Western is such an incredible community for many reasons, one of which being its diverse student population. When I walk across campus every morning, I feel lucky to be able to interact with and learn from so many different people from all walks of life.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about my own identity, and how I fit into this weird, crazy, wonderful world. Do any of you ever feel like you don’t quite belong? Well, I do. Being Chinese Canadian, sometimes I’m not sure how my piece fits into the huge multicultural puzzle. Here’s why:
- Chinese-born Canadians (or CBC, as they’re called) are in the middle of a very strong cultural divide. Traditional Chinese values conflict with more liberal Canadian views, which makes for interesting dinner table conversations. Let’s just say that Asian parents love school and high marks. A lot.
- Observing the behaviours of native Chinese people as well as Caucasians is incredibly fascinating. After several years of exploring the differences between both groups, I’ve become even more confused. It’s hard to explain, but those who know me well say that I’ve adopted the “Canadian” way of living. Trust me, I’m still trying to figure out what that means.
I had somewhat of a different upbringing compared to my fellow Chinese Canadians. Being at a mostly Caucasian school during my elementary school years helped me to understand “typical” North American behaviours such as being more open to different opportunities compared to the strict paths that are dictated to native Chinese children at birth. Note: contrary to popular (Asian) belief, you don’t have to be a doctor or lawyer to be successful.
After sorting through all these thoughts, the most important thing that I have learned is to be unique and embrace the different cultures that I know and love. It is a lesson that I am still trying to implement in my everyday life.