Life as Chinese Americans

Wendy is a 13-year-old from Andover, MA. She enjoys art, dance, community service, music, volleyball, and track and field.

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About 20 years ago, my parents immigrated to America in hopes for a better future and life for not only themselves but also their children. Starting off as just working in restaurants to pay for their education to where we are now, living the American dream, the road was definitely not the easiest one. To come to the “land of opportunities”, required a lot of sacrifice for my parents. They had to leave behind their families, the country where they grew up in, and the customs and traditions that they were used to to come and explore a whole new world. Thanks to the amount of courage they possessed, I am proudly a Chinese American today.

Living and growing up in America has definitely put a lot of pressure on me especially having immigrant parents from China. Not as much as in my household but in many others, there is an invisible line of expectations for children: to achieve A+’s, excel in every activity, and to be respectful to each and everyone. Though many parents do not verbally state these rules, they are still enforced. When people think of Chinese people, many think of just one word: smart. But behind all the success achieved are continuous amounts of hard work. As a young child, we are trained to be ahead of our class and always be the best no matter what. No matter if it is playing piano, violin, dancing, or playing sports, we are expected to excel. While many other kids are outside playing, most of us are inside practicing. Maybe it’s the culture difference, but that seems to separate Chinese people from all other ethnicities. In the ancient times, China was one of the poorest countries in the world: looked down upon from everyone. Nobody seemed to respect them and maybe it’s from there where hard work derived from. It had to make its name somehow and after all this endless trying, it has finally become one of the biggest growing nations in the world in all aspects.

As a young child, Chinese has been my second language. Chinese culture has let me understand my background and heritage even more. When I was just a little toddler, I started Chinese dance and have continued it ever since. Living in America, I hardly ever get the opportunity to visit my relatives and my parents’ homeland just because of the distance issue. When I do Chinese dance though, it seems as though I have made the connection even closer together. Chinese dance allows me to truly recognize this civilization more deeply than I ever would have known. Besides dance, I also attended Chinese school for several years. Life for Chinese Americans is definitely a different experience. The pressure that is put on us to excel, and the unfamiliarity of the culture that differs from family life, truly presents us with a challenge. Though it sometimes is difficult, I look forward to every day and the new experience that comes with it.

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