Cultural exposure influences perspective

Dania Robinson

Living in Mexico for four months provided me with the opportunity to realize how different Mexico is from the United States on a personal level. Although Mexico and the United States are geographic neighbors, they exhibit very different backgrounds, cultures, and ancestry.

One of the obvious differences between Mexico and the United States is the language. A vast majority of Mexicans speak only Spanish. This made communicating hard for me, even though I am a native Spanish speaker. I don’t get a lot of practice living in the United States and that lack of practice made it difficult for me to follow the fast-paced conversations that occurred around me.

I saw a lot of poverty and beggars which made me even more grateful about what I had. Also, the streets weren’t as clean. They had plastic bottles, chip bags, and dried up palm tree leaves everywhere. It was like I had gone to another world. America also has poverty and dirtiness but it’s not as much because there are people that clean it up and a system in a place to help with those things.

The American government offers welfare for people that don’t or can’t work. This means that citizens can still get food and a decent home even when on welfare. I don’t see a lot of homeless people in Bryan, but in Mexico, they do not offer welfare. At stoplights, I saw people with disabilities or visible sicknesses asking for money so they would have something to eat or have enough money to cure their sickness. It made me sad when I saw people like that, especially since it was so common.

Another thing that really stuck out while I was in Mexico was how important family is to Mexicans. They have their disagreements, but they don’t hold grudges. Also, family members show a lot more respect and affection toward their elders than to people their own age, whereas Americans treat everyone equally and show respect for one another across the board.

America has more opportunities for jobs and education. American education is free, unless you want a higher level of education past high school. Even then, college can be free or at least less expensive if you work hard enough in high school to get a scholarship. Education, starting at pre-school has to be paid for in Mexico. Students also have to buy their own books, uniforms, and notebooks. School is not required as it is in America, and if you do not have the supplies, they cannot study. Lucky for me, I moved to America when I was very young and I was able to start studying here.

When I got back from Mexico, I was a lot more grateful for what I have here in the United States. But even though I’d rather live here, it’d be nice to have more family from Mexico near me. I really got to know my grandmother when I lived in Mexico, and during my visit, we bonded very well. Living with my Mexican family made me realize how important family is to me.