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The world I come from is always in conflict, and I am its ambassador. I am like the spiritual medium that must juggle the knowledge of both sides and create a medium in which both can exist. One side of the conflict is my Korean culture, demanding and strict, the other is my American culture, lenient yet ambitious.
As someone who is in a stranger’s land one must have two perspectives and be able to understand both, but the most important part is be accepted by both. To be accepted by both cultures I have had to learn a lot from both cultures and because I am the first generation in my family to be born in America the only example I have had to follow are my parents. My parents have pushed me so I can strive to be my best, often, when I was young I did not understand the reasons why they had to push me, but now I do. They want me to realize the dream they had, like so many have, coming to the land of the free. But they are definitely not the best example to follow to be accepted in the American culture.
Korean culture is one where everyone must be pushed and encouraged to be the best at what they do. Because Korea is such a small land with a lot of people, competition there is fierce, there is small room for mistakes and even less for people who do not try their best. Even children in Korea are aware of this fact; even they are pushed to be the top of their class. That is the Korean culture.
American culture is one that is lenient yet ambitious. People here cherish childhood and foster the innocence that it brings but you must be aware of the world around you and know that it is not a walk in the park. Once you are out in the world you realize how hard it is and then you are pushed, like never before, to make it in the world, leave your mark in the world, and realize all you aspirations in the world. That is the American culture.
To not be looked down upon by the American cultures you must act and talk like an American with no peculiar accent. My parents have done some strange things according to the American standard. We eat strange foods, talk a strange language, and the most popular, have strange utensils we use to eat, chopsticks. But with all of our culture’s differences, we share one dream, a dream to come to a land where people are free to create their own destiny. That is who I am, the Korean-American, someone who has the power to shape his own destiny and realize his dreams.