Who Am I? Questions of Identity Abroad

Identity is such a fascinating thing. My identity is constantly changing, no matter how subtly, in response to my life experiences. This time abroad has the potential to be one of the biggest times of change for my personal identity, as being in such a foreign place encourages me to be more aware of who I am.

Already, I find my world lens widening as I am exposed to Danish culture and have the opportunity to examine my own life in America from another perspective. For example, long conversations with a 18-year old boy and a 24-year-old boy have pointed out cultural differences in areas such as the drinking culture, high school and college social scene, religion, parenting style, and law enforcement in Denmark and the United States. Of course, I have always held my own opinions on the things I’ve encountered in my life in the United States, but it’s hard to not find my viewpoint changed after talking with people from another country and such a different background.

I am also realizing that the way I present myself to most Danes here is different than I would present myself to Americans. For instance, because there is such a language barrier, I can only talk to Danes up to a certain level. Because of this, I am only showing a part of who I am. I am altering the way I behave and what I talk about around others so that we are able to understand each other. While the limits on communication can make life a bit lonely sometimes, I have luckily met some Danes who speak English very well and have also made some American friends.

This blog is also an extension of my identity. Unless someone already knows me well, readers of this blog will only know me from the information I share. I am controlling my own identity, and only exposing the experiences I deem relevant or appropriate for a class blog.

This blog will serve to immortalize a part of my identity while I am here in Denmark. Even long after I am gone from this country, I will be able to look back on my posts here and see who I was when I was 21 years old and living in Europe. I will be able to see how I changed from the beginning of my time here to when I leave to go back to the United States. Now, my only question is, how will I be different when I leave?

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