It’s been really fascinating for me is how similar Argentina was to the U.S. at one time, especially in regards to its history of immigration. Visiting el Museo National de Inmigrantes was basically like when I visited Ellis Island in New York years ago. There were black and white photos of European immigrants, the postcards they sent, the dictionaries they studied, and their stories of escaping poverty and repression for a fresh start in The New World…but these people were going to Argentina! As an American who has consistently heard about being part of a melting pot, it was funny hearing that very same narrative here. Read More »
Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler
I hope this blog finds you well. As the weeks progress finals are approaching; however, I will not be dedicating this blog to venting all about exams, but to tell you more about my recent experiences.
Before anything I have to tell you all about my adventure I took to the States on May 13th. I left on the 13th of May to go to the USA just to walk at my graduation on May 14th. After walking at my graduation that same night I was back at Boston Logan thinking, “this isn’t right I was here a few hours ago.” It was even more tedious when I had to wait 10 hours at Heathrow Airport for my connecting flight to Cairo. All in all it was good because I finished my 700 page fun read I had picked up at the same airport 2 days before. Nevertheless, the entire, crazy adventure was worth it, I was able to see all of my friends and family and of course experience the thrill of walking at my graduation!!!
Anyways, back to Egypt. Some funny things that happened at the Cairo airport was the constant question of where I am from when I go through immigration and customs. I hand the person my US Passport and they ask me where are you from I say, “America” the question that follows is, “no, no, before, your first citizenship,” I reply “US” then they ask “and your father where is he from?” and I say, “America” and “your mother?”, “America” and then they finally understand that I am not Egyptian, I only look like one. I think they ask me all of these questions so that they know if I have to have an entry visa or not. Speaking about entry visas, it is so easy to get an entry visa for Egypt. I was all worried because I had always had my entry visa before leaving America, I would send my passport to the corresponding Egyptian consulate in New York and they would stamp it and everything. But I found out that all you have to do when you get to Egypt at least if you hold an US passport is to stop at one of the four windows there are of banks in Egypt, pay 15 dollars and they give you a fancy sticker and that it is. I mean the entire process took me less than 30 seconds. I handed the man the money and before I knew it I had a visa in my hands. I had to ask him if that was it. Well now you all know the secret. I hope you have enjoyed my wild adventures and my quirky recounting of what happens inside the Cairo Airport.
Until next time.
It’s Sunday afternoon and I am nerdily sitting in the Cupertino library. For those of you who grew up in Cupertino, you know this is a pretty typical weekend activity. For those of you who didn’t, gaggles of teenagers pass time together studying for the SATs gathered around library tables or strew about couches rather than visiting the beach or seeing movies. Maybe it is because of its familiarity, but the library has always been a place of comfort and I often find myself there in times when I find my brain muddled or confused.
But now it’s not really confusion I feel, but almost a sense of guilt. Working in restaurants since high school, many of the cooks of I have befriended lack the legal immigration status necessary for them to be able to go home and revisit Mexico. And yet, with little difficulty, I can visit their native country. In fact, in order to obtain my year-long visa, all I needed to do was supply the consulate with a bank statement, passport, and photos. I didn’t even need to pay a fee to be processed (I will have to pay one in Mexico however.).
Every time I bring up my study abroad trip at work, a cook will tell me of their home and that if I get a chance I must visit. “My niece is still in Mexico City. If you go there call me and I’ll have her show you around,” or “Do you have a place to stay? You are more than welcome to stay with my family,” are comments they have repeated again and again. While their excitement and hospitality is overwhelming, I feel as though they are depending on me to bring back news from their hometowns. If they cannot visit firsthand, I am the next best way for them to see what has changed and what has remained the same. After all they have taught me over the years and have shared with me about their struggles, they have become my second family and I want to do them justice. I want to take advantage of how easily I can cross the borders that separate them from their loved ones and hopefully be able to bring them a little closer to the good of what they left behind in their search for a better life. Personally my most important goal while I am abroad—understanding the complicated aspects of Mexico and trying to better understand what makes so many people feel they need to leave behind their children to head al norte.