A note from Lisa Coleman/ Contribution by Mariela Aguilar
One of the most rewarding things about starting this website has been meeting amazing people who love Mexico the way we do. Mariela Aguilar happened upon our site a few months ago and wrote to us about how much she enjoyed reading our thoughts, comments and news pieces. She and I opened up a dialog that will undoubtedly lead to a long friendship. Mariela is from Tuxtla Gutierrez in the state of Chiapas. She is going to school in the U.S. and is looking to find a career that binds her with her roots, yet allows her a chance to utilize all she has learned in the states. I found her fascinating, passionate and someone who could really add a lot to our view here at Mexico Premiere. I think you will enjoy her perspective and we hope to have her as a regular contributor. It’s people like Mariela that remind us how much we love what we do. Thanks, Mariela!
Thoughts From a Regular Mexican Girl on Going to College in the United States
By: Mariela Aguilar
Studying in the United States has been, I would say, one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. Being away from home teaches you so much about yourself, and lets you get a new perspective on things that you once found “simple” or “normal”.
I can say that studying here in the U.S. has made me appreciate more my Mexican culture and has given me a sense of “urge”, the urge to act, the urge to do, the urge to seize every opportunity that is presented on my way, the urge to become someone who will make a change and contribute to the betterment of my country. The path to get to where I am now (about to graduate), has not been easy, but from my experience, the phrase “hard work pays off” has never been truer than during my stay in America. There have definitely been some difficulties along the way, being homesick and getting culture shocked to name a few, but the outcome has been by far, a really rewarding one.
As a Mexican girl, with some deeply rooted traditions and values, it was sometimes hard to open my mind to new and different ideas or ways in which fellow students carried themselves. But through time I understood how interesting, and more than that, how valuable and essential it is to learn about your own culture and everybody else’s culture. I learned that in order to be tolerant to other people’s views and ideas, I had to first learn about their cultures, and that’s exactly what my stay in America let me do.
Never in my life had I talked so much about my country, my traditions, my culture, my heritage. Never in my life had I realized how much I loved my country, my Mexico! and how different and how equal we all are! I am lucky to say, that I have never experienced any kind of racist behavior against me, neither for being a girl not for being Mexican. Au contraire! people seemed to be more drawn to me because of my nationality, and I got to make some really good and long-lasting friendships!
Now talking about the academic system, I just can say I LOVE IT! It is not that it is better than any other country’s system, or that the professors are better, or that the academic quality is better, it is just that studying in America has dared me to DREAM, and not only to dream, but to BELIEVE. I have not discovered what the source of this sentiment is, but I can say it was a common feeling among many of my Mexican friends studying in the U.S. It is as if the description of America as the land of opportunity suddenly became real! I really think much of it had to do with the fact that we were now able to see with our own eyes “real” people, people like us, accomplishing their dreams. It was sort of like an enlightment! It is as if in the beginning our professors just handed us down some white canvas and said, this is your future, go ahead, the sky is the limit! dare to dream! Something I was not used to at all.
I really came to admire how everybody and anybody in school, young, old, wealthy, or poor, was given the same chance to be whomever they dreamed to be, and the only requisite to achieve this was the will to do it! I would need to write a book in order to describe all of the feelings and experiences I got from going to college in the U.S. I will just resume by saying it was worth it! It was worth it, even if it meant exchanging my mom’s pozole and my grandma’s tamales for a McDonald’s big mac! It was worth it! So I invite everyone out there: dare to dream! and remember to return some of the fruits of your success to the country that made you who you are.
The key is to never, ever forget where you are coming from!