With dual nationality, multiple cultures collide

Shannon Coan, Staff Reporter

Two languages. Two sides of the world. Two nationalities. Multicitizens aplenty study their own cultures here at Sequoia.

“I’m pretty proud to have these different aspects to my culture,” said junior Karen Dooley, a French, Swiss and Irish citizen with an American green card. “I really like speaking two languages and being able to affiliate with several different groups.”

Multicitizens benefit from easier travel due to having multiple passports, can own property in multiple countries and can vote in multiple elections.

“I can travel anywhere in Europe with the Irish passport, so that makes travel easy,” junior Cailey Horan, a dual American and Irish citizen, said. “If something were to happen, and I needed to go somewhere, I could just go and move to Irelandit would be fairly simple.”

However, having multiple citizenships can cause multiplied taxation, and restrictions for certain government jobs and obligations, such as required military service. It can also create emotional strain.

“Sometimes I feel like I belong to both places and sometimes I feel like I’m misplaced. When I’m here I have that feeling that I belong and that I don’t belong at the same time,” World Language Department Chair Belen Alvarez said, a dual Spanish and American citizen. “It’s very weird, but normally being close to two cultures, I think, is a very positive thing—even though, at one point, I may have these feelings of where do I belong.”

For a multicitizen having multiple different coinciding cultures can cause some split feelings about which side they embrace for different aspects of life.

“My parents always taught me to not go too far into one so that you have a connection to both because it’s who you are. You can’t truly be just Mexican or American, you’re both, so you have to embrace both,” said sophomore Gerryk Madrigal Ayala, a Mexican and American citizen.

With having multiple cultures that one embraces comes the question of how one identifies themselves. A “hyphenated identity”, such as Irish-American, is often used; however, it suggests that one is only part of each culture and has been historically used as a derogatory term. Others pick one. Ultimately it is up for each individual to decide how they identify themselves.

“I’d say I’m an American, but I like being Irish,” Horan said. “It goes back to how much time you’ve spent somewhere. Yes, I’ve spent time in Ireland, but I’ve not grown up in their education system or spent a full year there and seen all of the seasons and all parts of life there. It’s more been vacation.”

Many governments dislike granting dual citizenships because of the problems and national security issues it creates. Currently dual citizens are facing unusual levels of disdain because of aggravated international relations and terrorist threats.

However, multicitizens recognize the value in their unique position.  

“If you have two cultures, embrace both.” Madrigal Ayala said. “You get more of the world. You get to enjoy more. You have more stories to tell. You have more things to express yourself with. ”