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The Different Between Vietnamese and American Culture

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            I was born in Vietnam and came to the United States with my family because our parents wanted to seek out a better future in the country of dreams and promises. Adjusting to life in the United States was not easy for my parents because they want my siblings and I to adhere to and observe the culture and traditions typical of Vietnamese families. This is where our problem lies. I am caught in the middle of 2 very different cultures and as such, I am confused as to where I really belong. Should I keep my ancestral roots alive or should I become an American by culture and tradition? How different are the two cultures and would it be possible for me to find an area where the two can successfully merge? I would like to argue that it would be possible to do so.

            For instance, being pure blooded Vietnamese, my parents are not demonstrative people when it comes to their emotions. They rely on showing they care instead. They do this by doing special things for their loved ones. Like preparing their favorite dish for example. While Americans on the other hand are very much in touch with their feelings and do not hesitate to voice out their emotions and show that they care for a person when necessary. I do not see why it will not be possible for me, as a Vietnamese American to actually make it my personal tradition to show my love and care for my family and friends by doing both actions. After all, there is nothing wrong with being demonstrative and saying you actually care for a person. Gestures and words are the best way to show how you care.

            Another difference between the two cultures has to do with social and family responsibilities. Vietnamese culture dictates that children care for their parents and show their respect by honoring their parent’s wishes without question. Americans though are known for doing what feels right for themselves based upon personal decisions. Parents have their say in matters but in the end, the child has the freedom to choose. I have many American friends who have their own individual personalities that are different from their parents. Their parents support their decisions even if they may not always agree with the decision of the child. They are confident in the knowledge that though their child does not follow their wishes, it does not mean they love them any less. American children still care for their parents in their old age not because their culture dictates it, but because it is the proper thing to do.  I have seen other Vietnamese Americans who have successfully managed to follow their own personal desires and still care for their family. Once again, it is possible to merge the two cultures and show respect to the Vietnamese traditions while still keeping my new identity as an American.

            I would like to point out that America is a blend of various cultures. Americans learn and adapt to the cultures shared with them. It is up to the individual cultures to learn and adapt to America. This way, respect can be accorded to both sides of the individual.

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