When I first heard about the Millennial Trains Project (MTP), I knew right away that I wanted to apply, but did not have a specific project in mind. One of the MTP requirements was to develop a project that linked five different cities (in my case, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Milwaukee and Detroit) together. Because I am doing my PhD in Mass Communications and Media Studies on my Fulbright grant, and my research focuses on Spanish speaking media in the United States, I wanted to find a way to bring these two things together. I figured that all of the cities on the second MTP journey, Unity, had a significant Hispanic population, so I decided to work with that. Having recently become interested in the subject of millennials and their declining interest in broadcast television in Mexico, I realized that this was an issue which could be looked at from a different perspective and applied to the current situation in the United States. In order to be able to better analyze this issue, I proposed to do a series of surveys of Hispanic millennials. In these surveys, I asked questions about their television viewing habits and preferences. I wanted to see if Hispanic millennials in the United States were interested in watching television in Spanish, and what the reasons behind that may be.
I did not really know what to expect before coming on the train. I was excited about the opportunity to get to visit five different cities in the United States that I had never been to, and that I would not have probably gotten the chance to see otherwise. I was also excited about getting to work on my project and a little nervous because I was not sure how people would react to being interviewed on the streets. I was particularly excited about getting to see the city of Los Angeles and being able to talk to people there about my project, because it is one of the cities with the largest percentage of Hispanics in the United States, and also a city that is in many ways, iconic to the Hispanic and Mexican community.
Although the cities we have visited have been incredible, and my project is moving forward quite well, I have to say that the best things that have happened to me during this journey so far have been things that I was not expecting. The first of these things are the amazing views and landscapes that we have witnessed during the train ride, and which have allowed me to get to know the United States in a completely different way that I had thus far. I was also pleasantly surprised by the programming on the train, and by the activities organized for us and the guest speakers we have had. It has been a great learning experience, which I did not expect to have before coming on the train. Lastly, some of the friendships that I have begun to build here, and being around so many people from different educational backgrounds and walks of life, has allowed me to see not only my project, but also my generation in a new light.