Tag Archives: learn

Reconnecting with my Thai Heritage through Los Angeles

By Zoe Navapanich

When I was twelve years old, I traveled to Thailand for the first time. I met much of my extended family for the first time, tasted all kinds of different cuisine, and saw many of the typical tourist attractions that draw people from far and wide to the country. Though I am half Thai, and was fairly well connected to my culture throughout my childhood—calling my grandma “khunya” and going to every Thai festival and celebration at the local temple, I felt like a tourist when I finally had the opportunity to visit Thailand.

For many children of immigrants, especially those from mixed-race families, it can feel very difficult to stay connected to your roots. When I visited my cousins growing up, I was ashamed that the only Thai I knew was the baby phrases my Khunya chided us with like แปรงฟัน (brush your teeth) or the nursery rhymes sung to the children at temple. Now, I wonder how much of my Thai heritage I will one day pass on to my children, or how much I would even be capable of passing along considering my lack of knowledge of the language and substantially lower involvement with the Buddhist temple in the past few years. Continue reading Reconnecting with my Thai Heritage through Los Angeles

Growing Up Bi-Dialectal and Bi-Accented

By Aishwarya Badanidiyoor

They say language is one of the quickest ways to establish personal connections. Having grown up in multiple countries, adapting to new environments was always a priority of mine, and that meant picking up on the (sometimes subtle) differences in communication between the widely varied cultures and societies that I came across. To give you a little background, I lived in Saudi Arabia for the first ten years of my life, and then moved to India for the rest of middle school. I went to high school in Canada, and then attended Engineering school in India. Currently a master’s student and conversation partner here at USC, I have had the opportunity to meet quite a few international students along the way, and one thing that some of us have in common is our ability to speak multiple dialects/accents of English fluently, due to our diverse upbringing.

I grew up speaking a very neutral Indian accent for the first 9 years of my life, due to my stay in Saudi Arabia. Many people are not aware of this, but Indian accents come in varying flavors, which is why when I moved to India for middle school, my classmates and I had trouble understanding each other for the first few months. When I moved to Canada for high school 4 years later, the differences in accents, phrases, word usage, and intonation (amongst many other things) were quite obvious. Within a few months, my little brother and I had already adapted a neutral general North American accent, garnished with a few of the more obvious characteristics of Canadian English.

Once I moved to a different part of India for Engineering school there was a accent divide between me and my classmates once again. Within the year however, I had molded my tongue into sounding more local without much hassle. This brought about some new challenges for me – I regularly conversed with my Canadian friends in my north american accent, and switched to the new Indian one with my Indian friends.

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My Summer in Argentina

By Ross Rozanski

Zip lining above a treacherous ravine. Playing soccer on a rustic ranch. Horseback riding through chilled rivers. Waiting in line at a Burger King at five in the morning. In all of their exciting and exhausting and excellent thrill, I, along with nine other high school students, experienced these activities and more in Argentina. Except for waiting to order a Double Whopper in a line that almost extended out the door on a sub-forty degree night, this Argentinian trip was an experience so full and engaging and just pure fun that few of us ever complained.

During my junior year in high school, I was part of an intercambio program with my high school, in which a group of students from a high school in Buenos Aires lived with us in our homes for one month. The following summer, we were hosted by them in their city. At this point in my life, I had studied Spanish for five years, and I was thrilled by the opportunity to use the language in one of its native lands. We had many great memories when they visited us in Massachusetts, including snowboarding, Patriots games, and small house parties. To say I was ready to hop on the plane already is a tremendous understatement.

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