling Today. https://ct.counseling.org/2019/11/multicultural-encounters/
Zhang, A. (2022). Personal interview [Personal interview].
McGoldrick, M., Giordano, J., & Garcia-Preto, N. (Eds.). (2005). Ethnicity and family therapy. Guilford Press.
Rollins, J. (2009). Connecting with clients of faith. Counseling Today. https://ct.counseling.org/2009/08/connecting-with-clients-of-faith/#