Dubai: Three languages, two cuisines and about 3,950km connect the five-member Indian-Jordanian family of the Ardakanis.

Parents to three "third culture children", Behin and Iqan Ardakani said they "owed" their multi-cultural lifestyle to the secular status offered by the UAE.

Explaining the many advantages of having a "global village" at home, 29-year-old Indian expatriate Behin said: "We keep our children attached to our cultures and ensure they can merge the best of both nationalities. There are no disadvantages."

Dr Gabriel Ionescu considers it a privilege for his two children to be exposed to different cultures. The 66-year-old, who has South African and Romanian roots, has lived with his wife in the UAE for seven years - the place they call home.

He said: "My wife and I travel a lot and our children speak Romanian, English and a bit of French. They love new places and people, food and music, but have not lost the original roots. They are 100 per cent South African."

Ionescu said that people who worry about losing their identity "lacked a perspective in life" and advised them to return home.

American Algerian couple Patrice and husband Rebai Tamerhoulet agree.

They moved to the UAE a year ago. The 41-year-old Patrice said: "Raising children in a different country ensures that they become open-minded and can adapt to any experience that is different or unique."

She said that people tend to focus too much "on what divides us and not on what unites us". She felt that living in another country helps break these stereotypes.

Patrice added that the daily effort to keep her five children connected with their roots was "no easy task", but necessary.

"I have gone out of my way to cook Arab or Algerian food and purchase collectibles from Algeria - to instill in them their heritage. If our heritage and nationality is important to us, we will teach and instill it in our children - no matter where we are."

Your comments

I think, the most important thing in life is- to see happy faces and sparkling eyes of love -no matter where you are. Where Your heart will go- the legs will follow. I believe, there is no imposible thing in life to solve any problem.
Posted: March 15, 2009, 11:21