On August 24, I leave for Mexico. I won’t be back to the United States for nine months. When I first found out I had won a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grant to Mexico, I was ecstatic, and I have been eagerly anticipating the start of this adventure all summer!
I’ve been dreaming about the many delights that my grant year in Cuernavaca, Mexico will bring: glorious year-round 70-degree weather; extraordinary eating; teaching university students about life and cultures in the United States and learning more about those of my host country; forming new friendships; and traveling to new places.
Now that the time has come, however, I am experiencing a completely different set of emotions. I feel insecure about communicating with my limited Spanish skills, apprehensive about finding a place to live, and unprepared to be a teacher. Furthermore, I am mournfully facing the events and relationships I will miss at home this coming year. My heart aches to be present at the weddings of a cousin and two of my best friends and to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family.
Despite these conflicting feelings, I am hopeful about what is to come. I know this change from ordinary life has the potential to be transformative, and I look forward to sharing what I learn with you. Mexico, here I come!
Ms. Laura J. Johnson of North Park University has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship to Mexico to teach English as a foreign language.