New Country, New Life
Traveling, exploring, and moving are life changing experiences. The new things that individuals are able to explore gives them the chance to learn about the ways of life in another culture. People move to a new country for various reasons. I, along with my family, moved to the United States from England in 2004. However, long before this it all started with the Scandinavians who discovered native people in North America around A.D. 1000. Short lived as their stay was, this would be the beginning of a very violent and dangerous path for the Native American people. Spain, France, and England would follow the Vikings lead nearly 500 years later and the clash of cultures commenced. America was appealing to these European nations because of the desire to expand their countries power, the natural resources this ‘new world’ offered and for some, opportunity and religious freedom.
My personal journey, was not too dissimilar to our ancestors. How I was perceived and treated while trying to build a new life with dreams, like many immigrants, of a better existence, played a crucial role in how I adapted to these new surroundings. Moving countries or indeed, just simple travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay.
Assimilating into America; a new culture without an expanded family or support is challenging for anyone. This paper discusses the determining factors of the ease or difficulty of that assimilation process. How I saw myself in comparison to others in America also impacted how I felt about myself and my culture whether it be positive or negative. New languages, traditions, food, religion and music create multiculturalism, diversity and increase our knowledge about society and how to interact with people with respect. The effects of adopting a different culture can be frustrating at the beginning but in the end, when we are able to share and understand each other, life is much more exciting and enjoyable.
I believe that philosophical identity is seeking to understand why people are the way that are. It can be very difficult to define your personal philosophical identity because it is not a typical thought process. My personal identity is affected due to experiences, interactions, feelings and naturally how I grew up. All of the small memories I have had affected my identity even if it is in the smallest way. Over the years, I have changed a lot but at the same time, many of my values and philosophies about life have remained the same. I don’t believe that big changes by one person are the most important, I believe that small changes from many people are the most impactful way to make change.
Learning about a new culture is very common nowadays. Most people immigrate to other countries looking for different goals in life. Some people immigrate for safety purposes; some people are looking for better opportunities and different quality of life. For some, like me, the adjustment to a new culture was easy; perhaps because I was young and for certain this it the easiest time to adjust to a different culture, before preconceived notions and nostalgia play a more significant part. However, there are many people who struggle every day trying to learn about a different culture or language adoption.
Understanding about a different culture takes time, patience and perseverance. Some of the important facts I learned and experienced about America included: new dialect, even though still English language there were subtle differences, mannerisms, different traditions, food, quality of life enhancement, different music etc. I had no idea what country music was! The idea of changing ones life and moving abroad takes courage, patience and dedication. Everyday comes with a different challenge, whether they are basic living tasks or more specific situations that requires the person to be able to understand and respond immediately. Simple tasks like reading, driving, communicating, talking, as well as counting money or even paying for a coffee become a big challenges to overcome. People adjusting to a new culture often feel lonely and homesick because they are not yet used to the new environment and meet people with whom they are not familiar. Also people can feel lost or confused about being in a new area. A lot of emotions are created like anxiety, depression, isolation and vulnerability. Every once in a while, I recognize that I do not give myself enough credit for my accomplishments or I blame others for my failures. I don’t want to go through life relying on other people for my happiness, that’s my responsibility. If I better know myself and what makes me happy, then it is up to me to make changes and things happen.
I surmise, that regardless of where people are moving from or to, learning a new culture opens your mind in a whole new level. It’s important to assimilate and embrace the laws and culture of a new country. Of course, you can still have your own thoughts, expression of speech and belief system. There is a saying ‘Speaking someone’s native language is the quickest way to their heart.’ Even if you make some mistakes, they’ll admire you for trying. The joy of relocating to a different country is that you’re able to see how other people live and act, new religions, accustoms, diversity, interesting food and destinations that will fascinate your mind. For me, technology played a huge role in learning about America. Communications are a fast and easy way to access information and learn at anytime. Our differences become less when we are open to learn and respectful; having a curious and scientific mind is critical. Our differences make us all unique and it’s create to celebrate people’s individuality.
The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart and on your body. You take something with you. The rules are very simple; as long as you respect and value people’s way of life and look at everyone with non discriminatory eyes, you can join a less country centric culture.