ESL student says U.S, Kurdistan both have good and bad customs

Amal Albarwary

Editor’s Note: This is a continuation of our series of stories written by students in Grossmont’s English-as-a-Second-Language program comparing and contrasting U.S. customs with those in their native lands.

GROSSMONT COLLEGE–Every society has its own culture, and the cultures are a tradition of complex learned behavior patterns that translate from one generation to another. When we try to compare two different cultural behaviors, there are a lot of things that are similar and different between human beings.

I came from Kurdistan in northern Iraq which has traditions that are different from the United States. Each family has its own ideas on how to raise their kids with respect to older people. There are many things I like and dislike about both countries.  In the United States, I like women’s rights and freedom, but I dislike when girls have sexual relationships with guys before marriage, and one of things that I dislike about my country is when you kiss elderly people on their hands.

First, women have freedom and rights in the United States more than in my country, Kurdistan. In the United States, they have protection against violence and they have many rights after marriage especially when they have kids. Also, they have equal rights with men and many times the women have more rights than a man. Women in the United States always have the law to protect them if they get physically abused.  

Women’s lifestyles in the United States are different from Kurdistan, because women can travel alone, work with men, have friendships with men and do what they want to do without anybody interfering with their freedom and that is not the same in my country.

On the other hand, something I dislike in the United States is when girls have sexual relationships with a man before marriage .I think she should keep her virginity before marriage because she may not end up with the same person. Most of the time, a girl will lose her virginity, get pregnant, and have kids and then she becomes separated from that person, so she must take all the responsibility alone. Also, having a lot of sexual relationships may cause illnesses. As is the nature of a female, she is very sensitive, so she is emotionally affected when she has different relationships and can break down many times. In my country, the virginity of the girl is something very special, so she should keep it for someone who really loves her and gets married to her. For these reasons, I love this tradition in my country because it is something pure and honest.

One of things that I dislike about my culture is when you kiss elderly people’s hands. This tradition isn’t in the Arabic culture, but it is the Kurdish way and it is even a Turkish tradition. I grew up in a country that has a lot of respect for the elderly people, but I’m one of the people who dislikes this tradition because I think I put myself down to people who maybe don’t deserve that. I would rather give a hug than kiss their hand.

In conclusion, there are a lot of similarities and differences between all the cultures in this world, especially between my country Kurdistan, and the United States. I think women should have freedom and rights everywhere on this earth because women take more responsibility than men like having kids, raising them, and working inside and outside the house.  That is what I love so much in the United States. On In the other hand, women should respect this freedom and use it in the right way. So, I think a woman should protect herself from sex before marriage, because it has many negative effects on such a large part of her life. My country, Kurdistan, has many beautiful traditions which I love, but kissing hands is one thing that I have never liked.

Albarwary is a student in ESL 103