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2019.10.19(Sat)

[JSR] Editor’s Column - My Experience Volunteering in Mexico

[LA중앙일보] 기사입력 2019/04/03 14:22

An overall view of Tijuana, Mexico. A place with diverse people and culture. [Source: Author, Yuna Baek]

An overall view of Tijuana, Mexico. A place with diverse people and culture. [Source: Author, Yuna Baek]

Yuna Baek, Grade 11<br>Sage Hill School

Yuna Baek, Grade 11
Sage Hill School

On the windy morning of February 16th, I woke up early to ride a bus to go to Tijuana, Mexico for a volunteering opportunity. Knowing the tasks ahead of me, a couple hours into the ride, I slept in order to get enough energy to spend my day in Mexico actively. I finally arrived at the border, where the line to enter through the security systems were long and tedious with their strict and complicated rules. Soon in no time, I finally stepped on Mexico soil.

As we traveled to our final destination, I noticed the architecture and buildings. They were colored with pastel colors, some of which included mint green, baby blue, orange, and so much more. The homes we passed had a lot of windows, so the bright sun can shine into the houses of its owners. Additionally, many owners owned a lot of dogs; in fact, there were so many barking chihuahuas around the neighborhood.

Unlike the streets in the US, in Mexico there were many children active in the morning. They were up for tasks such as taking in the laundry or selling beautiful flowers. Some were even up and engaging in fun activities such as playing soccer or making cool patterned bracelets.

Children playing soccer outside of their homes in Tijuana. [Source: Author, Yuna Baek]

Children playing soccer outside of their homes in Tijuana. [Source: Author, Yuna Baek]

The most interesting thing to see was how people from another country could come together like a close family and welcome one another with an open mind. Having the opportunity to apply my knowledge of speaking Spanish was a great privilege for me which many other Spanish speakers thought was interesting. But, even if one did not know how to speak Spanish, the people of Mexico were very accommodating and still able to interpret what one was trying to communicate to them.

Despite their living conditions, the people of Tijuana are so diverse and have a versatility and fortitude that predicts exciting days ahead for them. They continue to live each day filled with happiness; a happiness that was shared with me during my stay. Tijuana was a life changing experience that I’ll never forget and I always suggest that people always take the chance to volunteer and visit new places of foreign culture.

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