Sharing Stories From Home
Midland International Students Educate FHS Students on Life in Other Countries
When it comes to sharing stories from his homeland, Mario Bueso always finds one common theme everyone wants to hear about – the weather.
“They all want to know about the weather,” Bueso, a native of Honduras, said. “It’s completely different than it is here. The coldest it gets in my home city of San Pedro Sula is 75 degrees. The first time I ever saw snow was when I came to Fremont.”
It’s one of many stories international students from Midland University have been sharing with students in Patricia Sulu’s Spanish classes at Fremont High School. Bueso is one of seven Midland students who are taking part in the program this semester. Bueso is joined by Christian Sanchez (Venezuela), Yamilie Lopez (Puerto Rico), Carlos Covo (Colombia), Luis Vargas (Ecuador), Victoria Cruz (Mexico,) and Matthew Ricci, whose father hails from Argentina. Five Midland students participated in the same program during the fall semester.
Sidney Hirsch, Director of Student Development with Midland University, said students from both schools benefit from the exercise. “We are always looking for ways to get students involved in the community, and it’s been a great experience for both our students and the Fremont students,” she said. “I’ve sat in on their sessions, and it’s been awesome. I’ve learned a lot.”
Sulu said each student will present about three times during the semester, for about 30 minutes each presentation. Students will talk about the weather, food, politics, economics, and various other topics from their homelands. “The international students are so personable, and my students feel they can relate to them because they are near their age,” Sulu said. “They each have a PowerPoint about their country so we can see things from their perspective. At the end of the semester, many of our students wrote about the experience of listening to them.”
Covo relishes the opportunity to speak about his homeland. “It’s always fun for me and a good experience to represent my country,” he said. “When things happen in my country, whether it involves athletes or musicians, it makes me proud to talk about it. People get to know the good things and the bad things from my country. No matter where you are from, it’s fun to learn about other cultures, points of view, and ways of life.”
Vargas said the presentations broaden horizons for students who might not understand what life is like in another country. “I grew up in Ecuador, and we learned a great deal about other countries in South America,” he said. “With the United States being so big, they might not learn as much about other places, so it’s a good reason for us to present to them.”
Bueso is hopeful that one day many of the students he is visiting with will have the opportunity to get a closer view of Honduras. “I think it’s important to share where you are from and explain the differences in other countries,” he said. “It makes me happy to know they’re interested. It’s a very beautiful place, and one day, I hope they can go for a visit.”
Sulu is grateful her students have been able to share in what life is like in other places. “The experience that my students have with Midland University students emphasizes the importance of learning another language and also the importance of learning about each other in our world,” she said.