Living Between Two Cultures | Teen Ink

Living Between Two Cultures

May 15, 2012
By lax123 BRONZE, Dix Hills, New York
lax123 BRONZE, Dix Hills, New York
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

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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This article has 18 comments.

Lara said...
on Apr. 24 2016 at 2:50 pm
Your text helped me to understand how it is to live between two cultures. Now I can imagine this situation and your writing style is also very good.

Luca We said...
on Apr. 24 2016 at 2:23 pm
Hi lax123 You mentioned that you sometimes feel left out because of your heritage. I was wondering if you ever had troubles with bullying or racism caused by your heritage. I would appreciate an answer and hope you can continue to spread your feelings and give people with no multi cultural background an opinion on how it is to live with a two cultural backgorund.

Lara said...
on Apr. 24 2016 at 12:53 pm
Your text showed me how it feels to live between two cultures. Now I can better understand this situation and your writing style is so good too.

Jenny said...
on Apr. 24 2016 at 12:44 pm
I think this essay can help many people to understand people from different cultures in their country. This is really good. I think your friends can understand you if you talk about your problems with them. This essay helps me to understand how the life is in a different country with another culture. Thanks your that. Regards, Jenny, Germany.

Jooonathan said...
on Apr. 24 2016 at 11:40 am
It was interesting for me to get a point of view from your situation because I never thought about the challenges that some immigrants like you might have.. I think it'll be a good benefit, to speak those two languages fluent and be practiced in speaking them, later when you have or search a job. -Jonathan, also Germany

Rebecca said...
on Apr. 24 2016 at 10:57 am
Your essay is very good and could be an inspiration for other immigrants to talk about their thoughts.
Also it let me think about being more tolerant to immigrants and give me a perceprion about the benefits and challenges by living between two cultures(:
Wish u all the best! Rebecca, Germany

Franzi said...
on Apr. 22 2016 at 8:52 am
I am very impressed from your story and it is great to see how you deal with your situation. I think your essay is also a good help for students who want to go abroad and may feel the same as you. But with all the advantages living between two cultures I think I wouldn't get off my plan because I think everybody has to get their own experiances abroad.

A.D.GPW said...
on Apr. 21 2016 at 10:21 am
Today we read your story in school. I think you have pros and cons placed well. And Í also can understand you. But you can be sure even if you not growing up in two cultures people maybe looked stupid or make you partly feel like an outsider. If you have good friends and family you can go through all these things. Regards Alina

gpw11f said...
on Apr. 20 2016 at 11:07 am
great essay

on Feb. 12 2016 at 2:50 am
Elaineshao PLATINUM, Shanghai, Other
32 articles 2 photos 2 comments
i also have this problem. beause my family speak Chinese

huskyrulz said...
on May. 19 2015 at 6:41 am
Same as me.i had to do a 4 minute long speech and you really helped me get ideas.

im so super said...
on Aug. 19 2014 at 12:34 am

on May. 18 2014 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:)

sunnyshiney said...
on May. 18 2014 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.

tharu98 said...
on Mar. 8 2014 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....

tharu said...
on Mar. 8 2014 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.

TamzieW. GOLD said...
on Aug. 9 2013 at 9:03 pm
TamzieW. GOLD, Pitakotte, Other
19 articles 0 photos 20 comments
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

Milmil said...
on 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.