Intercultural Extraneity

How can the "American dream" remain a reality - in the US & in Serbia

Groups: miljo & birthdayparty

American counterparts: Victoria and Shenaya

What is the purpose of the visual presentation?

The purpose of the visual presentation is to demonstrate the public’s and our personal opinion on the topic of achievability of the American Dream and how we can make it more accessible to a larger population.

What is the hook (how are you going to get people interested)

The American dream is not a new term, however, we think that its connotation has changed. By making a video which depicts how Serbian and American students perceive this term, we intend to make people interested by not only helping them to understand the term more deeply, but also provide them with some tips on how to make it real.

How is it timely / relevant

Present day is probably the time in history where people have the least power and control over their own lives, as the big tech and huge brands make it difficult for the average man to open his own business, while the small wages force blue collar (and white sometimes) workers to be chained at the bottom of the totem pole. We want to examine students’ opinions about this issue, since they are future academic citizens who may need help with understanding and achieving the American dream.

Who is the audience?

The audience are young people, current students or graduates from various universities and different backgrounds in Serbia and the US who are about to start their careers and who want to achieve their American dream.

What is it about?

This project aims to investigate how the American dream can become a reality, in the US and in Serbia, while providing the space for a debate on the achievability of such a dream.

What is the storyline (remember to list scene format, e.g. interview, slides, etc.)?

1. Introduction:

Slide 1: The idea is to start the video presentation with the definition of the “American dream” (the origin of it, how the definition has changed). You can post photos that portray the American dream then and now (for example, a few decades ago usually women didn’t work very often, whereas now there are many single women pursuing their American dream).
Slide 2: Contains this quote from The Great Gatsby: “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And then one fine morning—So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”. If you could insert a scene from the 2013 movie The Great Gatsby, from 13:14 to 13:27, that would be great! Also, if you are familiar with some American literary works that portray the American dream, feel free to mention it in the video (Jack London’s To Build a Fire, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Francis Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby).

The differences between Serbian vs. American perception of the American dream could be presented in the body of the presentation.

Slide 1: Perhaps you could conduct video interviews with your peers/friends/family on what the American dream represents for them and compare the answers with ours. If this is too complicated, you could make a questionnaire and just show the results.
Slide 2: Here, you can present the results of the questionnaire we conducted with students in Serbia. These are the results that you can present however you like, or however works best for you (the more detailed description of the results will be posted on the forum):

-42.1% of Serbian students believe that the American dream is not achievable in the US, the main reason being that the American dream is only for a privileged few, while adding that race, nationality and religion represent possible obstacles.

-68.4 % of the respondents answered that the American dream cannot be achieved in Serbia either, and the main reasons they listed were: bad economy, bad standard of living, the brain drain, different mentality, corruption, the socio-political system and no opportunities for progress.

-Serbian students who believe that it is possible to achieve the American dream stated that the way to do so is: to set clear goals, be determined, be aware of your possibilities and believe in yourself. Moreover, support from family and society further makes this dream a reality.

-We translated some answers that we thought might be interesting and that you might want to put into a video (perhaps you will encounter some interesting answers as well in your questionnaire/interview which could be put into a video):
Q: Is the American dream achievable in Serbia?
“The American dream is not the same in Serbia, due to the unequal job distribution and disrespect, the American dream in Serbia represents material gain, which is not the real definition of the American dream.“

“The situation is slightly different in Serbia, but the American dream is probably unachievable for the majority. Partly due to the economic situation, partly due to one’s motivation. It seems like people in Serbia gave up on achieving any dreams, they also react negatively to new ideas. “

3. Conclusion:
In this part of the video we want to present how we can achieve the American dream regardless of where we live.

Slide 1: When asked what skills are necessary to achieve the American dream, Serbian students stated that skills such as courage, determination, ambition, knowledge, resourcefulness, intelligence, education and patience seem to be the most important ones. You can ask your respondents/interviewees the same question and conclude which answers both parties have in common.

Slide 2: Here, you can list the answers of the American students, on the same question.

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