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Student story: Overcoming cultural obstacles to college

The speaker faced concerns about leaving their Hispanic community for college. They questioned if it was the best way to serve their community. By gaining education and experiences, they realized they could make a more significant impact on social issues and stay connected to their culture.

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Video transcript

- One of the tensions that does come up with leaving home in particular, is sort of feeling as though you're not going to be tied to your cultural background. This is particularly important for me because I grew up in an area that was very Hispanic and that was very Mexican. There was a big Mexican culture. Even amongst my friends and my peers there was not a big culture of leaving. I have to say that most of my best friends, most of my fellow students and all my family they had in the United States was also in California. This small, like little pocket. So because of that, that was a bit of a concern and to be quite honest, it's followed me a little bit into college. Of me always thinking and questioning, "Is this the best way to serve my community? "Is this the best way to stay true to who I was before?" But what I have realized, especially in conversations with a lot of professionals now, is that by leaving and getting this education I am able to acquire the skills and necessary resources to actually enact lasting change. So for me in particular, a lot of issues about social justice and working class conditions and immigration are very important to me and very much colored my experience back home. Now having left and having seen how the other side lives and also interacting with people who are in these very powerful positions, I get a better sense of how can I actually make meaningful impacts back home than actually just having to live there. I think at the end of the day, that is something that is very helpful for me to overcome that concern, "Did I abandon my culture? "Did I leave it behind? Did I forget that I was Mexican?" Because I feel like having left and having gotten these experiences I'm in a much more better position to make meaningful impact back home.