Latinitas - A Strong Voice for Latina Youth

Culture shock happens when you're put into a new environment, one in which you are not familiar with one in which you may not be too comfortable with. For many, the first time they truly feel the rush of emotions that comes with culture shock is when they leave home for college. Students often feel anxious about meeting so many new and different people, sad that they're away from their family and friends from home, and scared to be in a new city that could sometimes seem like a totally different world to what they're used to. Leaving one's home town -and therefore leaving your mom's cooking, the people you grew up with, the streets and landmarks you know so well you could navigate them with your eyes closed- is definitely a challenging experience for young adults. As challenging as it may be, I also think stepping out of your comfort zone in this way and learning to get along in a new setting with new people is the biggest step a young person can do to become their own person.

When I left my warm and cozy Southwest hometown of El Paso, TX to go to college in the Northeast region at Boston University (the opposite side of the U.S. and one of the farthest U.S cities), the sudden change in lifestyle hit me like someone threw a bucket full of cold water at my face. The hardest thing for me was leaving my family and friends who have always been a very big part of my life. The rediculously cold weather- harsher than that bucket full of cold water- came in as a runner-up to making my new life hard to adjust to. In my homeotown, I was used to always being surrounded by Hispanics, everyone speaks some level of Spanish here, everyone celebrates Cinco de Mayo and eats Mexican food on Sundays. People seem to never be in a rush or stressed out about the little things. When I left for the city of Boston I left everything I knew and loved about my home but I was also emerged into a world new ideas and possibilities.

Lots of layers and a giant parka jacket did the trick to solving my dilema of having to walk to class everyday in freezing temperatures. Getting used to being away from my friends and family took a little more than just layering on a giant, fluffy jacket that makes me look like an eskimo each time I wear it. Soon I made a group of close, reliable friends who not only took my mind off of the people I missed from home but also became like my second family.

Sure, I don't get Mexican food that even comes close to that of El Paso nor do I get to enjoy 300+ days of sunshine a year but I have gained experiences that will last me a lifetime. College is about meeting all different kinds of people and learning from their experiences and about their cultures. It's also a time where you can let your own culture shine and be proud to share it with your friends. Living somewhere new takes some getting used to but once you do, that place will seem like your home away from home. Of course, you should find a niche in which you're comfortable with, people who share your same ideas and culture but you
should also stay open to new experiences and ideas. You never know what's in store for
you to learn.

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