CULTURE

Bicultural Bliss: 10 Benefits of Biculturalism

Bicultural Bliss: 10 Benefits of Biculturalism

I was reading a post from Multilingual Living and I couldn’t help but smile.  I loved Corey’s “10 Reasons Why You Should Marry a Foreigner“!  I can’t say that every point on the list fits our relationship, but there are for sure some great points about our bicultural marriage that make it incredibly endearing.

My favorite point from the article, of course…”He thinks I’m fascinating“…this is by far one of the best qualities of bicultural relationships.  There is so much to discover about each other and so many interesting talking points because of the differences that exist between you.  Beyond the unending exploration of each other’s cultures, religions, food, music, etc….here are my top 10 things that I love about my bicultural vida!

10. Skills
Trust me, there’s a load of things you never thought that you could do or find opportunities to try, but add another culture to the mix and you can bet you’re bound to discover hidden talents!  Couldn’t cook before?  Suegra will teach you right!  No idea how to dance cumbia, you can bet you’ll be a pro by the time you’re hitched!  Ever wanted to learn a second language, here’s your chance!  A bicultural lifestyle creates many unique opportunities for learning!

9. Friendship
Participating in more diverse arenas means that you have more opportunities to discover friends who can relate to you and your family.  You meet people you never would have had the chance to before…or might have been uncomfortable to approach on your own.  More diversity in your friendships equals more chances to find that amazing comadre that was lingering out there, just waiting to meet up with you!

8. Diversity
Being bicultural means there’s more variety available in just about everything in your life…from new foods, to jams that make you dance like never before, to clothes with more style and comfort than you’ve ever known and just flat out a ton of sabor flying at you from all angles!  For me, it was ‘bye bye assimilation’…’hello acculturation’!  ;)

7. Travel
Family trips take on a whole new meaning for biculturals.  It isn’t just a tourist outing, it’s an opportunity for learning, catching up with family and connecting with your heritage.  Travel is something that is often seen as a must, rather than a maybe.  We need those important connections and often times travel is the best method.

6. Awareness
Being bicultural partners means that we complete each others learning.  He taps me into the things that matter most to him and I connect him to my concerns.  Our combined interests of entirely different topics increases global awareness in our home.

5. Traditions
We can pick and choose any we want, make up new, mix and match…whatever we want!  I love the freedom and fresh ideas that come with experiencing multiple cultures in your home!  Being bicultural brings more choices to the plate and allows you to create some very unique family traditions that speak to your combined heritage!

4. Parenting
Multicultural/bicultural parenting makes you a stronger, more open minded parent.  I don’t take things as a given anymore.  We were both raised very differently and with a plethora of values.  This means increased awareness and more consideration in much of the decision making as parents.

3. Familia
Love having family that’s always got your back?  For many bicultural familias, the bonds with in-laws are often stronger than with our own families.  Nothing better than having that bond!  You’ll never be alone again…literally!  ;)

2. Faith
Biculturals often celebrate different faiths.  Believe it or not, schooling our spouse and their family on our spiritual background helps us to become stronger and more appreciative of our own faith.  It also allows us the opportunity to be more understanding of a diversity of faiths, especially that of our spouse.

1. Love
Nothing helps you to appreciate love more than having to grow and change in order to cultivate it.  We grow our knowledge of each other’s cultural preferences, vulnerabilities and strengths.  We bend to each others diverse needs and find understanding about a variety of perspectives that we previously might have been blind to.  Finding unique traits of strength in our spouse only adds to the love.

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  • @jenmardunc
    May 16, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    I love this list, Chantilly! You are so right!

    • Chantilly Pati&ntild
      May 16, 2011 at 8:30 pm

      Thank you Jen!  Your post was part of my inspiration.  :)

  • Ezzy Guerrero-Languz
    May 17, 2011 at 6:26 am

    I love this list Chantilly and this statement, in particular: "For me, it was ‘bye bye assimilation’…’hello acculturation’!" This is the beauty to be found in embracing other cultures, growing our minds outside of what's familiar. Enrichment. Expanded world-view. Language! I also don't believe one has to be bicultural or biracial to embrace and appreciate this mindset … does that make sense?

    My husband's family is from Southern Italy and I feel blessed that they received me as a daughter into their family. They never made me once feel like an outsider, or that I was "less than," because I wasn't Italian. Same when I visited his family in Italy; I never wanted to leave! Maybe it's because their culture's values on family, mirrored mine so closely that we connected so well?

    My heart breaks every time I hear of the struggles, criticisms, other couples endure because their family's aren't so open-minded (enlightened).

    Thank you for writing about this and for reminding me of all the reason's I've been blessed. *hug*

    • Chantilly Pati&ntild
      May 27, 2011 at 10:46 pm

      Thanks Ezzy!  I wish everyone could have a bicultural marriage…lol!  Every day is a learning experience.  I'm so glad that you've been accepted.  I know what that feels like because I had it for a short while…most definitely an experience to treasure!  I would love to hear more about your experiences with your in-laws!  Maybe on MF?!  ;)

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  • Diana
    September 6, 2012 at 10:58 am

    hi Chantilly! i love your list and would add FOOD (though i guess that could go under traditions but i love food so for me it would be a separate category! lol)

    my hubby is French and that is what i miss most about France, and what i love when my inlaws come, my MIL makes some delicious French food!!

  • Lori D. Nolasco
    July 24, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Ezzy,my multicultural marriage is the mirror image of yours: I am the one who is of Italian descent (my great-grandmother was Neapolitan). My husband's Dominican family always showed unconditional love. Not only did they never make me feel "less than" as you put it, but every time Ramón and I have an argument, his older brother and his son always jump to my defense!

    You mention the values being similar. I think this is what helped my parents accept and love a Dominican son-in-law. My father was the son of Italian immigrants and knew no English when he went to school, so he was forced to assimilate.He is 76 years old and there was no such thing as bilingual education back then. He understands how difficult it is to learn a second language so it does not bother him that my husband knows very little English. The strong work ethic is something they have in common.

    I never want to leave the Dominican Republic, either.