University of Washington
Describe an experience of cultural difference, positive or negative, you have had or observed. What did you learn from it? (250 word maximum)
Being born and raised in Hawaii as a hapa haole, or half-Caucasian and half-Asian, I have many insights about the local culture of my homeland. Today, Hawaiian culture doesn't just consist of the native Hawaiians, who currently make up less than 18 percent of Hawaii's population, but also includes the minorities within the Aloha State. Every individual in Hawaii is part of a minority population, due to the preponderance of cultures and ethnicities. This diverse population began with immigrants who arrived to work on the plantations, such as the Japanese, Chinese, and Portuguese. From this assimilation, an entirely unique local culture emerged.
Although commonalities between Hawaii and the mainland exist, Hawaii's distinctiveness is what makes it unique and appealing. A local language called Pidgin originated from the integration of diverse cultures at the plantations. This vernacular is widely used throughout the islands by anyone who stays long enough to pick it up. The Aloha Spirit - a warm, friendly, giving attitude towards all - is a vital component of island life. The concept of Hawaiian Time implies a laid-back lifestyle, and often results in a family-oriented existence. I've also become accustomed to...
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