The Impact Of My Cultural Experiences On My Diverse Identity

Looking back at my life I have realised almost all my life was spent outside my country and due to that, I have experienced many different cultures and environment which helped me gain a very diverse and unique identity which if compared to my own country or where I live should be very different.

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I was born in Pakistan, but I didn’t stay there for long when I was around one my family shifted to United Arab Emirates (UAE). At that time UAE wasn’t as developed or popular as it is presently, it was a revolutionary phase for this country and was rapidly being built. At that time, I lived in a good, respected and nicely developed neighbourhood of Dubai with good friendly neighbours from different parts of the world. My first school where I studied, it had a very multicultural environment and interacting with so many different people with different background and culture I naturally started respecting all kinds cultures. Different culture, background and environment can have an immense impact on a person’s identity often surprised me why where they so different from me, what made them have such a different opinion about the same thing. All these questions made me want to understand and learn different people’s cultures, norms, how and why they were different from my own, a person should always learn from different cultures and try to integrate it into their own identity. With this, I was able to adapt in multicultural society and made many friends. I have seen many people sticking with their own culture rather than adapting and the outcome of that was usually a person getting bullied, shunned or restricted to having very few people in his friend circle. I later shifted to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) when I was 8 but there I started studying in a Pakistani school surrounded by Pakistani people after being part of multicultural environment was comforting and easy but the perk of being able to understand and learn new culture was taken from me, on the other hand, it helped me grasp and understand my own culture deeply. Even though a person adapts and adjust in society I slowly realised with the passage of time everyone is not same and being from a Pakistani Muslim background people don’t treat you the way people from other countries are treated, nevertheless people usually couldn’t tell by looking at me whether I am a Pakistani or not as I don’t look like a typical Pakistani person. I was often mistaken as a European or Turkish however, I have never hesitated to tell my true Pakistani identity. For my bachelors I decided to study in Turkey as a consequence I was able to experience the multicultural environment again it was a thrilling experience for me although I had the multicultural experience whole my life but living alone far away from family along with experiencing it first-hand changed me a lot and helped me understand, how to interact and deal with different types of people.

Living or visiting so many different countries helped me built my identity in a way which I thought was never possible furthermore I consider myself lucky to be able to easily adapt to new culture and environment as I have already experienced so many different types throughout my life. Living outside has also thought me so many things which when living in one country I could never have imagined learning for example If I would have lived in Saudi Arabia whole my life my view about women rights and freedom would have been very narrow and for some very disturbing. Another example which I have seen myself people who lived in Saudi Arabia once they travel to other countries for university seeing so much freedom for the first time they start taking the wrong path in life getting involved with all types of wrong thing just because they didn’t have enough freedom as well as they were completely controlled by their families earlier in their life. This is another reason I consider myself lucky because I was given enough freedom and understanding by my family to know what is good for me and what is not. I always had the freedom to do whatever I wanted nevertheless when doing something wrong I was given reasons and proper understanding why that isn’t good for me instead of directly being stopped and shout at. Good upbringing effects a person’s identity a lot, if given proper attention care and knowledge in an early stage of life it helps a person whole his life which is why a parent should always be very careful with their children.

I have developed respect for all kinds of religion at very early age as two of my best friends were Hindu and Christian I even attended some of the other religion classes in my school to have a better understanding about them. If I would have lived all my life in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia I believe my opinion about other religion could have been extreme and hard for me to accept people from another religion as many people who come from my country have hard time accepting Hindus or people from Saudi Arabia have trouble accepting or becoming friends with people from another religion. On the other hand, advantage of living in Muslim country was no one would judge you based on your religion which nowadays has become a norm and as soon as people hear your religion is Islam they jump to conclusion that you must be an aggressive person or associated with some type of terrorist group which can feel offensive but a person has to adapt to fit in this world. I come from a culture with high power distance and less individualism but due to my experience from different cultures, living away from my country and relatives it has made me an individualistic person who favours less power distance in society as high power distance can limit a person’s creative vision and freedom, however, I still have collectivism in me as it runs deep in my blood and in my culture. I care a lot about my blood relative and ready to help them when needed. I feel very high individualism is also bad for a culture as it makes us care for our own well-being and not see society or family as whole.

Even though I have lived in a society with high masculinity all my life I believe there should be a balance in both masculinity and feminine. Being in highly masculinity society always put a lot of pressure on me during my school days as I was always compared to other more successful people which was very stressful at time but sometimes it also motivated me to do better but because of this I developed low self-esteem and still I usually think myself inferior to most people, however, this sometimes help me muster up my courage to do better than most people around me. Although I have been a popular person whole my life where ever I have been as I was incredibly good at sports, gymnastics and was famous for being a very kind, funny and generous person. Another reason for which I was popular for was I never lied, was very open and straightforward with people sometimes they felt bad but in end, they knew it was the truth. I believe telling the truth no matter how bad it is then and there is better than lying to make them temporarily happy as the consequence to a lie is usually very bad in long run for anyone. For example, I once said to a person while doing bachelors its better if you change from engineering to other course as it will be easier for you and at least you will gain something rather than failing again and again in engineering, at first he got angry but afterwards he calmly thought what I said and discussed with his family and decided to change and now he graduated with a good GPA in that course. Harsh truth can save a person’s life rather than fake comfort. Being part of different culture and society helped me a lot through my life, it not only helped me understand other people, but it helped me become a better person who can adapt and adjust to however people from different area and culture wants me to be or according to there standards. It has also made me a good listener and a good human being and helped me attain a unique identity which is mixed with so many different cultures backgrounds and history.

I personally believe more people you meet better a person you can become as it will help you create an adaptive and a unique personal identity which will make you an easier person to cooperate with. Making a unique and adaptive personal identity is all about gain experience and meeting new people from around the world which can be a challenging task however if you achieve it has many perks which can help a person a lot in life.

15 July 2020

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