Celebrating Cultures, Promoting Integration
What can living in a multicultural house gift you? Nowadays, we live in a globalized society made up of diverse ethnicities and cultures. These cultural groups have their own universe: a language, gestures, signs and background, which makes them unique. Due to globalization, many customs and traditions are being lost and others are being assumed and celebrated, either because of its attractive force or because of the force of capitalism. Even so, as much as the world is increasingly interconnected, there are still many cultural oppressions. Racism, sexism, homophobia, and any other type of oppression represents a setback in our present as a civilization.
In this article, we are going to reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of living in a multicultural house: a perfect extrapolation of what happens in society.
Pros and cons about mixing cultures
On the one hand, the main benefit is that everything strange can be seen as a source of knowledge. There will always be first times to try new flavours, smells and ways of doing things. It is also an advantage to understand the past of a different culture because it allows you to reset your brain and see new nuances of your culture. Last but not least, you have the opportunity to learn new languages. It will add value to you as an individual and will probably open many doors for you.
On the other hand, not all humans are the same. What would bother one wouldn’t affect the other. Some of the previous points might seem negative to some which would make it more difficult for people to assimilate. Not everyone is ready for change. Meeting new people means leaving your comfort zone and adjusting to the new things with respect and understanding.
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Voices from around the world
Here we have five testimonies from people of different nationalities who have found themselves living in a multicultural house:
Kala and Kaushik
They are Indian; she is from Bengaluru and he is from Chennai, they have been in Dublin for a year and they don’t think it’s important to know who their new roommates are going to be before moving in. “I like to go to a place without any expectations because that’s when you live fullest”, says Kala. Kaushik mentioned that searching for accommodation in Dublin is a real hard task so you can’t be picky. Despite being difficult, both agree that mixing different cultures is always a good experience: “When you share different cultures and opinions you can make good friends and memories for life, we are always down for these kinds of adventures”.
Raised in Vermont, USA. Erik’s experience with his roommates was different from the beginning: “I already knew half of my roommates since we are all in the same programme, but I was hoping for other international roommates”. For this reason, Erik adds that the internet allows us to connect and understand with a far wider group than ever before, and enables us to keep in touch with friends long after we return to our homes, which let us strengthen the bond.
He is from Yunan province, China, and he has already settled in Dublin with his “super amazing roommates”, as he says, who are from totally different cultural backgrounds: Like a world map. “When deciding where I will live and who I will live with, my biggest concern is that we should share the same interests”, he ensures that sharing interests and showing respect is the key for a good relationship. Furthermore, Killian highlights that curiosity is a very important feature that feeds social communication: “For me, curiosity means a lot, I want to learn their languages and all the different things that make up their culture, it is the curiosity that allows us to build these connections”.
A girl from Huelva, Spain. It is her 6th day living in a multicultural house and it has exceeded her expectations. She had lived on her own previously in Barcelona and Sevilla but leaving the country is always a difficult experience. Tamara thinks knowing people from all around the world is something everybody should experience “I’m enjoying every single detail: landscapes, weather, food, buskers, pubs and the very kind company of my roommates”. She concludes that when you leave your home and your family, you have to create a new one: “Connecting with my roommates has been a lot easier than expected, I feel so comforted when I see them smiling all around the house”.
In closing, culture shocks will always be there because our individual backgrounds will always be unique but that is what makes it worth it: acquiring new values, being more tolerant and respectful, learning a foreign language, leaving your comfort zone… As Killian says “Maybe it is difficult and challenging to adapt to a new matrix, but you need to try, and you will find it amazing”. (Besides, if you embrace other cultures you might just learn some interesting facts. For example, “6666” is used in China to indicate that something is happening in a cool/smooth/brilliant/smart way…)