How to Write an Impressive Cultural Identity Essay

A cultural identity essay is usually a personal, reflective academic assignment that focuses on a student’s ethnic and/or cultural origin. While it does not presuppose a lot of research, a cultural identity essay is still a challenging task because it calls for creativity and some writing skills.

However, nothing is impossible — even if creative writing is not your major. Below, we will give you some writing tips and practical examples of how you can nail this paper and get an A+ you deserve.

Cultural identity essay: goals and definition

To make this paper easier for you, let’s start with a definition of a cultural identity essay. This kind of paper is supposed to express the feeling of belonging to a particular culture — through personal experience. As to its goals, the primary purpose of writing a cultural identity essay to evaluate a student’s place in the current community. Ideally, students are to find the balance between their ethnic origin and present-day environment. This, however, is a rather long-term goal. As for this essay’s short-term purposes, it is supposed to give an engaging description of one’s culture and traditions. Here are some of the many aspects this paper can focus on:

  •  Ethnic and national origin
  •  Language
  •  Traditions
  •  Geography: location, climate, etc.
  •  Religion
  •  History

Most of the time, a cultural identity essay will follow the same writing logic as any other academic assignment. It will include all the standard parts: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. However, since it is a personal paper, students are expected to write it from the first person. Also, it’s unlikely that your professor will request any sources.

Still, most cultural identity papers are formatted in MLA style and, as you may already know, its reference page is called “Works Cited.” As the name suggests, there should be in-text quotations in your essay so you may want to include a famous person’s quote to make sure every little formatting detail falls in the right place. This, however, is our suggestion — feel free to double-check with your professor and omit the Works Cited section altogether.

Ideas you may be discussing in a cultural essay

Sometimes, students think that writing an essay on a free topic (especially if the subject is themselves) is easier than researching a complex matter. The reality, however, is somewhat different. After all, you are to choose an angle that would be both personal and specific, engaging and meaningful — and both of these combinations are not so easy to achieve.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  •  A real-life experience that made you understand your ethnic background
  •  Any specific place that brings back important memories
  •  A figure who has helped you on a personal development path
  •  A tradition that conveys the gist of your culture
  •  A comparison between your country of origin and your current country

Basically, any notable cultural experience is a good subject for this kind of essay. If you’ve grown up in a foreign country, you can discuss how you remember your motherland. It’s even better if you recently traveled there — this way, you could compare your childhood memories and latest impressions. The same comparison can be great for students who’ve never been to their country of origin, but still had certain ideas about it.

However, you do not necessarily have to book a flight to write a cultural identity essay. In fact, you do not even have to come from a minority background. Any cultural experience that is personal has a place in this kind of essay. It can be trying to do something, failing, but gaining valuable experience. It can be about a person or an event that’s changed your perception of the world around you. Practically any lesson you learned from life is an excellent topic for a cultural identity essay.

Writing a cultural essay: time-saving tips

The first step to writing a winning essay is to carefully consider your subject and, of course, your thesis statement. In the particular case of a cultural identity essay, researching the subject before choosing a topic is not always an option. Here, it’s best to go the other way around and pick the subject first. After that, you might have to research a little bit more info to make your paper more detailed and credible.

Another tip is to come up with an outline for your essay before you start writing. This is an optional step, but it usually saves a lot of time in the writing process. You do not have to write a detailed outline. Making notes about your main arguments, their order, and the examples to support these arguments will do.

All in all, writing a cultural identity essay is not that different from most other academic assignments. Here, you start with an introduction, where you briefly describe the culture or the event you about to present. It’s always a nice idea to start an intro with a hook — an intriguing sentence that sets the tone for your paper. Its goal is to grab the readers’ attention and make them curious as to what is about to come. After that, you can present your topic and wrap the introduction up with a thesis statement.

Next, come the body paragraphs of your cultural identity essay. You can have as many of them as you need to convey your thoughts, but make sure you present one distinct idea per paragraph. Also, do not forget that all of your body paragraphs are parts of a larger story, so make sure there are logical transitions between them. Simply put, tell your story coherently.

Once you’re done, finish with a memorable conclusion. Sum up all the info you presented in your paper. In the case of a cultural identity paper, which is usually a creative writing task, you do not need to restate your main findings and ideas. Instead, you are to wrap your story up in a memorable — possibly even emotional — way. This leaves a good impression on your reader and usually results in a high grade.

Finally, do not forget to proofread your paper once you’re done. Ideally, you should not do it straightway — at least wait for a couple of hours or, better yet, come back to your work the next day. This way, you will notice not only each typo but also find style inconsistencies, if any. You may even ask a fellow student or someone else to proofread your paper, but take all suggestions with a grain of salt. After all, this is your work and your story. As you’re there, make sure to double-check for academic formatting requirements as well.

Need more help with a cultural identity essay?

Sometimes, such general advice is simply not enough because students are overload with assignments and cannot cope with all of them on their own. If this is your case, we’ll gladly offer you more practical assistance when it comes to writing and/or editing your paper. Our expert team has completed thousands of impressive assignments on a variety of topics. Written and edited by professional graduates in their niche subjects, our custom essays always get students high grades. Save yourself some time for subjects you feel passionate about and delegate some of the less exciting tasks to us!

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