The topics chosen for discussion throughout my essay reflect the history of my interactions with individuals from different cultures and societies that have so greatly impacted my life, and in addition, have helped shape my personality to make me the person I am today. The audiences I imagined while writing this essay could consist of almost anyone who wants to read it; however, more specifically, our college writing class.
The audiences imagined helped influenced the form and material of my essay as it allowed me to talk about the relationships established between my friends and the knowledge I gained from spending time in multi-cultured communities. In addition, the texts presented from Eady and Anzaldua helped me analyze my social life and how forming connections and alliances are vital, despite the differences that separate us as individuals. My cultural position including the places I have lived in have also had a great impact on my personality and have furthermore assisted me in the understanding of the readings by Anzaldua and Eady. Doing so has broadened my vision on how I have socially developed as a person, and the connections that I share between the communities I “belong” in.
The surrounding of different communities in my life has had a significant impact on the person I am today. Growing up in Lagos, Nigeria has helped me develop as an individual and has increased my knowledge of the different cultures present in today’s world. However, growing up with Indian parents and furthermore the large Indian community present in Lagos, I was taught the different traditions and festivities of my mother country. Although I was never taught Hindi, English has been my first language since the day I was born. Both accepting and taking part in the multicultural communities that I have been closely surrounded by for my entire life have not only helped me for the better, but have also played a vital role in shaping me into the person I am today.
I attended the American International School in Lagos, which consisted of people from many different parts of the world. Due to the rich oil reserves in the country at the time, lots of American families working at companies such as Chevron and Exxon Mobil were living in Lagos. This helped broaden my knowledge on American culture and the different norms and values each respective society obtains. Observing and learning from different communities and in addition, individuals from those respective communities, contributed greatly to my knowledge about my surroundings.
I later moved to Dubai to start the eighth grade. Moving from a city that was not even half as developed as Dubai was what made the move so difficult. While living in Lagos, I had the opportunity to travel to many different countries during the breaks/vacations the school gave me, one of them being in the United Arab Emirates. I was familiar with the city; however, it felt weird when I moved there. The thought that I would not go back to Lagos, back to my room, back to the house I grew up in, all made me nostalgic. Furthermore, to think that coming to Dubai was not a vacation, but a place that I would later consider to be home was something that took a lot of adjusting and getting used to.
According to Anzaldua, “We each have a choice as to what people, what cultures, and what issues we want to live with and live in and the roles we want to play.” (147) Moving to Dubai, I knew it was time to make new friends, which I was not looking forward to. As time passed by, I slowly grew comfortable with my surroundings and the city. I had never previously experienced the Arab culture like I did until I started living in Dubai. About 90 percent of Dubai’s population consists of foreigners. In terms of the people I met, almost each and every one of them was of a different background and nationality, which I found to be very interesting.
Over a certain amount of time, the widely diverse group of friends that I spent my high school years with, helped shape my personality and broadened my views on the different cultures that exist in today’s world. This was all possible through the many different journeys and experiences my friends and I have been through. While forming connections and alliances with many individuals, differences also come into play. The differences presented amongst my community of friends have helped me for the better as they have allowed me to learn about their respective cultures through various experiences.
As Anzaldua mentions in her essay, the familial problems she faces restricts her from feeling comfortable when around her mother, sister, and brothers. “My mother, and my sister and my brothers, are going to continue to challenge me…” (142) Opposed to the familial issues Anzaldua faces, my parents have always been very supportive of my interests. My father encouraged me to start playing tennis at the age of seven as he has played tennis for almost 20 years now. His encouragement and competitiveness in each sport has influenced me to acquire a somewhat competitive attitude when it comes to sports and games. In terms of academics, my parents have been strict and have pushed me to do well from a young age; however, as time slowly passed and I became a teenager, I started losing interest in school.
The tenth grade was probably the worst year I had in school in terms of academics because it was when I started to hang out with my friends a lot more and I completely lost balance between my social and academic life. Once my father saw this he limited me to going out only once on the weekends and required that I studied a lot more since I was not a child anymore. I thank him for this discipline, as I probably would not be at Northeastern if I did not improve in my academics. Even though my mother tried several times to get me to study, I tend to listen to my father more. My parents have always pushed me to do better in anything I’ve done; however, their strict yet supportive attitude towards my goals has benefited me greatly.