Discovering My Culture

Seventeen years ago, my dad left his hometown of Adelaide, Australia to come to Shanghai to teach at YCIS. Within a year he met my mum, who’s from Shanghai, and soon after they got married. After some time, I was born in Shanghai, and I have lived here ever since. So, I’m half Australian and half Chinese, but I’ve lived in China my whole life. I’m surrounded by Chinese culture, but I’m always finding ways to connect with the Australian part of myself.

In Shanghai, there are many ways to learn about Australia’s culture. Even though my dad has lived in Shanghai for so many years, he still listens to the Australian news every day, and he always watches Australian Football League (AFL) games during the footy season. As I’ve gotten older, I have become more interested in AFL. I watch games with my dad and read books about it, expanding my knowledge. I even watched the grand final game with some friends in Shanghai. As we watched the game on TV, we talked about footy and cheered on our favourite teams and players. It was a lot of fun, and I learned so much about AFL. I may have never lived in Australia, but I’m still discovering its cultures here in Shanghai.

Another time I learned a lot about Australia was during the annual Global Child Day event at YCIS. There was an Australian booth where I helped out last year. In participating in this event, not only did I learn more about the country, but I was also able to teach other kids who came to the booth about Australia. We did temporary tattoos, aboriginal paintings, and the funniest thing of all was letting people try Vegemite. Vegemite is an Australian paste that people spread on bread and toast. It has a really strong taste so some people don’t like it, but lots of Aussies love it. When I was younger, my dad tried to get me to like it. Now, I don’t think it’s that bad. In the booth, we had Vegemite, and we let people taste it. Some people liked it, but a lot of people made funny faces when they ate it. I loved teaching kids about my other culture, as it also helped me learn more about it myself.

Usually, during Christmas, my family and I go to Australia and celebrate with my dad’s side of the family. I love going to Adelaide! I go to the beach, we barbecue, and we catch up with friends and family. Last Christmas, I played a game of cricket for the first time. Even though I am half Australian, I’m not really the same as my Aussie friends. A lot of Aussies think I’m American because of my non-Australian accent, and I don’t understand a whole lot of Australian terms. But it’s always fun when my friends talk in an Australian accent and use slang terms, as over time I can learn more and more about the amazing culture of the country I am from.

By Jaymee, Year 8, YCIS Pudong Secondary.

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