When moving from any location, there are always things one must leave behind, including ideas and aspects because there are new ones to learn.
Miami is one of the most diverse cities in the country and is considered a melting pot.
Coming to the University from Massachusetts, there were a lot of ideas and new things I had to learn if I was going to fit in here.
One idea I had to pick up was the way people say hello. Up north, we shake hands and introduce ourselves. Here, it is more of an embrace with a kiss on the cheek. I was unaware of the intimacy people had with each other when first meeting them, and although this came as a shock, I quickly picked up on it and became accustomed to the introductions.
Ever since then, I always found people in Miami and at the University to be so nice to each other, even when they did not feel like it.
Although this was my experience with learning change however, it is not the same as the changes Emelyn Van Uden felt and learned.
Van Uden is from Columbia and attends the University as a current freshman majoring in biology.
Her experiences with Americans and American culture were not as positive as mine were with Hispanic culture.
“It’s not about culture, it is about learning how to manage people from different cultures, because they have different tones and sometimes you might think they are rude, but they are not, that’s just the way they were raised,” Van Uden explained. “In Columbia, we are very nice to people even if we don’t know you. But here, it is less personal, and people don’t care as much about being nice to others.”
Not only does she find the American tone and attitude to be less caring, but Van Uden also feels that Americans and Colombians have different ideas of what fun means.
Van Uden in no way feels Americans are “less” than Colombians, but she sees the differences in culture to be very significant, and ones she must work to adjust to.
“What Americans find fun, it’s not necessarily fun for me. ‘Lets go to a huge party and drink…,’ then it is just a small get together. In Columbia we are very loud, when you say party, we party,” Van Uden said.
Whether it is a move from town to town, state to state or country to country, there will always be new things to learn and new experiences to gain. Some are positive where others are negative, but either way, I feel having these experiences is such an important part of life and learning how other cultures other than our own live life.