For this essay I wanted to emphasize on the way that immigrants' identities change by Americanization. I include personal descriptive scenes as well as things I have learned by observing the people around me. Immigrants come into this society with many disadvantages and they constantly have to change who they truly are in order to feel accepted. I address how Americanization is a vital process that every immigrant goes through where they cannot avoid it. I am proud of this essay because it is personal and immensely significant to who I am.
19 January 2017
America makes us who we are
Immigrants are faced with a dilemma that forces them to choose an identity in a new unfamiliar space to them. An immigrant’s identity is enriched and expanded on others. Retaining their old identity may prove to be a difficult challenge for immigrants. As an immigrant in America, I was put in a similar situation four years ago. Assimilation caused a dissonance, and just like every other immigrant, my personal identity went through an Americanization phase that helped me feel like I belonged in this country.
I moved to the United States when I was twelve years old. I was still absorbing new information and learning valuable lessons about life such as. When I was younger, I had multiple opportunities to travel around Europe. I got a glimpse of how life was in different countries, from second world countries (Albania) to world superpowers (Italy) to countries in major economic depression (Greece.). Little did I know, the world I had imagined in my mind was totally different in real life. I always saw these places with a different point of view; the point of view of a tourist. I did not know people’s problems and what they went through. Moving to a new country changed how I thought about the world around me,
As an immigrant moving to America, I realized that I would live a different lifestyle than in Albania. I knew that my first priority had to be learning the English language in order to fit in as soon as possible. The first few weeks of school were the most perplex days. Students were making fun of my accent and I was unable to understand most of the information taught to me. After weeks of frustration and discomfort, I decided to turn off the Albanian in me. I was only speaking in English, hanging out with American friends only, listening to American English through music and movies, I was reading a lot of books and I started to think in English. I changed the way I dressed because I was told that “Americans do not wear low top sneakers and tight clothes” and that stereotypes were a real issue. I was seeing myself change on a daily basis - every day was a new experience that meant a new change in 12 year old Jorin. That is when I knew the Americanization process was underway..
One of the biggest things that made an impression on me at that school was when I met an Albanian student. He acted as my translator when the principal and some teachers welcomed me into their school. His name was Aldo and I would have never guessed he was Albanian for far. He had completely lost his native language. His accent was extremely hard to understand and during those conversations, I understood more of his English than his Albanian. Aldo came to America when he was only 5 years old. Since then, he only associated with ‘Americans’ and adapted to this society. Aldo had assimilated into an American not by choice but by the influence of the society around him. I thought that was a great example to follow and it gave me confidence, knowing that I was on the right path.
Children of immigrants have to help their parents in any way possible. In the beginning, my parents did not know a lot of English so, whenever they needed a someone to speak on the phone for them, me and my brother were the first volunteers. We would talk to insurance companies, phone companies, banks and it still surprises me how the operators thought that a forty year old male could have the voice of a child. This happens with almost every kid whose parents are immigrants, as the children are in daily contact with the American culture at school.
First generation immigrants never want to lose touch with their culture but when it comes to second generations. Everything is different. Second generation immigrants are rarely interested in their culture because integrating in their new society means more to them, in the present and probably in their future, too.
In conclusion, immigrants assimilate because being different does not make this society accept them. Some immigrants escape those norms because they ‘fit in’ physically but others who look different struggle to ‘fit in’ and live a normal American life. I believe that immigrants cannot escape the process of Americanization at some point in their lives. They can control how much they get Americanized and assimilated but their identities cannot stay the same. Americanization is a vital process in feeling like you belong, boosting confidence and opening doors to new opportunities in the future. It changed my life for better and I would never be in the position I am today if it wasn’t for opening my eyes to new horizons and accepting the fact that my life, myself and my friends would never be the same.
Globalization or Americanization?
In our human’s history, the world has never been as intensely integrated as the current modern era. With the advanced technology, the world seems to be smaller to many people. For a prominent example, the birth of the worldwide web allows its users to have access to everywhere in the world virtually. Every internet user can keep themselves up to date with just several mouse clicks. In terms of culture on the other hand, is slightly different. First of all, let’s briefly define the word culture so that we can identify its role in the globalization issue. In plain definition, culture is something intangible but carries tremendous spiritual meanings that perhaps are the most precious asset of an ethnicity, race, or nation. In order words, it defines all of those elements. To recognize a particular culture, we can look at different languages, food, arts, music, or traditions which are the cores and symbols of a culture. Now that the complex term culture is clear, we can merge globalization and culture together to find its outcome. Judging upon this ongoing controversial issue, many critics believe that globalization is making the world’s cultures the same. On the contrary, I am forced to recognize that the world’s cultures are being more Americanized than globalized. Despite the fact that the world’s cultures are becoming diverse, the U.S culture is still dominant and has a major impact on other cultures on the worldwide range.
Before anything, please allow me to distinguish both globalization and Americanization so that we can have a better sense of what I am going to analyze. Quite comprehensively, globalization merely means everything becomes globalized; to exemplify that, the world is open for countries to come and work together. People are allowed to travel around the world to do business regardless of distances. In addition, daily products and merchandises or call it international exchange come from all over the world....