As an international student from Honduras, I was not really exposed to different cultures or backgrounds growing up. Coming to Brandies was one of the first times I realized I am a minority, and I got to befriend many people from different places and cultures. I grew up only seeing people with my skin color and similar complexion for the most part. When I arrived in the United States for college, the culture shock was pretty big for me. Transitioning to this environment and switching to English all the time was challenging.
Over time, I built my own little community within Brandies that made me feel a bit closer to home. I have learned so much from different cultures, languages, backgrounds, and communities during my time here. At Brandeis, in class (mostly my politics classes) and through conversations with other students, I have learned how race impacts so many layers of our lives, which I have used as the foundation for the knowledge I have built at United for a Fair Economy.
Minority groups are disproportionately disadvantaged when it comes to the economy, the healthcare system, and the education system. My identity in terms of ethnicity is not something I paid much attention to while I was in Honduras. Everyone I interacted with was Latino; I was not a minority. I have been in the United States for two years. Over that time, I have gotten more informed about what it means to be a first-generation Latino immigrant in the United States and what it means – the good and the bad – to be part of a minority group.
I feel like I have really grown during my time at United for a Fair Economy. At first, I was nervous about engaging in conversation with United for a Fair Economy staff and offering my help to people. Now, I can confidently say that I have bonded with some UFE staff members and can network with them and offer my support.
Since my last blog post, I finished the Conversation about the Economy series and the Avila Retreat Center interviews. I am working on the Storytelling Project, a series of interviews with workers in North Carolina. My supervisor, UFE’s National Communications Director Richard Lindayen, and I meet at all steps of the video editing process to brainstorm and discuss ways in which we can improve the video. Editing and working on the Storytelling Project is a joint effort between him and me, and what makes the process and my work experience so great is the amazing communication we have. The workers are mostly Latinos, which lets me learn more about the struggles Latinos and Latin-Americans face in the economy.
I plan on going to the Boston office a lot more to strengthen my relationships with my colleagues and to seek more opportunities in projects I could help with and get involved in. I have really enjoyed my time at UFE and am glad I still have a few weeks left!