I can empathize with our students who are trying very hard to learn a second language and overcome their fears and nervousness and yes, even embarrassment. Our first experience living as expats in Mexico had taught us valuable lessons. I was a million miles away from my family and support system. I was faced with reinventing myself. As a family unit, we worked very hard at understanding and breaking down the cultural barriers that separated us. She is now studying nursing at university in Canada and, because she is fluent in Spanish, her job opportunities are endless. He was busy in his new role in the plant, and I was in charge of acclimatizing myself and my daughter to our new culture and our new lifestyle. The person working has his or her own support system at work.
If you are positive, maintain an open mind, and most importantly an open heart, your life will be enriched in ways beyond your wildest dreams. When asked what I like most about living in Mexico I say the warmth — of the people, the climate, the food, the colors and the language. I was committed to giving her an authentic experience so I enrolled her in a small private school in the middle of downtown Atlixco. The difference in culture affected us in ways I never could have predicted. Not only do you need to keep in touch with your own expat community but you need to expand your contacts into the local social and professional scenes. The inability to communicate even just basic needs was overwhelming and exasperating. My role in corporate sales and customer service is both challenging and very fulfilling. Every fall the monarch butterfly migrates from Canada to Mexico to escape the cold. My husband was employed by a Canadian auto-parts provider. Moving to another country as a family unit poses its own unique challenges. She was the tallest child in her grade, with fair skin, white-blonde hair and bright blue eyes. As a family unit, we worked very hard at understanding and breaking down the cultural barriers that separated us. This monarch butterfly has decided to stay, indefinitely. I am originally from a small town in Southern Ontario, Canada, but after almost ten years of living in this beautiful country, I now identify as Mexican — proud to be part of this culture that I have come to dearly love and respect. So, I turned to my network of friends and acquaintances. We breathed a collective sigh of relief when, after a year and a half, my husband was given a new opportunity working in the States. The key to a successful experience living as an expat is completely dependent on your attitude. My daughter was enrolled in a bilingual school and she spent her teenage years in Secundaria and Prepa forming friendships that will last a lifetime. We were in shock. She took most of her classes in Spanish, with very limited English it seemed like a good idea at the time. And I needed a job. The economic landscape of San Luis Potosi is changing at an exponential rate. But this time, things would be different. I was faced with reinventing myself. With all the different foreign companies settling here, the now common language of business is English.
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