I am a complex Oreo cookie: Brown on the outside, Indian and White on the inside, American. Having been brought up by Indian parents in an American society, there has always been a constant tug of war between these two different cultures in my life. I have to honor my parents’ expectations which can sometimes be out of range for me to follow, as well as empathize with my predominantly American friends. The war between two cultures has been filled with compromises and struggles but it has formed me to who I am today.
These struggles range from mundane to the substantial. My parents have taught me to brush my teeth before I eat breakfast so that germs that developed in my mouth overnight do not go in my stomach with my food. When my friends sleep over, and the next morning I am brushing my teeth before breakfast, they rant: “Ew, that’s disgusting” and “There’s no point of doing that.
” To make me seem like a normal teenage girl, I have to compromise a lot with my parents. For example, the typical rule that Indian parents set for their children is that they aren’t allowed to date until college. When I was asked to homecoming sophomore year of high school, I had many arguments, silent treatments and an awkward meeting with my date and my parents for me to get my parents’ permission to go to homecoming. Moments such as these make me question my richness. I have learned to compromise as well. My parents believe in many cultural superstitions such as auspicious days and times. I don’t believe in such things; I think that if things are meant to happen they will, and if not, life goes on. But I respect my parents beliefs and do certain things (like filling out this college application) at auspicious times to make them happy.
However, heralding from two cultures has made me realize what diversity is. I have seen my parents’ compromise to acclimate to my experience and generation. I have experienced culture and diversity to a broader extent that grants me wisdom that many people do not get a chance to gain.
I will bring my diversity perspective to the University of Wisconsin to enhance myself as well as positively continue cross-cultural dialogues. I hope to expand my multi-cultural identity even more by participating in the study abroad program to acquaint myself with a truly foreign culture. I want to use my diverse knowledge to interact with international students to encourage them to become more independent intellectually far away from home. I plan to engage in significant extra-curricular activities and take many anthropology classes to add the world’s store of knowledge to mine. My diverse nature has made me courageous and brave that all my friends call me “open-minded,” a measure of my adaptability I will carry with me to college.
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