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Cultural Biography

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        I was born in a small town 2 hours away from the city of Shanghai, China. I lived in my hometown for 14 years and then I moved to Shanghai for my high school. Before my high school, there was not much diversity in either my community or my school. Everyone in my school came from the same neighborhood and shared the same culture. Also, unlike the history class in the US, which talks about the history of the world, history class of my school talked mainly about the history of China. Therefore, I learned a lot of my own culture from my school, but I didn’t get the chance to hear about other culture and I didn’t have much experience with diversity back then. 

        At that time, the only outlet to other cultures was the media and news. People got an impression about other cultures through those large events reported on the news. However, my parents always tell me that don’t blindly believe what they portrait in the media and don’t quickly judge a culture before you experience it in person. If someone from certain country leads to a massive massacre, that does not mean all people in that country are dangerous. My parents are very open-minded business people. While most of the people in my town have certain biases/stereotypes toward people with black skins, my parents told me that we shouldn’t categorize people according to their skin colors, and it is presumptuous to judge people without actually talking with them. In terms of religion, they told me that no single thing is absolutely right or true. True or false is depends on what people think and depends on their culture; everyone could have his own belief. 

        After I moved to Shanghai, I was exposed to more diverse culture and had the opportunity to talk with people of different cultural background. I had classmates who came from Cuba, Korea, and Africa, and my neighbor came from Italy. I became a good friend with my neighbor, Julia, who is one year older than me. I like talking with her because she is always passionate and energetic about her life and eager to share her culture with me. From this relationship, I got to know a lot of interesting ancient Italian mysteries from her, got to try authentic Italian cuisines and learned about Italian’s attitude of life. It is interesting to me that Italians have such a romantic and relaxed attitude toward their lives and works. While my middle school teacher taught me that finding a job and supporting a family is the most important thing in life, Julia gave me another perspective of life, teaching me to enjoy my life as much as possible and to live the life to the fullest. 

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