Beyond Borders #6: personal accounts exploring how identity is found when you are living between cultures

[Written by Maja Soomägi]

[Image by Elena Roselli and Aike Jansen]

Since the beginning of my life, I have been in a state of existing in between countries. On one side, a language without a direct translation of “please”. On the other side, a language with an abundance of vowels. When my grandmother calls me, we say hi in the same language. Opening phrases, how are you, I’m good how are you, same. But then it changes, and our mouths form different words, provides different sounds. She speaks to me in one language, I respond in another. Growing up, I never saw that as a weird thing. It was just everyday life, that my dad spoke to me in one language while I responded in another and laughed at my friends when they accidentally called my dad “dad” in a language they knew nothing about.

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Beyond Borders #2: personal accounts exploring how identity is found when you are living between cultures

[Written by Sophia Archontis]

[Image by Elena Roselli and Aike Jansen]

Being bicultural is a double-edged sword.

It feels ungrateful to say this, as biculturalism and bilingualism are definitely gifts: I can speak many languages and I find myself able to assimilate into multiple different cultures, feeling comfortable as I do. However, in spite of the cultural diversity I have gained, I find that I have lost my cultural identity – something that in others is innate never seems to have existed in me.

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Beyond Borders #1: personal accounts exploring how identity is found when you are living between cultures

[Written by Viva Gikaite]

[Image by Dalia Sara and Aike Jansen]

I don’t think there’s anything particularly interesting about my upbringing, despite its relative diversity. I was born in Lithuania, moved to the American Deep South as a baby and lived there until the age of 11 when my parents divorce and my mum’s desire to escape the States brought us to Scotland. (Scratch that, the fact that my mum was brave enough to start her life over in a new country with an adolescent daughter is pretty interesting. Snaps to mama. But not to me.)

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