Moving From Mexico to Kalamazoo is a Life Changing Experience

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Alexa Barcenas studiously works on her geometry in third hour. She is practicing hard and getting the hang of it. Photo Credit / Audreanna Dunton

Imagine moving thousands of miles away from your hometown, the place you grew up, made all of your childhood memories and made strong relationships in. Traveling brings stress to almost everyone. When traveling results in a wide variety of changes for you and your lifestyle, it brings a whole new level of stress.

Recently, students and staff have welcomed freshman Alexa Barcenas as an exchange student into our school. Alexa has temporarily moved to Kalamazoo from San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, which is in Central Mexico and was voted best city in 2013.

Not only has Alexa been welcomed into the Loy Norrix family, but into the Kalamazoo community as well. As Alexa made her way through her first week at her new place of education, she noticed a lot of differences, especially with the climate, education and transportation. While Alexa has been getting acclimated to such a different lifestyle she is enjoying the change.

“You can’t walk anywhere. It’s a big enough city that you need to take buses or drive cars to where you want to go, which makes it hard to explore the city when you can’t drive or don’t know where the buses are,” said Alexa.

Alexa’s hometown differs quite a bit from Kalamazoo as well. Alexa opened up about all of the differences she has come face-to-face with since being here.

“It was a very small, it’s very touristy, and it’s a very artsy place as well. There are lots of museums and stuff like that,” stated Alexa.

Alexa explained that the transportation methods in Kalamazoo vary a lot from those in Mexico. Not only do transportation methods shock Alexa, but also the size of the school.

“There are 15 hundred people, you need a map of the school on your first day, there are 2 floors, 2 gyms, a pool and different wings,” Alexa said. “In Mexico, there are 20 classrooms for primary, secondary and high school. This includes the lab, computer class, art class and offices.”

Alexa is beyond surprised at how different life is in Kalamazoo than what she is used to in Mexico. It isn’t the easiest thing in the world to make such a huge transition. Her personal life outside of school has really changed too.

“It’s different here because I’m living with people who aren’t my parents, so I’m still getting used to that a little bit. We built our house in Mexico, so it’s not completely tiled floors and everything like that so it’s weird to have a proper house,” stated Alexa.

“Kalamazoo is a public school, it’s only high school, the common language is English. There are electives and only five classes a day,” Alexa explained. In Mexico, however, Alexa’s school day differs greatly. There are not as many classes and it is not as big.

Not only does the size and environment change in school, but so does the daily schedule.

“It was still a little boring, with much longer days because there are more classes so it felt longer,” explained Alexa.

Alexa is very surprised about all of the differences between Kalamazoo and Mexico. As Alexa continues to get used to her new lifestyle, she is excited to meet new people, create lasting memories and learn. Alexa will make the journey back to Mexico in June.

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