My Identity vs. My Egyptian Identity: Benjamin Serradas


Growing up I learned Spanish, Portuguese, and English as my primary languages. Around where I live there are several languages being spoken with Spanish and Portuguese being the most spoken next to English. Language is really important to me as it is also a huge part of culture. 


Though I am not culturally an American I mostly eat American food as it is everywhere. We only tend to eat special cultural foods for events and holidays. Still food is important as it makes you feel more connected to your culture.


In America we have a K through 12 education system that is publicly funded. This is very important to my identity because it shaped who I was growing up. I want to a Charter school which is basically a nicer public school, but because of this I had classmates from a bunch of surrounding towns.             


Growing up I was raised as a Catholic. This meant going to mass every Sunday and even going to Sunday school. My family was also pretty involved in church as we were part of programs to take care of the homeless and also teach summer bible school.  


America is the home of pop music but for me I mostly listen to rap music.  Music is important to me because it can always be playing, taking a boring job and making it better. 


Sports are an important part of entertainment in America, and it draws millions of people. While I didn’t play many sports growing up, I live in New England. New England is home to many successful teams leading to a sense of pride for my teams.       



A large part of America and me is its unique style of government. We have the constitution which gives important rights like freedom of speech which other countries lack. 


One of the parts that makes America America is the fact that it is a cultural melting pot. Where I live especially there are several immigrants making it a large part of my life. At my school there were several of my classmates who were born in other countries or first generation.


Money is very important in any society. In the US it is hard to do anything without currency. Money is also one of the most important things in a person’s life since they can’t live a very good life without it. 

Fashion/ Dress

Being from New England we experience the full force of the seasons, because of this I have clothes for each season, but when going out I am typically in jeans and tee shirts. When it gets colder I wear hoodies frequently. 


I live close to both Boston and Providence allowing me to go to either quite easily. I went to Providence frequently to watch theatre shows. Boston is full of history and life making it a great place to visit.  


In America the current President is Joe Biden. This is very relevant as the news is dominated with stories about the president and what they are doing. The President is extremely important as they are more than just the leader of America but also a global one.          



In Egypt the main language spoken is Arabic. The ancient Egyptian language evolved into the Coptic language. While it is not spoken regularly it is used for liturgical ceremonies in the church.      



Many Egyptians eat many things but their dishes typically have rice, beans, and grains. They also eat many vegetables since they grow well in the fertile Nile region. While they do have access to meats like chicken and lamb most of Egyptians’ diets are vegetarian due to religious reasons and the high cost of meats. Ancient Egyptians ate many of the same things as their main source of food comes from the Nile. 


In Egypt education is only mandatory from 4-14 years old. Egypt also has a free education system but the private one is much better than the state run option. Since I would be required to go for nine years this would still be a large part of my life. In ancient Egypt school typically started around the age of 7, with mostly boys going to school. There were some girls of wealthy families that went to school but this was not common. 


The dominate faith is Islam in Egypt. They make up 90% of the total religion there. The second most popular is Coptic Christianity at 9%. Since this present is so low I would probably be Muslim. The ancient Egyptian religion was far more complicated as it had several gods and a pharaoh who they believed to hold divine power.  Since the pharaoh was so intertwined with religion they would have the people build many monuments to the gods like the Luxor temple and Abu Simbel. 



Egypt’s music is very important in the region. Egypt’s music can be traced back to the Neolithic period. At this time it was used in religious practices mostly. Religious music is still extremely important to this day for Egypt’s music scene.  


Egypt, like most countries outside of America, has a love for soccer. They also love tennis and squash.  Egyptians watch soccer on an almost daily basis as it is by far the most popular sport. While America might have more major sports teams Egyptians seem to care more about soccer. In Ancient Egypt many of the sports were survival skill related with sports like hunting, rowing, and fishing. 


Egypt has had a growing number of refugees and immigrants. Most of them are originally from Arabian countries. They also have several from African nations. Most of these people are running to the better economic opportunities Egypt has to offer. While they didn’t have migration the way we would typically think of it, Ancient Egypt had plenty of foreigners. People like the Hyksos who were foreign invaders who would stay and eventually the cultures would mix. 



In the Egyptian system of government the president is elected for six years. They also have a parliament. They have two houses, the house of representatives and the consultative council. In Egypt they have several political parties with over twenty active parties with seats in parliament. In Ancient Egypt the people were ruled by the Pharaoh and they had complete control since they were the connection between them and the gods.  


The currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound. It takes about 16 Egyptian pounds to equal one U.S. dollar. The inflation rate in Egypt used to be really high at about 20% but as of last year it has dropped down to 5%. If it continues like this the Egyptian pound will be worth more. Since Egypt has been around for so long they have had quite a few systems of currency. Like many societies they had a barter system but this was replaced with the exchange of metal. Coined metal would come later on during the Ptolemaic kingdom where they made one universal currency. 


In Egypt they were mostly the same stuff that we in America wear. Granted it is really hot there so they have to focus on staying cool while also trying to not have the sun hit them directly. At night it gets extremely cold making them have a need for heavier clothes during this time. In Ancient Egypt during the old kingdom men would wear loincloths while women would wear a sheath dress. Egyptian took pride in their appearance and would stay very clean.  


In Egypt there are several cultural cities like Cairo, Luxor, and Alexandria. They have been around for thousands of years. Cairo is one of the most important in Africa as it is the capital of Egypt. During the ancient Egyptian time the cities like Memphis and Thebes were the most important, Memphis was located in a geographic location that allowed it to be easily defended and give good access to trade.


Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is the current president of Egypt. His job is very similar to the U.S. ‘s president. He is the commander of the armed forces. The Egyptian president lives in Heliopolis Palace in Cairo Egypt. In Ancient Egypt they had several famous leaders like Ramses and Tutankhamun.  

Egyptian Identity vs Personal/American Identity


Nile river

The Nile river is famously known as the longest river in the world, however in Egypt it is known for having fertile soil to grow crops such as wheat, flax, and papyrus. The Nile was vital to Ancient Egyptians because it provides water, food, and transportation in addition to the fertile soil which lines its banks. Secondly, the Nile was extremely important strategically due to the rough cataracts that it has making it difficult to navigate. Today much of the population in Egypt still lives around the Nile river valley.


Suez Canal

The Suez Canal was constructed from 1859 to 1869 offering a direct trade route between the Atlantic and Indian oceans through the mediterranean sea separating Africa from Asia. It was constructed during the rule of Sa’id Pasha by Ferdinand de Lesseps. The canal completely changed trade and transportation on the silk road route, now becoming one of the most used shipping lanes in the world. Prior to the construction of the Suez Canal the only significant settlement in the Sinai Peninsula was Suez which only had around 4,000 residents; however, after the addition of the canal the land was greatly developed to now contain some of the most populous cities in Egypt.



Religion plays a large role in many world societies today and Egypt is no different. However Egypt has a much deeper rooted past when it comes to the idea of the religion. Today about 90% of the country is part of the Sunni branch of Islam with an extremly small minority of Sunni muslims and Coptic Christians. The domination of the religion came as a result of the Muslim conquest of Roman Eygpt which was led by Amr ibn al-Aas making Islam the dominant faith in Egypt starting in the 10th century. The religion of Islam in Egypt has led to 4 seperate school of law being set up in Al-Azhar which are now regarded around the world today as the ultimate laws and rulings of Sunni Islam.



Egyptian cuisine is similar to the food of the Eastern Mediterranean such as rice-stuffed vegetables, grape leaves, shawarma, kebab, and kofta. It heavily utilizes various legumes, vegetables, and fruits which can be found in the Nile valley and delta. Much of the food in Egyptian cuisine is vegetarian due to the historically high price of meat as well as the restrictions of the Coptic community, which is interesting because the same is true of Indian cuisine which is extremely vegetarian heavy. For the majority of egyptian cuisine it is based on the region of the country that a person lives in due to the food which grows around them.



Hieroglyphs were one of the ways of writing which was used by the Ancient Egyptians and are considered to be one of the earliest writing systems within human history. Hieroglyphs play a major role today in giving information of Ancient Egyptian times and giving a glimpse into what life was like during the time of Ancient Egyptians detailing their wars, culture, traditions, and ceremonies. Without the hieroglyphs all of the Egyptian culture may have been lost with the countless occupations of other nations and people in Egypt.

Egyptian art

Art from Ancient Egypt plays a vital role in upholding the culture within Egypt depicting the ancient deities of Egypt. Art in Ancient Egypt almost always served some sort of purpose for example art that is in the tombs of pharaohs is known to help provide a guide for the soul of the deceased in the afterlife in order to reach the field of reeds in the afterlife. The art also shows the concept of the hierarchies of scale which are present in many depictions of Ramses II as he is portrayed as a giant among men demonstrating his stature within society.



Today in Egypt Arabic is spoken as it is over the rest of the Islamic world, however Arabic was not the spoken language in Egypt until around the 10th century. At first simply Egyptian was spoken which later became Coptic– which is still used in the coptic church today. After this there was a great deal of Greece influence and then Roman influence which ultimately led to the mulsim invasion of Egypt which finally instituted arabic as the language which remains today. 



Cleoparta VII was a highly important figure from ancient Egypt known throughout the world today as one of the most powerful women during her time. During her time Cleopatra was painted as a femme fatal by the Roman Empire and the rest of the western world who tried to discount her intellegence and strategically skills by advertising that she was nothing more than a pretty queen who seduced other rulers to get her way. Today she still serves as one of the archetypes for what a femme fatal is in literature. 


The Book of the Dead

The Book of the Dead allows for the understanding of Ancient Eegyptian burial traditions and beliefs of the afterlife. The book depicts the perilous journey which souls of the deceased face as they travel through the underworld in an attempt to reach paradise and live a continuation of their life on earth within the presence of the gods. The book at first was only available to the pharaohs but slowly it became commercialized for everyone. One of the most interesting facts related to the book is the ancient Egyptians believed that one’s stature within society was not important to their journey through the afterlife and instead only if a person was a scribe were they guaranteed safe passage to the field of reeds.



Egypt is home to some of the most impressive and breathtaking pieces of architecture in the world. The most famous are the Egyptian pyramids of Giza which were built over hundreds of years. The pyramids are a constant reminder of the rich history of the country. However, the pyramids are not the only impressive pieces of architecture there are also hundreds of temples, palaces, tombs, and fortresses which each have their own distinct style and forms of art which accompany them. 



Cairo was founded in 969 CE by the Fatimid Caliphate in their attempt to overthrow the Abbasid caliphate and replace it with their own. Cairo was formerly known as Al-Fustat which was an important center in earlier times. It is famous for being home to the Giza pyramids and being the center of both the political and cultural life within the region. Cairo is also home to Al-Azhar which is the second-oldest institution of higher learning within the Arab world. Today Cairo continues to play an important role as the capital of Egypt as well as the largest city in the Arab world.



The geography of Egypt is why it was a highly sought after area. This is because within Egypt there are many natural barriers which made it difficult to invade. While the Nile allows for fertile soil it also provides its own barriers of a series of cataracts which are extremely dangerous to try to get through. In addition, the majority of Egypt is the arid and barren desert in which almost no one except the nomadic people live. These two reasons alone make Egypt extremely valuable in terms of positioning a military. 


America and India

Indian Culture

Growing up I have always had an extremely heavy Indian influence culturally. I grew up speaking Telugu at home which is a language spoken in Andhra Pradesh which is where my mom is from in India. I have been raised with all of the Indian traditions such as a saree ceremony, which is similar to a quinceanera. I also spent many summers in India while I was growing up which allowed me to understand the culture even better. I also grew up dancing bollywood and bharatanatyam, which is a form of Indian classical dance, as well as learning carnatic singing which is a specific type of singing in India. All of these experiences allowed me to have a very different outlook than some of my friends which I think is really interesting.



I have been exposed to many different languages growing up whether it is in school or at home. In India while the national language is Hindi more people use English to communicate with others from other states since there are thousands of different dialects within the country that are spoken so going to a different state or even city is like going to another country with its own distinct language, culture, and traditions. English is also used in official parliamentary proceedings. I think speaking multiple languages is extremely important especially in today’s society as it is evolving and changing.


Indian Food plays a huge role in the culture. My family is from southern India and because of that the food we tend to eat is much spicier than the food from the north. The diet is predominantly vegetarian with a little bit of meat primarily because of the caste system which was first set up in India in which only the Brahmins, the highest level of the caste system, could eat meat meaning the majority of the population was vegetarian. Indian food is also very rich in lentils and vegetables based off of where you live. Everyday there are people who come to the house with fresh vegetables, fish, shrimp, and milk that is all from that morning so the diet is very reliant on where you live.



I was raised Hindu and have attended sunday school class for as long as I can remember. My family in India as well as within the United States is extremely involved with religion so much so my paternal grandfather helped to build the temple in Chicago and my maternal grandmother goes on religious retreats every couple months. Hinduism will always be part of my core.


Dancing and Music

Dance is a way for people of all cultures to express themselves through their own styles of dance. Growing up I danced jazz, tap, ballet, bollywood, and bharatnatyam. It allowed me to experience different cultures throughout the music as well as form a sort of bridge between the two sides of me. From dancing is also where my love of music grew from specifically my love of jazz. A person can learn so much about another culture by simply listening to their music since it truly is a universal language.


American Culture

Within the United States there are various subcultures that make up the American culture based off of the region a person lives in. I was raised in both Georgia and Indiana so I had an interesting mix of culture. I have lived in the United States my entire life so the culture is not necessarily something that I think about often because it is simply something that I live. That being said, the culture in the United States allows for people to be much more open minded and it is also much easier for women to be outspoken and strong in comparison to some other countries.


Melting Pot

The United States is known as the melting pot of the world since it is home to hundreds of differing cultures, traditions, religions, and experiences. Everyone in the United States had to have immigrated at some point in their family history which is what contributes to the diverse community and rich culture that we now have. I am extremely appreciative of this because growing up in a place where everyone’s the same would be boring.



Personally as well as on a higher level family is extremely important. This is demonstrated by most holidays within the United States in which families get together to spend time with each other and be thankful for each other. My family will use any excuse to get together so it is not uncommon for me to come home and find 20 other family members randomly in my house. Family is something that I am extremely grateful for because your family helps to shape you to be who you are as a person.



Within the United States Christianity is the dominant religion although there are various different sects within the United States. I went to a christian school growing up and had religion class everyday for almost 12 years so Christianity has also played a large role in my life as well as shaped the country in its views culturally and politically.



9/11 was a defining day for the United States because it completely shifted how people were perceived within the United States. The fall of the twin towers was devastating as the country believed that it was almost invincible in a sense. 9/11 brought swarms of negativity to people based on the color of their skin and their outward appearance. These are effects that are still seen today. As well as fears that are always in the back of my mind because of where I live.



Within the United States sports greatly contributes to the culture. This occurs not only on a national but also an international level. Sports are a way for a country to prove that it is dominant in all aspects of life including being the most fit. Sports such as baseball, basketball, and football are among the most popular in the United States so much so that Sunday is known as the day to go to church and watch football. 


The Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement was one of the most pivotal events in American history which took place during the 1950s and 1960s in order for people of color to gain equal rights under the law as white americans. While the movement did not end racial injustice it allowed for equality under the law. Without the Civil rights movement there would still be racial segregation within the United States simply based off a factor that one cannot control anymore than the color of their eyes they are born with or whether they are left or right handed.


Egyptian Identity v. My Identity

Egyptian Identity

  • Nile River
    • The Nile River is a fundamental element of Egyptian culture. It is the center of ancient religion as well as the main source of life for the Egyptians. In ancient times, the Nile River was what determined the lives of the people, if the Gods were mad at the people, the river would show this by flooding or even causing droughts in the land. But even in modern times, the Egyptian people rely on it for water, trade, and transportation. 

  • Hieroglyphics
    • Hieroglyphics are one of the oldest forms of knowledge for Egypt and the world. Egypt has one of the richest known histories because of the early forms of writing that were discovered. Although it is not yet fully deciphered, it has been a great insight into the past of human history and has intrigued many scholars into discovering more about Egypt.

  • Egyptian gods and goddesses
    • The idea that there can be death after death is sort of terrifying. Egyptians believed that they would have to put their heart to trial against a feather. It is interesting how the heart is seen as the center for emotions and where people think. What would happen if the Egyptian gods ate the people’s hearts? Would they just cease to exist, would they go to an underworld? Although the current major religion of Egypt is Islam, I am sure there remain a culture and influence from gods and goddesses such as Anubis and Osiris. It is also important to note how Christianity and Egyptian religion influence one another and how they relate.

  • The ruling of different pharaohs
    • Pharaohs were the first form of government for the Egyptian people. They made the laws and ordered the religion that was acceptable to the people. Also, they were seen as sons of the gods, immortal, and able to speak with them. Modern Egyptian have moved away from this polytheist belief and into Islam. But the history and influence polytheism had on Egyptians influenced the everyday life of the people as well as the interactions they had with their government.

  • Alexander the Great conquers Egypt
    • The Persians began to take over much of Egypt. Alexander the Great’s major goal for Egypt was to set up trade networks in and out of Egypt. He was able to blend much of the Greek and Egyptian culture to make the assimilation between both powers easier. He was the man who set up one of the most powerful and lived in cities in Egypt, Alexandria. Alexandria is still a major city in Egypt today and is a major source of money and trade to this day.

  • Cleo Patra
    • Although many other pharaohs have done so much more for Egypt, there is one that is well known everywhere, Cleo Patra. In the modern-day, Cleo Patra is an iconic character written in hundreds of books and movies all over the world. This has a great influence on the way Egypt is portrayed even in modern times. She is often depicted as a voluptuous, beautiful woman that uses her charm to seduce all men.

  • Napoleon Bonaparte
    • Bonaparte had a great influence on the relationships between countries, the culture of Egypt, and the relationship between the government and people. He encouraged trade with Egypt which would allow the economy to flourish. He was able to bring a French perspective to Egypt regarding fashion and other ways of culture. Also, he brought ideas like “free until proven guilty” to the government at the time. Although he only stayed in Egypt for a few years and did not succeed in conquering the land, he left a mark on the trajectory of the government and how the people felt about foreign nations taking rule over it.

  • The Islamic conquest of Egypt
    • In the early 640 BCE, most Egyptians were Coptic and believed that God was one. Amr ibn al-As was appointed as military commander of the Islamic army to conquer Egypt. Possession of Egypt would strengthen the power of the Muslims. Islam had had a great influence in Egypt as it remains the major religion of the Egyptian people right now.

  • Suez canal
    • Another conflict was between Egypt and Israel regarding the Suez canal. Built-in 1859, the Suez canal allowed easy trade between the Mediterranean and Red sea. It was a great economic source for Egypt and caused great conflict between Israel and Egypt. Later on, Egypt had closed the canal which leads to Israel( with the help of French and British forces) invading it and later leaving due to US pressure.

  • Caliphates
    • The Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah was one of the caliphs that in a way began the crusades. He orders his people to burn and destroy the religious buildings of other religions. Although he didn’t lose any territory under his ruling, there was much unrest and many mobs of the Sunni community. According to sources, he was contributed to education by creating the Dar al-Hikma. It would educate people about the Quran and Hadith. During his reign we see the rise of a new religion, the Druze movement began. Because of his desire to increase the Islamic religion and the movement towards destroying other religious buildings, we see how these actions held a grudge in the beginnings of the crusades.

  • Egypt v. Israel
    • Egypt did not recognize Israel as a state until 1979. Egypt joined forces with the Arabs to take down Israel during the first Arab-Israeli war. In 1953, another conflict was between Egypt and Israel regarding the Suez canal. The war of 1967 resulted from Israel seizing control of the territories of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights among others. In the modern-day, we see that both are in this state of “cold peace,” with tolerance but not acceptance.

  • WW2 in Egypt
    • Egypt entered the cold war during Project FF. King Farok was pressured into accepting progressive reforms, which he opposed at first but had to accept. After a coup to take over Egypt an anticommunist regime was created. Later Egypt was created into a Republic which still stands until now.

My Identity

  • Constitution
    • The United States has greatly been shaped by the constitution. Even to this day, people are following and creating laws based on the constitution. It is a huge marker in our history that signifies the independence of America. People even now celebrate July 4th, to commemorate the date and it is a subject taught in every class in America.

  • Civil War
    • The Civil War has shaped the way people of color interact with one another and how America views itself. It was a major step for America to become more racially united and has greatly influenced the society we live in today. Although there is much more progress that we have to make as a society, it was a step towards racial equality and the progression of the American identity.

  • American Culture
    • My American identity is also very important for me considering I have been raised in the U.S. my whole life. I went to school, learned English, and have most of my friends and family here. As a result, living in America and American culture is a big part of my life and identity.

  • Mexican Culture
    • As a Mexican American woman, Mexican culture is one of the biggest and most important aspects of myself. Although I wasn’t raised in Mexico, my family has raised me with things like Dia De Los Muertos and Tamales at Christmas. I grew up learning and speaking Spanish in my house and it is just a very important part of my life.

  • 9/11
    • The fall of the twin towers was one of the most devastating things to happen to the U.S. It has greatly shaped how we interact with other countries and the ways that people in this country interact with each other. While it is a great opportunity to show this nationalism for America, it has also caused certain negative sentiments towards people of color especially those from the middle east. It has caused a difficult relationship with people of color and I have also seen the effect of such negative events on the people around me.

  • Barack Obama
    • The Obama presidency was a big shift in the history of America. Although there is still so much to work towards in the American society regarding race and inequality, it was an opportunity for people of color to be represented in our government. His election is something that will be talked about for many years to come and a moment in history that has shaped the American identity.

  • Catholicism
    • I have been raised in a Catholic family meaning that I attend mass almost every Sunday. Since I can remember, I would be in the church pews with my family praying and having mass. Although I am not as religious as my family is, I know that certain beliefs are still represented in the core of my identity.

  • Juan Diego
    • St. Juan Diego is one of the major saints in the Mexican culture. I have realized that in my church we do not celebrate the appearance of Mary, but in my Mexican household, it is a very big deal. On this day, the may family holds a big celebration and meal to commemorate the occasion. It is a celebration that I look forward to each year( except for 2020) because it is a chance for my whole family to come together.

  • Corona Virus
    • The pandemic has greatly affected people all around the world. But in the point of view of a college student, it has affected my own college experience and the health of the people around me. It is something that will be talked about for years coming forward and might influence how the next couple of years might look like. As a result, this generation, in particular, will remember the day of fighting for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and the idea of quarantine.

  • Black Live Matter
    • From the Civil Rights movent to now, many Americans continue to fight for racial equality. It is still a work in progress and with the increasing growth of the internet, we are seeing more support for these movements. BLM is an ongoing movement that will shape the future of the U.S. especially since this social movement occurred in the middle of the pandemic.


  • Mexican Music
    • Mexican Music is a major part of my identity, it is what connects me with my family in Mexico and the States. From Mariachi to reggaeton and bachata, there is no other music that makes me want to dance as much as this one does. A major part of my identity, it is what connects me to the culture that I follow yet did not fully experience considering I lived in the States for most of my life.
  • Colorado 
    • While living in the U.S., I have grown up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is a beautiful state with mountains and snow for almost half of the year. I have noticed the population growth and the growth of the city.