Culture is a form of identity.
"When immigrants or foreigners move to America, they try to maintain the solidarity of their original culture," said Nicholas Honerkamp, an anthropology and sociology professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. "This culture is then passed down to their children."
Some first-generation American teens experience a culture clash between their home and school lives.
"When I'm out at school I can be laid-back and relaxed, but when I come home I have to switch modes," said Ann Maria Pham, a Vietnamese 10th-grader at Notre Dame High School. "When I get home, I have to become mature and serious."
Christina Guy, 17, compared this living style to juggling two worlds.
"Each culture is completely different," said Christina, a Korean 11th-grader at Heritage High School. "They are nothing alike."
Both worlds have different expectations. Each culture opened up a new perspective.
Ann and Christina said school was the key to learning about American culture. Success, including good grades, are expected of them from their parents. Ann said she is expected to make A's and B's. Christina said she began learning multiplication before going to school.
Christina is expected to complete her schoolwork and housework, without being told, before she goes anywhere. She said she sees other girls go out and sleep over at other friends' houses, but she is not permitted to do so.
"My parents do not want me going out with my friends," she said. "When I go anywhere, my parents must know who I'm going with, if any boys are going and if any adults are going to be there. They must know who they are before they let me go."
At home, Christina is expected to bow when addressing an elder or authority figure.
"I was always taught to respect and appreciate others," she said, "especially my elders."
Ann and Christina had to learn how to live a strict lifestyle, but both said it made them mature.
"My life is very different from other teenagers," Ann said. "My parents are strict, and I have many responsibilities and chores."
"I can't be like other girls." Christina said. "I have more to think about, my future, my education, balancing both cultures and keeping my traditions."