Difficulties with my National Identity (Diane Cantillano)

I would say my national identity is kind of complex to begin with. My parents are both from Honduras, and I was born in San Diego, California. I think although my American nationality is important, my Honduran ethnicity is prominent and important as well. I also think that it also makes for my experience with reactions or treatment in Ireland a little different from others. I know that sometimes people would react with surprise when I would say I was from the United States. Some Spanish people said that most of the Americans they would meet would usually spout out the city or state they were from and express surprise when the people didn’t know where that place was located in the US. For me, since I have talked to people in the United States about my family being from Honduras, and them not knowing where the country was located, I always feel that I shouldn’t expect people to just “know” where I’m from. A lot of people, when they heard I was from Wisconsin, tended to talk about family they had in Wisconsin, beer, cheese, and of course, That’s 70’s Show. Most of the experiences I had were pretty positive, but I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I would interact with people in a more in depth way, in my own way sliding past the stereotypes and letting people know that there’s more to me than being an American, but that I was an American, and that doesn’t always mean negative things. Many people had differing opinions on Americans, but nobody let it get in the way of getting to know me.

Diane Cantillano is studying abroad at the National University of Ireland – Galway in Galway, Ireland.

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