Compare Armenian kids/teens/adults with Armenians living in America
Living in a foreign land is differs from living in ones motherland. This is attributed by the fact some element of culture, customs, social control, as well as peer pressure are varies from one group of people to another within the same or from different geographical backgrounds. At the same time, religious believes, the education system, the language spoken, are some of the other factors that may vary in as one visits another country. This being the case, the Armenians living in Armenia and Armenians living in the US have some common differences that can be seen upon observing the two groups. This does not mean that there exists no similarities between the two groups. A fact worth noting is that any change of geographical location is likely to affect one’s cultural aspect or view, since one assumes the new place as his domicile, thus coping to adapt to the new culture found among the people in that society. This is especially so when one moves from other places including Armenia to America where westernization took root long time ago and the people believes in themselves having a define culture. The Armenians came to America because of various reasons including joining their parents, as refugees, whereas others came to look for greener pastures. Whether teens, kids or adult, it is expected that certain behavioral and physiological changes will be experienced in the foreign country distinct from those of the native country. This being the case, to understand such differences and similarities, this paper will aim at identifying the reasons behind Armenians moving to the USA, their settings and livelihood as compared to those still living system in their home country Armenia.
As a rule, there is a tendency of the adolescent category to develop autonomy and become less willing to obey their parents, or follow their advice. As adolescents are concerned, some issues regarding dating, curfews and going out to have fun with friends, as well as time spent with the family and college choices are some of the issues may differentiate the two groups of Armenians (Kouyoumdjian 1-6). From the research done, it is evident that American Armenians develop autonomies as they grow towards adulthood. This idea of autonomy is not accepted in a native Armenian context where the kids and youths are expected to adhere to family rules. To get a clearer understanding of the Armenians and the American Armenians, it is important to understand each community.
The Armenian-American population started streaming to America in the early 1800s. As a result of the genocide that occurred in their home country in the 1900s. Another wave of the Armenians migrated to America as a result of displacement in the Middle East having been entrepreneurs there. The last batch of the Armenians migrants came as a result of the conflict, natural disasters, and political turmoil that rocked their country. As a result of this, the migrants came to the united stated with little or no wealth. It is worth noting also that the migration was not by choice, but as a result of the circumstances. It is estimated that in America, the number of Armenians ranges between 600,000 and 800,000 persons, making it the largest group of the Armenians to live outside their home country. In terms of classification in the United States, they are regarded as “white” or the hidden minority. This fact has helped them integrate easily with the American community as they face minimal challenges during migration and stay in the United States.
The immigrating parents and children to the United States, though, face numerous challenges as they try to adapt to the new environment. One of the challenges is that of language barrier. It has to be noted that the original and native Armenians don’t speak English as their first language. The mother tongue of the majority of the population in Armenia is the Armenian language (Bakalian 307). Though most of the third generation people speak English and Greek, the older generation is said to have been speaking the Ottoman Turkish (Hadjilyra and Alexander 309). Considering this fact as true, it is therefore evident that the Armenians in the United States are more likely to face language barrier especially when English is their second language. This fact indicates that the Armenians in America are more likely to learn English in order to communicate effectively with their American counterparts more than the Armenians in Armenia. This fact also indicates the differences between the two countries whereby those living in America are more likely to embrace the English culture than the Armenians in Armenia.
At the same time, the unfamiliarity of the Armenians with the education system of the United States poses as a barrier to the new immigrants. It has to be noted that like other countries, the education system varies from region to region. The education system practiced in Armenia is different from that of the US. This being the case, there exists a big challenge for the Armenians to embrace and fully and comprehend with the American system. As the kids grow, they get to understand the way the education system operates and therefore get to “be in the system”. Understanding the American system indicates that there are many things, topics and approaches that are going to be employed distinct from the Armenian system. This being the case, a difference between the two groups does emerges whereas one is studying the American system while the other functions with the Armenian setting.
Adapting to a new environment can also lead to culture shocks. The Armenians visiting the United States for the first time are likely to experience this kind of shock and in return develop psychological distress. The teens may find it difficult to relate with the Americans effectively. This is likely to bring psychological distress to the immigrants as they devise strategies to communicate with the Americans and other races found in America. Such an issue could not have happened could the immigrants had stayed in their own countries since there would be no language barrier or culture shock. The net effect of this is that the teen or kid becomes psychologically imbalanced and may therefore perform poorly when compared to the American kids. This would not have been the case could it have been the Armenian system. All these challenges do not imply that the Armenians are failures in America. In most cases it only applies to the immigrants who arrives most recent and is trying to adapt to the American system. All in all the second and third generations of the Armenians in the American system are outgoing and well adaptive to the system. Those children and adolescent who were born within the American system are in most cases well equipped with the traditions, culture of the American people and therefore pose no danger when they engage with the other white kids. This being the case, the Armenian who have stayed in America is likely to portray very unique traits as compared to an Armenian who still stays in their home country.
The high population of the Armenians in America has enabled them to be teaching Armenians in their schools, beside English. This fact confirms the similarities between the two groups whereby they all embraces their culture and have gone ahead to teach their children education setting. This fact does not lead to the idea that the Armenian system is welcomed or practiced in the American system. Far from it is the fact that the American system only recognizes its set educational format, that is practiced across the board and any person wishing to enjoin in the system must understand how it functions.
Though most of the Armenian living in America tries as much as they could to maintain their traditions, the western culture and especially that of the American. It goes without saying that for an individual to survive in a given place, they must either collaborate or repel the existing culture and introduce their own culture, this being the case understanding the culture of the Armenians would help differentiate it with the American culture. If two Armenians were observed while working; one with an Armenian culture while the other with an American culture, differences would be noticed. In terms of conversation, the Americans tend to be truthful in that they say speak their mind. The American “do not beat about the bush” when they are explaining themselves. If the answer is no, the American would plainly indicate so. This is unlike the Armenians who tend to use indirect communication and do not exactly and directly say what they mean. From the Armenian perspective, it is the responsibility of the person receiving instruction or listening to deduce the meaning out of the context. Having grown in America means that one may only understand the Armenia from turkey or that from Russia; depending on the language spoken. This therefore may become difficult for an Armenia living in America when in Armenia.
Another difference that can be noticed between the two groups is the aspect of doing things. From observation and in comparison with the American standards, the Armenians from Armenia never seem to be in a hurry to work or to travel. From observation, it can be viewed that the Armenians are late everywhere they go and as a culture, it is understood that such a happening may occur. It therefore follows that when an Armenian books an appointment with a given CEO, it is generally expected that there may be time lag and therefore will not arrive as expected. For example, an Armenian may be on a journey to a particular place but on the way meets a friend. Instead of excusing themselves and proceed, they would most likely sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee before proceeding with the journey. The culture employed by the Armenians living in America is completely different because such a scenario would be considered unethical and rude in the American context. It has to be noted that in America, when an American talks of 3.00 pm appointment, they mean it and they will be at the venue by then.
Most of the Armenians are past oriented and live in villages. They are therefore behind the technological advancement unlike the Armenian American who have been subjected to technological excellence. It also has to be noted of the questions mostly posed by the Armenians. Because of their past experiences, they notably ask a stranger where he is from. This is different from the Armenians living in America whose culture has been integrated into the US culture thereby taking the assumption that they all have one culture. In America, the culture has taught them to ask what one does and in most cases, where one comes from is not an issue.
Concerning the social roles and changes, the family structure according to the traditional Armenia was based on the patriarchal system whereby the fathers used to pass on their names, their identity as well as their assets. This format is present even today in the present Armenia whereby the roles of both men and women are highly differentiated and many families tend to live in one roof as an extended family. Such a situation happened to the Armenians when they migrated to the united stated, but after the second and third generation of Armenians which was more elite, professional and advanced, such trends were considered less important. The modern Armenian in the US therefore has a structure similar to that of the contemporary American family. Modernization has impacted the Armenians living in the United States to the extent that the traditional roles accorded to gender matters no more, in the contemporary society. Both men and women are considered to have equal roles and are therefore able to work and engage in professionalism and business as their male counterparts.
What is similar though between the two groups is that they still believe in the nuclear family as the basis of raising children. They also value education and the maintenance of ethnic identity. Grandparents who may be alive and present in the contemporary times are viewed as important linkages with the past which explains their native land of Armenia. The children born of these people are therefore seen as valuable family members. Another thing worth noting between the two groups is the fact that they both share and commemorate religious festivals as well as the commemoration of disasters that happened in Armenia (Aghajanian 68).
Whether born in America or immigrated to America, there is a difference in opinion as to whether the Armenian language ought to be retained. To the foreign born Armenians; mostly from the Middle East, Armenian language should be maintained, this view is sharply contrasted by the American born Armenians who advocate for individualized choice in identity and community participation. This being the case, it can be understood that the American born Armenians are less concerned with their native language and would prefer the universal American language, unlike the Armenians living in Armenia who would otherwise fight for the retention of their language.
Differences are many between a typical Armenian and an American born Armenia. Despite that fact that many of them are taught on how to uphold their language, the second and third generation of the American born Armenian hardly know how to read and write the Armenian language (Bakalian 307). More to this, the Armenians born in America do not consider the Armenian language as their mother tongue. This therefore makes it difficult to maintain the generational culture of upholding the language. Majority of the Armenians, despite the fact that they understand the language would use other language apart from Armenian to communicate. This may be prompted by the fact that America assumes a monolingual system and therefore to achieve the American dream, one has to follow suit and speak the American language. This fact does not eliminate the fact that there are still those American born Armenians who speak their native language to communicate.
Since Armenia is the official language in Armenia, it would be impossible to hear Armenians living in their native country speaking English. This fact therefore differentiates the American born and the native born Armenians. The native born is proud of the mother tongue spoken since is generally acceptable and understood by almost all the population but the American born may not like the idea. The language is taught in school and therefore small children and teens are able to communicate effectively, a situation that is difficult with the American born Armenians.
Despite the fact that the Armenians were assimilated into the American culture, they still maintains some of their cultural and religious norms (Barkan and Ellio 729). Though not always, the Armenian have greatly encouraged their people to marry within their culture and affiliation. Both groups have been able to keep up with their religious beliefs. This has enabled them to be able to follow their religious festivals including not ordaining women to be priests (Keller, Rosemary, Rosemary, and Marie 518-522).
A challenge worth noting is the empowerment of the Armenian women in America (Aghajanian 66). The over 600 years that Armenians were under the ottomans regime, they were subject to being discriminated, persecuted, and being murdered. This forced many of them to flee from their homes and seek for solace from other places. This being the case, women were left as home engineers though they rarely veered far away from their homes for fear of being victimized. When the fled to America, they therefore had the opportunity to follow the American vision. Despite the fact that they faced challenges being immigrants and first generation citizens, they are now able to pursue economic opportunities and to support their families (Lownes, Millicent, and Retta 86). This fact may not be so in Armenia as the culture has not been fully supportive of women becoming entrepreneurs.
In conclusion, it is evident that those Armenians who were born in America takes a different view on their culture and language as compared to the native born. One fact remains clear though, that the American born Armenians have been assimilated into the American culture and therefore have different opinions as pertains to families, social settings, role of women among other issues (Bakalian, Anny 2). This being the case, the different perception have resulted top the two groups having different opinions and outlook. Despite this fact, both groups have been able to have similar views especially in religious festivals and the commemoration of the disasters that occurred in their native land. Some notable differences between the two groups include the fact that the third generation immigrants or the native born Armenians are not able to communicate properly with their native people since language is becoming a barrier. The American system employs the use of English, while Armenia people uses the Armenia language. At the same time, it would be difficult for the contemporary American born citizens to be able to read and write in Armenia since they have ben assimilated in the American culture.
Aghajanian, Ani Derderian. “Roots and Routes: Road from Home to America, Middle East and Diaspora, about Being Armenian Genocide Female Survivor.”International Education Studies 4.3 (2011): p66.
Bakalian, Anny P. Armenian-americans: From Being to Feeling Armenian. New Brunswick (U.S.A.: Transaction Publishers, 1992. Print.
Barkan, Elliott R. Immigrants in American History: Arrival, Adaptation, and Integration. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2013. Print.
Hadjilyra, Alexander-Michael. The Armenians of Cyprus. Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra, 2009.
Keller, Rosemary S, Rosemary R. Ruether, and Marie Cantlon. Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006. Print.
Kouyoumdjian, Claudia. Autonomy Development Among Armenian Adolescents: The Roles of Assertion, Compliance, and Negotiation with Parental Rules and Expectations. Santa Barbara, Calif.: University of California, Santa Barbara, 2008. Internet resource.
Lownes-Jackson, Millicent, and Retta Guy. The Economic Empowerment of Women: A Global Perspective. Informing Science. Print