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Where do I belong? Bilingual. Bi-cultural. Turbulence!

Where do I belong? Bilingual. Bi-cultural. Turbulence!

Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.

Abashment.. addling.. befuddlement… bemusement.. blurring… Commotion… confounding..  discomfiting… dumbfounding.. embroiling, flap,  lather, mixup mystification, obscuring, perplexing,…perturbation.. pother… puzzlement.. stew… stirring up.. tangling… or in simple words – CONFUSION…!!! is all that comes to my mind when I think about the topic I am going to write about.

Yes… trust me, I had to look up synonyms from the dictionary for the word confusion in order to better describe my thoughts and put it across in any possible way for anyone to understand my situation.

no boundaries...
no boundaries…

I am from India and and we believe in arranged marriages culturally so the question of inter-cultural or inter-national marriages is totally taboo to me. At least it was… until I moved to the United States of America.

Since America is so multi-cultural and welcomes people of all and any nationality and race, it has become a meeting ground for people of different ethnicities who fall in love and raise families together.

I was in love once with a girl from the States once. It did not work out for its own reasons. Neither of us were to be blamed.

Maybe we weren’t strong enough or MAYBE THE CULTURAL DIFFERENCE CAUSED IT. I don’t know.

I want to believe so though. She was half Korean and half white. Her mom was Korean and her dad was white. Imagine if we had kids, they would’ve been quarter Korean, quarter white and half Indian and CONFUSED…!!

bi-cultural relationships
bi-cultural relationships

We were living together. We had a ton of differences big and small to cope with and compromise on. All those little things that were completely fine in her culture and the way she was brought up but what were a complete NO NO in my culture.

The food, the common language barrier, the dressing sense, the habits, friends, activities … everything was different.. in a good and bad way.,.!!

I see a lot of successful couples and I salute them because I can tell you, it is not easy. But if they did it is because they put in the effort, which i should’ve too.

But I didn’t.

Personally I think the equation gets more complicated when they have kids who start wondering and questioning their roots and belonging, something which might lead them to a very unclear and dangerous path as they grow up.

I think both parents should instill both cultures and expose the children to the blend of both the histories and let them decide which side they wanna take instead of rubbing upon them what they want them to believe. After all, love knows no boundaries.

Then why create them?

Love is in the air people. Don’t hold yourself back. If it is meant to happen, it will happen no matter what. The whole universe will conspire to get you what you deserve.

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Talk to Bill and others about their experiences raising bi-cultural Japanese-American kids.

How to Raise Kids Bilingually in a Chinese and American environment

How to Raise Kids Bilingually in a Chinese and American environment

Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.

Bilingual Parenting Isn't Easy
Bilingual Parenting Isn’t Easy

In order to learn second language, so many students in the world have spent tremendous time on studying.

After-school class, mandatory English classes, and language summer camps have always been popular over the years in Asia. As a dominant  language, English has been taught throughout the school years. However, the impact and final result from years of 2nd language teaching is still far behind the influence from a bilingual environment at home.

It’s such a privilege to raise a kid or be raised up in a bilingual family.

After 15 years of studious spirit in English learning, Dreamsbiz tried so hard to learn English back in Taiwan.

Fortunately,  Dreamsbiz was able to get comparable higher score than others on TOEFL and GMAT and to enroll in one of the worldwide best International Business Schools within the United States.

Despite high scores in all the language evaluation tests, I still lacked the basic knowledge of daily conversation in terms of American culture and history. Most of the 2nd languages mainly focus on academic or conservation-wide teaching. That also contributes to the situation where people do not know to express or get involved in the discussion properly.

How to raise up a kid in bilingual family?
How to raise up a kid in bilingual family?

When coming to the United States, I was not surprised at all to see the growing number of U.S. bilingual families. One of major factors to boost U.S. economy is immigrants. From 70′ to 90’s , there are several peaks of immigration in the American demography. For those families, how to raise the kid in bilingually or trilingually has been a very popular topic over years.

Recalling all the training when I worked in one premium English private pre-school, the principal and the entire education system had a very clear policy on how to teach and interact with pre-school kids.

Consistency is the golden rule to follow up along side education materials.

In reading Annie’s article – Raising Bilingual Kids” Benefits and Techniques,  she also mentions how important and beneficial it is for kids to be raised up in bilingual environments.

So, here are few tips I learned from my past professional training:

  • Language delay – Parents should expect kids to experience language delay as a result of their dual language environment. Though the confusion may occur in children in their early age, children’s learning and language will not be different with others who are from a single language family.
  • Human interaction – Many parents rely on the TV to be the main the language learning at home. It would be a big harm for how teachers in pre-school invest their efforts. TV is just a method to support your teaching. Human interaction is still thumb of rule.
  • Stop having stereotypes – Parents should stop inputting any good or bad stereotypes from other cultures. Learning language should be an adventure for kids. Set aside these stereotypes that you even don’t know when teaching these little angels.
  • One language along with one parent – It’s a beauty that two parents can speak two or three different languages. For example, kids only can talk with mother in English but with father in Chinese. In time, kids can develop the language patterns to accelerate their learning.
  • Being consistent  – Make sure to be consistent during the entire process to prevent children from getting confused.

Of course, there are more different techniques recommended by others. You may also think some creative ways as you can.

Please share.

Talk to Bill and others about their experiences raising bi-cultural Japanese-American kids.

Some ideas about how to raise kids bi-culturally – the BANANA

Some ideas about how to raise kids bi-culturally – the BANANA

Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.

There is one specific word to describe those Asian kids raised in western culture: BANANA.

It is a person with yellow skin but has a white-person’s heart.

BANANA is not a good word; sometimes it’s kind of rude.

I don’t like it and I don’t like to simply categorize people by some simple codes.

But there are definitely a group of people which I bring attention to: those people who come from Asian families but are raised in western cultures.

All the outside world they contact from beginning are western: friends, schools and society. But when they come home, they meet their Asian families: those people who care for them most come from a different culture.

Bicultural-kissed
Bicultural-kissed

It could be they are facing growing up bi-culturally or it could also be culture conflict they need to deal with.

I know in most cases parents would anticipate their children to adopt into two cultures, go along with both of them and embrace them without much critical judgment. Well, we hope so.

I know some Chinese parents who raise kids in western world, like in America, would ask or even force their kids to the Chinese-language-learning classes, the Chinese-culture classes and/or the Chinese history classes. They expect their kids to know China, recognize themselves as Chinese, and be proud of themselves as Chinese.

But I also meet many kids when their Chinese parents talk to them in Chinese, they respond to them in English. The only Chinese they speak well or write well is their Chinese name. Other than that, they know Chinese as much as their American friends.

Well, even though the parents are trying so hard for them to adopt two cultures and recognize themselves well for their identities, we should also admit that the kids, especially when they are quite KIDS, the influence coming from their friends, classmates and teachers are as much as their parents.

When kids are kids, the importance of self-identity is as much as the importance of recognition coming from their peers and teachers. Sometimes, they rely on the peers’ and teachers’ recognition to build their own identities.

All of these facts make kids raised bi-culturally difficult. And it also means talking with them at home in Chinese and sending them to Chinese lessons are not enough. Kids need to recognize their own identities voluntarily, rather than by force. It challenges the parents to adjust their strategies to develop this recognition.

There are some interesting tips about how to raise a bilingual child in 5 steps

Wrote by: Bei He

Talk to Bill and others about their experiences raising bi-cultural Japanese-American kids.

 

Experiences I have first hand with being bi-cultural Indian – American

Experiences I have first hand with being bi-cultural Indian – American

Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.

I think my experience being an Indian – American is a great advantage for me.

My experience with different culture
My experience with different culture

I have spent most of my life in India in a very traditional family but with modern outlook towards life.

I had always desired to visit different countries and enjoy the way they live, eat and think. However I never got a chance in my childhood.

When I grew up and started studying in my undergraduate college, I had the experience of studying with some international students and I learnt a lot about their culture.

Later in life after completing my studies, I got got married and then came to a phase in my life I had always desired. Since my husband was staying in the United States, I was very thrilled about it.

When I came to Los Angeles, 2 years back, I got number of opportunities to interact with people coming from a different cultural background.

Los Angeles is a cosmopolitan city and people with different cultures live there.

There are number of food joints from different countries such as India, China, Italy, France, Greece, Philippines, Mexican etc. I was very much excited at this fact and was eager to explore each of theses food.

I interacted with Americans living in my locality and found that they were very different from Indians.

There are many good things about Americans which I honestly admire.

Literacy rate is very high in United States and people are highly educated. Education is something which is also provided by government free of cost. Due to being educated, everyone gets a job and is independent.

Education is something which I feel makes United States such a powerful country across the world.  Even in India, education is something which is given highest priority. But easy access to education is not given to the poor and underprivileged.  Due to this reason many people in India remain uneducated.

People in America are independent and they don’t depend on someone for their living. People have easy access to anything they want.

Even the old people are not dependent on anyone for their living.

There are also a number of retirement plans offered by the government to old people which makes their old age free of tension.

There are even a number of heath plans being offered by the Government to the people free of cost.

Apart from this there are many other points which I got to learn when I experienced American culture.

I feel I am very fortunate to get this chance to learn new things.

Talk to Bill and others about their experiences raising bi-cultural Japanese-American kids.