Cultural Diversity Autobiography

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I would like to consider my cultural heritage as diverse, but this is far from reality. Over the years as I matured through my teenage years, I was exposed to different cultures by life experiences and travel. I struggled to create both a personal and cultural identity while trying to adjust to my sight loss and with the support of my family I traveled overseas to experience other cultures for the first time. My family opened up their home to a foreign exchange program in turn allowing me the opportunity to travel over to Europe at the age of 16 years old. This opportunity started the slow progression of experiences that would open my mind to others who are unlike myself, especially traveling to a strange place and feeling different in a mainstream culture. It was not until the past 5 or 6 years until I fully accepted my disability that changed my view on being different, whether it’s race, class, gender or disability. Before this time period, my own fear of being different was so intense that I thought my weakness (disability) made me inferior of not only other cultures, but also my own family members. I interviewed my grandmother, father and mother for this project. It was very interesting to uncover many of the stories and values that I was unaware of throughout my life. My father’s mother is currently 91 years old and offered a difficult interview by giving me too many stories to analyze for this project. She grew up in the Midwest and moved throughout several states as a child. Her parents separated when she was 8 years old leaving her mother to raise her independently. They settled in Missouri at a religious community called Unity Farm. Her mother taught school while raising my Grandmother. The value of educatio... ... middle of paper ... ...elopment of diverse understanding through my life. I found that The further you explore and understand your own culture, you will be better prepared to face counseling issues in other cultures while avoiding possible pitfalls like bias. As I reflect on this autobiography project, I feel that I found some reasons for my thoughts and behaviors. I do not follow many of the strict values like religion; I seem to follow the path of the males in the family. My adjustment to blindness was both helped and hindered from both my parents. My father encouraged me to explore and not to be discouraged by failure or defeat, while my mother kept strongly encouraging me to improve my life. As I eventually get married and start my own family, I will understand the importance of expressed emotions and how my upbringing influenced my roles in the present and future families.
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