Sample Identity Essays

“Even though my family moved to the United States a decade ago, I feel my belonging to China and its traditions.”

It can be a line from another cultural identity essay. It is similar to the reflective paper. If you have never faced a need to write this type of academic assignment, a cultural identity essay example and some useful tips discussed in this article will help.

After reading this informative post, if you still feel like having no idea how to organize your homework assignment on a specific topic, contact professional online writers and editors to lend a helping hand.


Cultural Identity Essay: Definition & Goals

Define the term before writing the paper. A cultural identity essay is a type of creative or academic writing that expresses the feeling of belonging to a particular culture attributed to the growing up and becoming a separate person with its personality. It provides a human with the sense of identification with the certain nationality, customs, and traditions. An essay about cultural identity should focus on several elements:

  • Nationality
  • Language
  • Location
  • Gender
  • History
  • Religion

An essay of this type has a structure similar to other common types of academic essays. The difference is in the topic. Unlike the basic types of academic assignments such as argumentative or persuasive essays, a student should use the 1st person when writing. A teacher will not ask for any sources in most cases – the paper is about describing personal experience, feelings, emotions, skills, and knowledge of the student. No extra research is required unless a student lacks specific skills like writing or formatting.

The format is MLA in most cases because an essay about cultural identity is the part of English Language & Literature class, which follows the formatting guidelines offered by The Modern Language Association.

A student may include some in-text citations to illustrate his native land. A teacher will appreciate the usage of any sources of famous writers describing the culture & traditions of the discussed land. However, including any citations along with references is optional.

Cultural Essay: Example of Ideas to Discuss

The topic of assignment may seem narrow. In fact, there are 5 things a student can choose from when working on an essay on cultural identity:

  1. A real-life experience
  2. The product of author’s imagination
  3. A location connected to the author’s memories or specific object
  4. An influential figure
  5. A place that matters
  6. A most memorable tradition

A student can describe how he/she gained community appreciation after running some campaign aimed to protect the rights of rare local animals. Another good idea is to share experience after visiting a national holiday. You can describe a location where you have learned everything about the domestic dishes including the ways to cook them and lay the table. Talking about something a person used to fail is a good idea. The worst experience may turn out the most valuable life lesson if the writer presents it in a positive light. One more nice idea is to describe the important person from the native land who has shown the importance of obeying customs & traditions of the native land.

Minor facts such as outdoor activities a writer were involved in being little child matter in the cultural identity essay. The thought process behind developing a powerful paper of this type is called a cultural identity theory, which means identifying one with the group of humans he/she used to grow with.

After selecting the topic and creating an outline, come up with a title.


How to Start an Essay on Cultural Identity

To begin with, select a good topic for an essay. Experts recommend choosing a topic, which is conversant with to help with following the content and presenting the ideas in a clear manner. If the teacher tells to pretend a student is someone else and write the story based on the life of another person of a different nationality, the research will come in handy. In other situations, skip the research step.

Professional Advice:

“Organize the ideas after deciding on the topic. Start with the brainstorming with other students and parents – the aged people possess the widest knowledge of customs & traditions. Write down the most interesting ideas on a separate paper. After introducing the topic to the target audience, finish the introduction with the powerful thesis statement, which is the main argument of the whole writing.

A thesis statement can be broad in the cultural identity essay example. Example:

“Cultural identity determines every new aspect of an individual inwards and outwards.”
The body should focus on exploring the meaning of this thesis.”

Monica Brainy, an academic writer at WriteMyPaper4Me

Developing Body Paragraphs

Make it a standard 5-paragraph essay. While some of the paragraphs can be lengthy, others can be short – ensure switching between the sentences of different size to make it easier to read. The paragraphs should be of the near the same length. A planning stage which results in the essay outline will help to follow the logic and include every necessary thought retrieved during the process of brainstorming. Keep in mind the following:

  1. Start each body paragraph with a cohesive argument
  2. Provide some evidence based on real-life examples or sources
  3. Connect the ideas into one whole using transitions

Did you get stuck in the middle of the writing process? Learn what mistakes to avoid in essay writing here.

Cultural Identity Essay Example Extract

“I was born in rural California, but my family moved to New York City before I reached the age of 10. My mother is 100% Albanian and comes from a Mormon family that identifies powerfully with the culture and traditions of Albania – a land, which is full of mystery and secrets to the US citizens. My dad is a British guy, who was adopted by the poor American family. Our family lived in a nice middle-sized private house in a suburb of Los Angeles. I am the single child in a family, but I wish I had some brothers or sisters as I used to feel lonely until the age of 7. While my dad is atheist despite most of the British people obey Orthodox religion, my mother is 100% Mormon, and she raised me following the strict rules and mal principles.”

Thanks to the essay example, a student may realize how to handle a paper of this type. From one side, every student can describe his childhood. Form the other side; it is not that easy to focus on the main problem. If you wish someone to write a brilliant essay about cultural identity, reach a professional academic writing service offered by the people of different nations who know everything about writing a good reflection paper for your English Composition class.

In discussing essay possibilities with Yvonne, I encouraged her to accent her heritage, perky spirit, and obviously good sense of humor. She chose to bring out these elements in a statement that reflects her respect of family, cultural tradition, and some of those awkward moments from our youth that we’d rather forget. As you read her words, you can almost picture her in the midst of the scenes she paints. This is quality writing.

* * * *
Banana Girl

I reached for a fish ball (my favorite), wedging the chopsticks tightly between my fingers. I felt a little clumsy leaning toward that center dish. The dinner wasn’t all that formal, but I was trying to make a good impression. Then suddenly, my hand-eye coordination failed.

Ten pairs of eyeballs watched in horror as my precious little fish ball squirted out the side of my sticks and bounced onto the table. In what seemed like one of those slow-motion dream sequences from the movies, I watched the little sphere leave a telltale trail of sauce as it rolled determinedly toward the table’s edge. I tried to be cool. “No big deal,” I thought, as I quietly tried to scoop it with my chopsticks. When that failed, I tried a stab, which only pushed it farther away.

I quickly tried to cover my embarrassment by plastering a bright smile on my ever-reddening face. My father, who was witnessing this dining mini-drama, deftly secured the little ball and, with skill and grace, deposited it into my bowl. “Hmm,” he muttered with a sigh, “‘Can’t even use chopsticks.” A woman next to him joked, “A Chinese girl who can’t use chopsticks?!” Other guests bit their lips, trying to suppress their laughter. As I pondered this unlikely scene, I couldn’t fault their amusement. After all, it was remarkable how un-Chinese I had become.

My friends call me “Banana Girl”: Yellow skin on the outside and white on the inside. At times, I think I’m not Asian anymore, such as during the fish-ball incident. A while ago, my mother sagely predicted that it wouldn’t be long before hamburgers and pizza would be a big part of my diet (they already represent two of my four daily food groups). “No problem for me,” I said. I was okay with that. “Nothing wrong with being ‘Americanized’,” I thought. What people don’t understand is that, although I am well adapted to America’s culture, I still greatly respect Chinese traditions.

When my great-grandmother died this past summer, we couldn’t attend her funeral due to financial difficulties. Her death was unexpectedly sudden. So, out of respect for her and our Chinese heritage, we created our own funeral ceremony at home. My mother and I went to our local Chinese market and bought a number of items made of paper (aprons, plates, and other household goods). We even got some Chinese paper money. Then my mother got out her large cooking pot and we went into the back yard and put all the paper items (even the money) into the pot and began burning them.

Chinese, especially the Cantonese people, believe that after a person dies, they move on to another life where they still need practical things like money and clothes. The only way the dead can receive these items is if their relatives gather and burn them, sending them into the air as smoke. After we completed the ceremonial burning, we prepared a feast in remembrance of my great-grandmother. This meal is a kind of symbolic “last supper” with the deceased.

I find the tradition both elegant and comforting. As part of the ceremony, I held up three burning sticks and bowed toward the flaming pot. It was a way to say goodbye and pay respect. Technically, it doesn’t make much sense because I bowed to the pot, not to my great-grandmother. I didn’t think it was weird at all. I understand and respect that tradition. It is intended to assure that the dead are well provide for. I understand that many traditions aren’t logical. It doesn’t matter to me, though, because I embrace my Chinese heritage.

I’m pretty sure that I’ll probably never master the skill of picking up food with two wooden sticks. In fact, I greatly prefer knives, forks, and spoons. Throughout my cultural transition, though, I’ve learned that adapting to one culture hasn’t “erased” my original identity or my traditional background. I am blessed to have had the advantage of living in and understanding two vastly different cultures. I’m certain that that this diverse perspective will not only help me adapt to the challenges of college life but also bring an element of difference and freshness to my future college friendships. Please remember one thing, though: If fish balls are ever on the dining hall menu, just hand “Banana Girl” a fork!

* * * *

The lesson here for essay writers is to look around your everyday lives carefully. Scenes like those immortalized here in “Banana Girl” happen all the time. The key to success is mustering the writing skills necessary to articulate these little dramas, elevating them to the status of a significance window into who you are and how you think.

TIP: Keep a journal in which you make notes of interesting happenings such as the “fish-ball” dinner party. When it’s time to write your college application essays, you’ll have a treasury filled with all kinds of real-life anecdotes waiting to be turned into winning essays just like “Banana Girl.”

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