Hopes & concerns- Maria Karpasitou

I have already conducted my interview and I’d like to think it went rather well, definitely better than I expected. Going into this interview I had a number of hopes and concerns.
My main hope for the interview was to gain insight into the life of a Cypriot immigrant moving to the UK, the way of life, experiences, difficulties and memories. I already have somewhat of a background knowledge regarding the subject but I was really looking forward to hearing the experiences and memories of an individual instead of just reading the general facts and information. Since I was interviewing a person who has always been part of the community in one way or another since he had moved to the UK I thought it would be great to ask him about the community then and now, the differences, the growth, the factors, the difficulties it faced as a whole.
My concerns really bothered me. My main concern was regarding my questions; where they the right ones to ask? Are they too general? Are the covering the topic sufficiently? I was worried that I may miss interesting opportunities to probe further and expand the subject. I have done background reading on the subject so I was hoping that something the interviewee would say would spark a question in my head. That was closely related to my lack of confidence as an interviewer, and my lack of confidence in using the equipment correctly. I had conducted an interview before for my undergrad but it was nowhere near as ‘professional’ or ‘official’ as this and it was more informal. I was worried my nerves would clearly show and affect my train of thought.
In conclusion, most of my concerns were eased on the day of the interview (I was glad I got all the worrying done leading up to it) granted I was still nervous but once I had the initial chat with the interviewee prior to pressing the record button, I felt more comfortable and at ease. I am still not greatly confident in my interviewing skills nor my questions but I enjoyed the experience and in my opinion this was helped by the interviewee, he was helpful, friendly and understanding and he offered plenty of information for me to go on while also still allowing me to ask my questions. I did find out a great deal about the Cypriots and the community in London. Overall, I enjoyed the interview, the process and admittedly the sense of relief once it had finished!

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INTERVIEW TOPIC CHOICE- MARIA KARPASITOU

For my oral history interview I am planning on interviewing an individual from the Cypriot community in London. I have contacted the ‘Parikiaki’ which is the leading Greek Cypriot newspaper in London. The newspaper itself was established in 1974 which was also the time a lot of Cypriots had arrived to the UK due to the Turkish invasion that took place in Cyprus in the year. A small number of Cypriots had already been living in the UK beforehand, however from the 1950′s onwards was when a community was beginning to be formed, the contrast is great between the community in the 50′s and today. I am very much interested in hearing (if possible) first hand accounts of moving to the UK, what life was like then; being away from home where an invasion was taking place, being in a foreign country where everything was unknown, even the language; and how it has changed to modern day, how the community grew and what factors were used to keep a collective spirit- such as the newspaper, the churches, Greek schools etc. Therefore, I will be focusing on the social and cultural side of the community hopefully through a person’s first hand account.
I am awaiting a reply from the ‘Parikiaki’, hopefully either allowing me to interview someone that works (and has worked for a long period of time) on the newspaper that would be able to highlight the growth of the community or even getting me in touch with someone that would be willing to participate. If this is unsuccessful, for whatever reason, I do know Cypriots in London so I am prepared to ask them if needed, as a life story interview would also be of interest to me and could easily be placed in the larger context of events taking place in the UK and the Cypriot community at the time (though I am aware that it would be preferable if they understood and spoke English).