My Culture

“Culture is what presents us with the kinds of valuable things that can fill a life. And insofar as we can recognize the value in those things and make them part of our lives, our lives are meaningful.” Gideon Rosen, Stuart Professor of Philosophy, chair of the Council of the Humanities and director of the Program in Humanistic Studies, Princeton University.


With six layers on, I waddled out the door, feeling and looking like an oompa loompa. My mother had dressed me in layer after layer, and, begrudgingly, I had allowed myself to be smothered with an array of puffy jackets and scarves. The weather abroad was nothing like that of my neighborhood in sunny California, where I needed only to wear one layer regardless of the season.

To say I only grew up in the average-sized suburban city of Chino Hills, California would be a lie. Although it is the only place I have resided, I did a lot of growing up in other places due to my parents’ desire for me to learn about the world. My parents are self-made people, both of whom worked hard to travel from their birthplace in Africa to England for an education, and then to America to make a living. Perhaps this is why it is of the utmost importance to them that I not only cherish my education and relationships, but also that I learn about other cultures. Because of their persistent belief that I should experience the world for myself, I have had the opportunity to do some incredible things: including cheer at the Olympics in England, watch a high-speed lion chase in Tanzania, and venture inside the beautiful Taj Mahal in India.

Although my...

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