As soon as I immigrated to the United States, I was immediately faced with cultural barriers. Specifically, I found it hard to adapt to speaking English. What’s more, I discovered that Americans expressed themselves differently from Koreans. For example, in Korea, if the teacher made a mistake, we would patiently wait until they figured it out on their own or hint it to them. In America, students would not hesitate in pointing out their teacher’s mistakes for the purpose of moving on efficiently in class. These types of cultural differences were at times too challenging to overcome, and this would continue being a daily obstacle for me until I started playing the violin in 4th grade.
I’ve learned that through music, I am able to express and convey myself, breaking through whatever cultural or linguistic barrier there may be. In the recording attached, the three pieces I played were Despacito by Luis Fonsi, Dynamite by BTS, and Unravel by Toru Kitajima, which are Spanish, Korean, and Japanese songs respectively. Whether a listener is fluent in those languages or not, I firmly believe that the beautiful expressions of the music were able to reach out to them.
While the specific example I used is music, I believe that interactions between two cultures can happen even when two people don’t speak the same language. Understanding this, I’ve been trying to apply this knowledge little-by-little in real life. For example, whenever I see an immigrant friend at my school face confusion or see an elderly lady at the local supermarket have trouble communicating, I always try my best to help. I hope to continue this process of meeting different people with diverse cultures while leaping across whatever cultural barriers or obstacles we may face.