My Journey of Acculturation: An Autoethnography

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Manesh, Mona
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Acculturation is a journey of change in which a person has to adjust and adapt from their known culture to a new culture. Writing and researching this autoethnographical paper has helped me to understand my own journey of acculturation—what I experienced as a young Iranian immigrant who came to Canada, and how this experience shaped me. This thesis explores how acculturation affects adolescents in particular. Adolescence is a time of transition and identity formation, and can be full of emotionality as one moves from childhood to adulthood. A drastic change of culture and environment can make this period even more challenging. Adolescents adapting to a new culture often face the additional conflict of choosing between the values and beliefs of the mainstream culture and their parents' values and traditions. Many adolescents are left feeling confused, torn between two cultures, and unsure where they belong. Acculturation leaves a lasting impact, and professionals who work with newcomers and immigrants at any stage of life need to be aware of the journey they are undergoing or have already taken. This thesis is an authoethnography based on my own experience of acculturation and its impact on my social, cultural,and psychological makeup. By sharing my personal account, I hope to contribute some insight into the social and psychological consequences of acculturation on adolescents, and to encourage others to share and learn about this experience, shared by many others in our ever-shifting world.