Grant Wasson Psychology 303 Dollinger Multicultural Panel (extra credit) 9-15-04 Adolescence is a confusing, exciting, and informative time in a persons life. Although, adolescence hasnt always been recognized as being very significant, it definitely is today. It wasnt until about the 50s or 60s when adolescents started to have their own culture and say in the world. Adolescence is certainly different for people all over the world. On last Thursday in class I learned about these differences as well as similarities between that of adolescents from different countries. Five women shared their adolescent history with the class. I was hoping to hear about adolescence from a male perspective, but these women were easy to relate to. I enjoyed hearing the differences and similarities between adolescents in America and other parts of the world. An interesting point also made was that all five women had attended or are attending SIU. To start off we have Nayeli Chavez, a woman from Mexico who described her hometown to be very traditional where girls are raised to cook, clean, sew, and basically become housewives. Nayeli wanted more out of the world though. Coming from a large family including nine siblings, Nayeli had a hard time trying to learn. Her mother and brothers were very much against her going to college. Most children in Mexico maybe go to school for a year or two and then go on to work. Nayeli said that only the rich can go to school. About adolescence Nayeli informed the class that at fifteen years old in Mexico the family formally celebrates the age of adolescence. Nayeli said that when finished at SIU she will return to Mexico to be a child psychologist. Another woman, Dr. Meera Komarraju from India informed us that in India adolescence is not a very pleasing time for a woman. When a girl reaches physical maturity in India they are heavily protected and are expected to cover their bodies. Marriages are arranged, although Dr. Meera did not give into this practice. She found someone at SIU. As a teenager in India life was frustrating. Her brothers could go out at night but she was not allowed. When talking of any formal significance of adolescence in India Dr. Meera said that traditionally you are told to cover your body more, but she wasnt raised as traditionally as most because her mother remembers how difficult her adolescence was in India and doesnt want her daughter to have to go through the same thing. Arlene Modglin from Malaysia informed us that adolescence is very hush hush in her country. There is no talk of sex or sexual development. At puberty her mother to her to a back room gave her a birds and bees type of talk and that was that. The subject was never mentioned again. Arelenes schools were segregated splitting up boys and girls. Talk of the menstrual cycle was scarce as well. She said that many days in class youd just hope that it wasnt your day. Arlene also went on to say that the media is very censored. Olga from Russia had interesting things to say about comparing education of boys and girls in America and Russia. She noticed in America that many girls are raised to not go into math and science, whereas in Russia girls are encouraged to do whatever they want, academically. She said that everyone goes to high school and that there are fewer expectations for women to stay at home and raise kids. Olga also said that in Russia it is difficult to have a large family because of lack of resources. About adolescence, Olga said that it marks the time when boys and girls come together and that most girls are encouraged to marry at about age sixteen or seventeen and are considered past their time at about twenty or twenty-one. Lastly, Flavia a Brazillian woman from Rio informed us that her city is very violent, so she could not stay out at night. She was brought up traditionally to raise kids, but when older decided to come to America for school. She said that for her, adolescence generally begins at thirteen and is when boys and girls start forming groups. At about fifteen youre expected to start dating and if you dont youre considered a freak. You are expected to go to school in Brazil, but universities are for those with money. Overall, the group was interesting and let our class in on a lot of secrets about how adolescence is around the world. Similarities and differences were brought fourth. Groups tend to be formed in America as they do in Brazil. Mostly, I heard differences though. A good example is the censoring and shyness of sexual information in Malaysia. Again, I would have liked to hear a man speak about adolescence in a different country, but the five women made it simple enough to imagine adolescence as a man in their countries.