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Before I begin my paper, I would like to share a few things about where I come from and
why I came to the United States. I am originally from _____________ I was born in a small
village call _____, ____ and moved to a Thailand refugee camp with my parents when I was
about five years old. I feel like I know a lot about my culture background but there are things
that I am unsure or unclear. I hope that this paper will also help me understand more about my
culture as I write.
When coming to describe my family, we are very different from other families. First of
all, we have nine siblings. Right now, I have two brothers and one sister. My parent been
through so much and some terrible things has happened to them during the war back in the
day. In order to share my family culture, I would have to start with my other siblings that I have
not mentioned. I have five brothers and three sisters that I had never met in my life. Till today,
my parent shed tears whenever they talk about what had happened to my sisters and brothers.
Before I was born, my parent had three sons and two daughters. My brotherâ??s name
are Ibrahim, Sohai, Zackreya and my sisters name Shawana and Wahida. They lived in a small
village and it was hard for them to stay in once place since there was a war going on. They had
to move to different place for so many time. One day there was sickness going on in the village.
Many people were infected by the sickness so as my brothers and sisters. It was so
heartbreaking whenever my parent tells us this story. One day, my brother Ibrahim became
sick. Four days later, Shohai and Wahida became sick also. A few days went by Shawana and
Zackreya became sick as well. After being sick for a few days Ibrahim, Sohai, and Shawana died
on the same day due to the sickness. After seven days, my sister Wahida and Zackreya died on
the same day again. My parent who was still grieving for my sibling who died earlier had to
watch the last two going away. It was so hard for them to see my siblings being in the same
casket. It was so hard for them to accept the fact that my sibling passed away at a young age.
My parent tried to stay calm and made themselves feel better because they knew that it wasnâ??t
happening to them only and it also happened to other family. Many children died during that
time and parent were helpless and hopeless. The reason this happened is because people were
confused where the sickness comes from, there were no doctor to help them. There was no
hospital or any place they can go to get help. Till today, itâ??s so painful to see the grieve in my
parentâ??s eyes. Many years later, my parent have my older sister, me and my younger brother.
In order to share my life and culture background, I would have to start with why my family and I
decided to come here. To this day, I remember the day what happened to my family back in my country.
My parent wanted me to go to school but I couldnâ??t because there were no school. My parents wanted
me to become a good teacher or doctor because we didnâ??t have a good hospital there, we didnâ??t have a
good doctor to help people who got sick. But at that time it was really hard to become a doctor, because
we didnâ??t have school to learn. So my parent realized that it was not a good place to stay.
A few years later, we moved to a Thailand refugee camp by walking, and it took six days to walk.
After moving to the refugee camp in Thailand, we were registered in the United Nation High Commissioner
for Refugee and then became recognized refugee family members. We stayed in the refugee camp for
nine years. During the life in refugee camp, I attended a small school. And my parents were able to manage
of our daily expenditure and necessary things. My parents made extreme sacrifice for us to improve our
daily life while we were in the refugee camp. My parents tried a lot of things for us and they wanted us to
become good people. We opened a small restaurant while we were in the refugee camp; my father was
a Restaurant owner as well as a religious scholar. I still remember some of those difficulties that we have
faced in the Thailand refugee camp because refugee people cannot move freely and willingly around
Thailand. There was some restriction on the refugee people as it was provided by the Thailand Authority.
One day when the USA government finally accepted all people to go live in the USA, my family
applied for it. We heard that it was the land to start everything all over again. We wanted to forget what
had happened in Burma, and just wanted to go to the USA. After the completion of our resettlement
interview, medical examination, and all resettlement paper work, we came to know that our family had
been approved to resettle in the USA; in June 2008, we arrived to _______, ____. When I came here I
was 15 years old. After landing in the USA, I started to go to school as a freshman. It was very difficult
for me because I did not speak English. I knew that learning different language is not easy when itâ??s
completely different from your own. But I tried my best to learn more English.
Ethnic and/or religious cultures:
When talking about religion, I would say that my parent is very religious. We call ourselves
Muslim. Being a Muslim means to follow the religion of Islam. Islam began in Arabia and was revealed to
humanity by the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims believe that there is only one God which is the Arabic
word for God is â??Allah.â? There are many rules Muslim have to follow. For example, we believe in God,
Holy book-Quran, Prophets, ten commandments, Angels, and Day of Judgment.
We also pray five times a day, and Muslims are supposed to fast during Ramadan (festival
month). Also, Muslims have to perform Hajj once in their lifetime which is going to Mecca (pilgrimage).
There are many other rules we have to follow such as covering ourselves head to toes, doing charity,
interaction between men and women, respecting others, etc.
I always love being a Muslim as well as praying five times a day. However, I went through some
terrible time back in 2011 and i find that being Muslim is not easy in America. I feel like I am being in a
place where I feel like I am afraid to participate in my own religion which is not really easy. I was judge
based on my culture, my religion, and how I wear. I remembered I was walking on the street to go to
school, and there was a man driving, he then stop his car next to me and said, â??Get out of my countryâ?
â??your leader Osaman Bin Laden is dead.â? I was just standing there in shocked and did not know what to
do. I was not surprised why he said that because he can tell I am Muslim the fact that I was wearing a
headscarf (hijab). Since that day, I gave up on myself and I stop wearing scarf because I donâ??t want
people to misjudge me based on what they see or what they want to believe. While writing this paper, I
asked my mom if she ever experienced any kind of discriminated or being judge. She said, â??Yesâ?. She
said a few year ago, her manager was telling her to take off her scarf (Hijab) otherwise she cannot work.
Since my mom does not speak English, she could not tell him anything back even though she
understands what her manager said to her. The worst part is the manager did not explain why he would
tell my mom that she is not allowed to wear what she want. She said she did not listen to him and go to
work like how she goes before. A few days later, the manager did not say anything anymore. Although
he forced my mom not to wear hijab, I do not blame him because he has his own point of view on
Muslim people. We all know that Muslim people are called as Terrorism. So, I realized that there are no
point for us to complain about this.
My current religion and family,
My religion now is not much different than how I was raised. I was raised to become Muslim and
I still believe in Islamic culture even though it is hard being Muslim. I always live with my parent and
learned to become Muslim. We have this strong relationship when it comes to religion. We pray and
read Quran together. We always share our feelings and we were always close because we knew how
hard it is to stay as a family when things were going tough. But now I realized its been awhile I have not
seen my parent. I am busy with my life and I noticed how we stop talking to each other.
As I start reaching to my adult life, I realize how things are changing. I stopped wearing scarf
(hijab) because I believe that it should bring beauty not judgment from other. Also, I find myself not
praying five times a day it is because due to work and school. I did not have the time to pray on time. I
also stopped going the Mosque (Church). My parent on the other hand still practicing Islam and they
love being Muslim. They do not care what other people think or how they view Islam. I wish that I have
this kind of mindset where I do not care about what other think of my religion. However, I believe that I
am not losing my faith in Islam but I am distance from my religion.
When it comes to education, my mother never went to school. As for my father, he had a
chance to attend a religious school. My mother never learned how to read or write. They never had an
opportunity to attend a real school since they were very poor and there were no school. I was the first
one to go attend elementary back in Thailand, high school and College in United States. It was not easy
being the first one to go to college. Right now, I am now Junior at _______ majoring in Elementary
Education. I used to work as a caregiver and I thought I wanted to become a nurse. I love taking care of
people. However, when I started volunteering at a hospital, I realized that it just not for me. I do not
want to become a nurse. It took me a while to decided what I want to become. I started working with
the kids at elementary school and I realized that I wanted to become a teacher. I saw how teacher help
students learn and I just knew that I want to become a teacher. Right now, I am working as a cashier and
will be doing my student teaching in the Fall.
Overall, I have to say that my religion shaped who I am today and somehow it change me to be a
different person. When I was facing the struggle of being a Muslim, I realize that this kind of situation is
not easy for anyone especially when people see you as you are some kind of enemy. I believe that
everyone should have their own freedom to participate in any culture or religion they want. We should
not be judged by our religious preference or pay for what other people did in the past. I believe that
each one of us are human, with equal rights, and free will.
There are some belief Muslim people tie to such as believing in one God, believing in revealed
books of God and believing in Prophets of God. I believe that itâ??s hard for other people to understand
my belief as well as itâ??s hard for me to understand other people culture. Sometime, we tended to
wrapped up in the midst of our own beliefs, and we find it challenging to accept others way of life and
Dominant values and/or beliefs: Potential areas to explain could include, but are not limited
to; identify specific values/beliefs and explain how the family culture in which you were raised shaped
these, identify specific values/beliefs and explain how the religious culture in which you were raised
shaped these, etc.
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