Wow….7 more days and I will be back in the US, I am sure going to miss Mexico but I am so excited for what is coming next for me! Well, as I am going to be a sophomore in a new University, I am really nervous about getting to a new place without knowing anyone, although the idea of having a fresh start excites me…I am going to meet people from all over the world and I will be surrounded by a complete new atmosphere, which really intrigues me; it makes me want to discover more about this new place I will be living in for the next 3 to 4 years.
As you know, I was studying at Southeast Missouri State University (also known as SEMO) for the last year, so I am going to have to pick up my stuff from Missouri and move them to Valparaiso University, my new college I will attend to in Indiana. The distance from place to place is about 6 hours driving, so it shouldn’t be really bad. My parents are coming with me and will accompany me in my first tour of the new University. It will be kind of hard to leave Missouri because I adapted to this new place and I felt welcomed by everybody. Also, I made really good friends and I simply got used to the SEMO type of living. I am not saying it will not be hard, but I am sure that all of this is just part of the process of letting go and looking for new opportunities outside of the familiar zone we all have.
When I got to Missouri in August 2007, I realized that the Universities in the United States are very different and at the same time a lot like the Universities in Mexico. First of all, I realized that in the United States you have your courses requirements by area, and each area has its own classes that you can choose from, when in Mexico most of the time you have the classes chosen for you, but in both places you can usually choose the professor your prefer. Also, most of the students in the Universities in the US DO NOT live with their parents, when in Mexico most of the college students DO live with their parents. In the same way, in the United States it is very common to hear terms like FAFSA and loans for students because many of the students pay for their own University education, when in Mexico loans are not common for students to use, actually many of the students in Mexico have their education paid by their parents. Just like all of those examples, I realized that public education in the US is not very cheap; sometimes it is more expensive than a private institution. On the other hand, in Mexico public education is a lot cheaper than private, but in both places one can realize that private institutions are not always better than public ones.
As an international student, I realize that sometimes it can be intimidating to get to a new place and have everything around be unfamiliar, but this world is filled with people that will help you and welcome you, don’t lose your patience! Also, trust your instincts and try to enjoy everything around you, learn as much as you can from this whole new experience. As Khalil Gibran once wrote in his book Broken Wings, “Challenging obstacles and difficulties is more noble than retiring to tranquility,” as you can see history has pushed us to try new things, let’s do it!
Gibran, Khalil. Alas Rotas. Trans. Ángeles F. Rubio. Spain: Mestas Ediciones, 2007.