Today, in celebration of Reach the World’s fifth annual Traveler Talk event, we are sharing an excerpt from Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) to Mexico Sarah Owens’ online journal describing her initial experiences of settling into her new life as an ETA in Mexico. Sarah is also a current participant in Reach the World’s Traveler correspondent program, which through a partnership with the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, connects U.S. elementary and secondary school classrooms to ETAs during their grants, and helps students and teachers to develop the knowledge, attitudes, values and thinking skills needed for responsible citizenship in a complex, culturally diverse and rapidly changing world.
My room in Tula now feels a lot more like home. I moved into a building near my university almost five months ago. The building is called a “hotel,” but many people rent rooms like an apartment building. I have my own bedroom and a connected bathroom, which I like because it makes me feel like the room belongs to me. I brought photos and decorations from home to remind me of my friends and family. When I get ready in the morning, I look at a photo of my sister and me from when were six and three years old. This keeps me from feeling homesick during my Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Mexico. Being homesick is when you miss being with your family and your friends in your hometown. If you’ve ever gone to a sleepover or an overnight camp, you might have experienced homesickness.
Something I really like about where I live is that university students also rent rooms in the same place. The people who rent rooms share a living room and a kitchen. These areas are our “common spaces.” Since there are other students here, there are people to talk to when I get home from work. I am used to living with other people since I lived in the dormitory when I was in college. Having other people living nearby makes it easier to make friends.