[SUNY student is learning Spanish at UPAEP.]
January 30th, 2018
Translate by: Mercedes A. Hernández Pacheco
Xzavier Medina comes from the United States and decided to have an exchange in our country since August 2017 until May of this year in order to learn Spanish because among his family, this language is very important and it is the way they communicate to each other, they have Puerto Rican background.
“I am also interested in law with a focus on migration and Spanish is very useful for my major”.
Being in Mexico has been fascinating for Xzavier because he has not only experience the country through the food and culture, but also he went through two earthquakes in September with his Mexican host family.
“I was in my house during the first earthquake cleaning my room and suddenly I saw my brother outside of his room screaming temblor, temblor! in that moment, I did not feel anything, but I was able to see the walls moving, very scary. The second time I was in my Spanish class, it was shocking to see all my classmates and the professor leaving the building, the difference was to see that the second one was stronger leaving very more noticeable damages than the first one”.
Through this time, he learnt more about poverty in our country and how through the support, a lot of people were able to move on.
It is important to say that Xavier Medina tried out the Mexican culture through the dance because he took a traditional dancing workshop in UPAEP where he learnt typical dancing from Mexico’s different regions.
“I had a lot of fun, since I was more active through the day; I found out that dancing in the Mexican culture is more romantic, folkloric dancing is a story between a man and a woman in some kind of relationship.”
Through his time in Mexico, he went to Veracruz, Oaxaca, Hidalgo and Guanajuato “it is very obvious that the food is important inside the way of life in Mexico, and I believe part of it comes in the big value that Mexicans put in their families”.
The interaction between Mexican young people has been pretty good, there is always someone who wants to talk to him and get to know his traditions as well.
“In UPAEP, I have never felt alone because there is always someone willing to talk, getting to know me and I also wish to learn more about Mexico; this is a very good chance to introduce myself in the country and practice Spanish. These interactions were the most meaningful and most important things during my time here.”
One of the differences that he was able to note was that United States students tend to feel more stressed without any visible reason, having the same workload; Mexicans do know how to organize their time.
“I like it because they do their homework without stress; I take this with me.” He hopes to be able to speak Spanish fluently before the semester ends. “I feel very proud with my Spanish skills; it was my biggest goal since I arrived here.”
Finally, he recommended to all of those who wish to have an exchange experience, to take advantage of that opportunity and be able to do any kind of activities to immerse yourself into a different nation’s culture.
“Do not be afraid to make friends, speak the language, go to class and have the challenge to understand the professor; finally, it represents the opportunity to practice and comprehend a way of life that it is not yours.”