|José Gutiérrez at Philpott Lake near Ferrum.|
By José Gutiérrez
This exchange program was not only a great opportunity to refine my teaching skills but also to broaden my knowledge of American culture and customs. Precisely, the first-hand experiences I had last semester helped me to learn more about the culture. Thanks to television, movies and music, I had an idea of how big cities look like but I didn’t know much about the countryside. Last semester I attended some folk festivals in cities and towns like Salem, Martinsville and Greensboro, and I enjoyed the music, food, exhibitions, and crafts of the region, especially bluegrass music. I loved it! It was a semester full of first-time experiences: college football, Halloween, Thanksgiving, the fall, and lately the snow. And the cold, well, I am still working on that.
I also celebrated Día de Muertos and enjoyed the altars that students made as part of a contest. It was nice to see altars outside of my country. I have also encountered many Spanish speakers in Virginia and some neighbor states. It has not been really difficult to get authentic food from my region in Mexico, and I get to see how people have mixed their Latin American culture to the American one. Overall, this experience has made me appreciate more my culture.
|Students at the Tertulia.|