I’ve been back in the U.S. for two weeks now. Even though these two weeks have been filled with happiness and relief because I’m back in the city with my family, they have also been filled with an intense longing for Mexico. I’ve come to realize that I miss a lot more than just the colorful streets. I also miss the woman who sold us elotes on our way home from school and I miss the way it felt to stroll through the streets and appreciate every feature of Mexico City. But besides making me want to return to Mexico, all of this longing has made me realize the impact my experience abroad has had on me.
Studying abroad in Mexico has done so much more than make me miss the country and its people. I think the most significant thing I gained was an even stronger desire to work with the immigrant community. After experiencing both the U.S. and Mexico, I now understand how hard of an adjustment it must be to arrive in the U.S. as an immigrant. Even though they are neighbors, the two countries feel like completely different worlds, and to some extent, they are. I noticed this the instant I stepped out of O’Hare airport in Chicago and thought that if I felt this way, I can only imagine the shock and astonishment a Mexican immigrant (or any immigrant) must feel when stepping foot into this country. As a nation of immigrants, the United States should support all immigrants to make sure they can achieve the goals they have set out to pursue. Studying abroad in Mexico has made me more passionate about this issue, and it is something that will definitely impact my future work as a physician.