Non-Hispanic University students in for culture shock

Ariel Weinstein/Contributing Writer 

Most people who attend the University are either native to Miami, or they have some sort of Hispanic background. Miami is their home and they know what to expect living here. However, there are some students whose enrollment into the University not only called for a transition into college life, but into the entire Hispanic culture as well. There are students from Massachusetts, LA, New Jersey and various other parts of the country who had to get accustomed to an entirely new culture. From the people, and the traditions, to the food, music, dancing, and even how the roads are constructed, everything is different for them.

Akeem Todman, an international business junior, is from Christansted Saint Croix Virgin Islands, and grew up  in Pinellas Pointe. Todman started off his college career in LA, but transferred over to the University earlier this year. According to Todman, LA and Miami could not be more different.

Todman explains how the “difference between Miami and LA is that LA is more fast-paced. Everyone is always just running around like crazy trying to catch and keep up with their lives. Miami is more calm. People take their time here.”

Other than the pace, Todman explains how it is more about the people you meet who will lead you to success. The goal is to meet the “right” people, and Todman says “everyone wants to know your resume the second you meet them. That’s what they expect.”

Todman also feels that everyone is more hospitable and friendly when you meet them and they always want to know your background, where you are from and why you came to Miami. According to Todman, the nightlife in Miami is much more emphasized than in LA.

“In LA, everyone’s about getting into the industry. It’s more about being famous in LA. In Miami, its more down to earth and grounded. Although in LA the food seems much healthier even though there is much diversity  in the food here in Miami.”

In terms of scenery, LA is mountainous compared to Miami, and the homeless population is not as intense as it is in LA.

Gilson Ferraz, an accounting major sophomore at the University, is from Massachusetts. He said, “moving to Miami was a culture shock. I was so used to being the only Brazilian in my old city, and now I come here you meet people from all corners of the world. Miami is probably one of the most internationally diverse cities.”

Ferraz explains how in Massachusetts, the roads are much more calm and quiet. “Driving in Miami is insane. You have to drive half a mile in one direction only to turn around to go the direction you actually want to go in, and it seems there are stoplights every 50 feet. In Massachusetts, the roads are more narrow and we don’t have as many highways.”

Ferraz spoke of how in Massachusetts, food is not as spicy, and rice and beans are not as popular.

“We eat more vegetables and hamburgers up North. In Miami, it seems beans and rice are somehow incorporated into every meal. I think that is a major cultural difference in terms of food.”

Like Todman and Ferraz, Udeme Ikaiddi, a sophomore majoring in international business, is foreign to Miami. Ikaiddi has lived in Pennsylvania, Alabama and Tallahassee. Ikaiddi also went to a boarding school in Georgia. “Because I grew up in so many places, the way I was raised is very country and very southern.”

Since moving to Miami and attending the University, Ikaiddi now works at the school bookstore and claims that “there are not as many problems between race as there was in Georgia. If I was looking for a job in Georgia, they would never hire me because of my race.”

According  Ikaiddi, not only is it much easier to get a job in Miami, but “it’s so rare to find a person of your race in a part of the country where there are so many different races, so when you meet someone of your race you just automatically bond and it’s great.”

Ikaiddi believes that the music that is always playing in Miami helps to set a welcoming upbeat vibe throughout the city.

“Miami is one of the most culturally unique cities in the country.”

life@fiusm.com 

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