University of Virginia
My Confusing Cultural Identity
Explain a struggle you have faced in your life that helped define who you are
“Aap meri choti shezadi ho, Hannah,” my Pakistani grandfather told me before I moved to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia. I was later able to translate his loving Urdu words into English: “You are my little princess, Hannah.” I am a Pakistani-Burmese-American, and I have been culturally confused my entire life.
Walking to school every morning in a pair of blue jeans, I am American. I say the Pledge of Allegiance, speak English, and seek company and am influenced by my American peers. Yet, the moment I step foot into my house, I am greeted with “Asalamualiakum,” and I am Pakistani again. The spicy, nose-opening scent of biryani and the beautiful native tongue of my mother are what make my house my home. My closet has a separate section for shalwar kameezai, and my television has a multitude of Urdu channels. At my family reunions, I am reminded once again of the hardships my brave Burmese grandmother and her family encountered as they migrated from Burma to Pakistan. I am Pakistani, Burmese, and American. This lineage shapes who I am today.
My cultural identity used to be a way for me to please others by obediently following customs. I would dress in a shalwar kameez to please my parents and speak a few words in Urdu to please my...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 775 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 5258 literature essays, 1584 sample college application essays, 204 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in