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An Epic Journey to Canada

Juliet Garcia

Hello readers! This is Juliet Garcia and I’m the new Research Intern at EPICentre for the summer. A little background about myself: I am a 20-year old student of Management from the Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico. I believe in equal opportunities and I believe that social entrepreneurship is an excellent way to reduce opportunity gaps.

Back at home in Mexico, I work for an NGO called Letras para Volar, which means ‘letters to fly’. The organization promotes reading amongst children and teenagers as well as parental involvement through reading.

You might hear me saying “Everything happens for a reason” a lot, it’s my mantra. And in my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, dancing and traveling.

Getting started

It’s never easy to leave everything behind you and start all over in a new country. People, food, culture, language…everything is different.

You are not going to have a ‘name’ for a while when you arrive and you will just be the ‘exchange student’, or the ‘new girl’. Suddenly, people might remember your nationality. You are no longer “the new girl” but “the Mexican girl” instead. You are going to be introduced to a lot of different people and, as soon as they learn your name, you are expected to remember theirs. Guys, don’t feel bad if we don’t always remember, you just had to learn one new name, we have to learn them all.

Just to give you an idea of how different the culture is, a simple “Hello” is not even the same. I have noticed by experience how much Canadians value personal space and, trust me, it’s not a bad thing, it’s just that where I come from, we show a little bit more love, if you can describe it that way. We always kiss each other on the cheek and it’s often accompanied with a hug.

Being abroad…

My university back at home is considered public. I just pay the equivalent of $50 CAD for my entire semester and, incredibly, they support us to go abroad in short programs, and usually provide us with all of the arrangements needed. Most of the time, all of our traveling expenses are covered, which is a blessing. This is not the first time I have traveled abroad, but it has been the most challenging so far because I’ve always traveled with a group of Mexicans. And when I say a group, I literally mean from 20 to 50 of them, so you can imagine the huge difference.

Windsor is pretty diverse but still, there are not as many Mexicans as I thought. Personally, it’s important that you get to know my culture through my own personality and I hope that this blog helps with this.

I understand what media and cultural bias have imposed on your mind about Mexico, and trust me, I will be pretty honest about everything you might be wondering about, but I am also pretty sure that I can make you fall in love with Mexico or at least change your perspective to a more objective one and, who knows, maybe I’ll be able to convince you to visit sometime. I will be delighted to show you why I love Mexico that much.

You may also be wondering…if I love it that much, what am I doing here? Well, don’t miss the next edition of this blog to find out!