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Living Between Two Cultures

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Living in two different cultures has its benefits and challenges. Although I was born in America, my parents emigrated to the U.S from Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is an island off the coast of India. The customs, traditions, and culture are the same in India as it is in Sri Lanka. When my parents came to the U.S they continued to perform their customs and hold onto their beliefs and traditions. This has influenced me in several ways.

Although my family and I live in the U.S we follow the customs and traditions of Sri Lanka and India. I have learned to speak 3 languages, including English. I eat a variety of foods and celebrate different holidays that have to do with my religion and culture. It is very fun when I get to interact with people of my nationality and speak to them in a different language. It is also a benefit because I get to celebrate with all my family and have different foods and learn new things about my culture. Sharing my culture and information about my nationality to others is very important to me. I feel that people should have a good understanding of who I am and what my life is like. I always try to incorporate both American and Indian traditions, customs, and foods.

Even though this can be a major advantage there are many setbacks to being part of two cultures. All of my family was born in Sri Lanka so I am not a part of several different nationalities, such as Greek, Italian, German, and others. My cousins, my siblings, and I are the only ones born out of Sri Lanka. Speaking a language at home and speaking another language in school can get confusing. This is because sometimes I have trouble expressing my thoughts in English because they can only be said in the other language I speak. I have trouble getting me thoughts out in English at times, and this has been difficult. I have also used the two languages together when speaking. At home I speak both English and Tamil but I mostly speak Tamil. I am also trying to learn another north Indian language, Hindi. Many of my friends from India speak this language so I feel it is important to learn this language.

Sometimes my culture does make me feel left out from others because I feel too different. I am more close to my culture in Sri Lanka than I am here in the U.S. I do not listen to English music as much as I do listen to Indian music. This has been difficult cause I feel very separated from my friends when I do not know who or for example what song they are talking about. I feel like I have to confirm with others for them to accept me and my family. Some people may view us in a negative way which concerns me a lot. This forces me to feel the need that I have to be more kind, polite, and responsible. I have felt stuck between the two cultures at times. I try not to think of two cultures as a setback, but as an advantage of being able to participate in different celebrations and be a part of my American and Indian friends.



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sunshineshiny said...
May 18 at 7:21 am:
Im ten, please post more! You gave me helpful ideas, i like how you use those words like although major and advantage. I can learn a lot from you, i need to work on my writing. So post more:)
 
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sunnyshiney said...
May 18 at 7:16 am:
Thank you for that essay it really helped me alot on my speech. A four minute speech, i really got good ideas from it.
 
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tharu said...
Mar. 8 at 8:09 pm:
I know about your feelings living in another country. I have the same feeling as you. Because I also living in South Korea. Even though my life in Korea is kind a hard because of the language. Anyway i appreciate your essay.
 
im so super replied...
Aug. 19 at 12:34 am :
hello 
 
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TamzieW.This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 9, 2013 at 9:03 pm:
No, Lax, no! Sri Lankan culture is different from Indian! (though granted they have their similarities) :)  I sort of know how you feel about feeling left out, bu don't let what others think you should be change who you are, or make you ashamed of your roots :) All the best to you and your family! Tamzie, Sri Lanka
 
tharu98 replied...
Mar. 8 at 8:15 pm :
But for tamils Indian culture and Sri Lankan culture is kind a similar. Becuase tamil is a indian nationality. But for sinhala people it is kind a different. i dunno whether is he sinhala or other nationality....
 
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Milmil said...
Jan. 30, 2013 at 9:41 am:
It is a very nice article and i have found it very usefull in my search for knowledge about being young, while switching between two cultures.  I hope the best for you and your family in the U.S.  Best regards, Emily. 
 
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