Natalia Pic


    by Natalia Riveros

    Everyone has their own perspective of life and also the country that you are living in. Most of the people were born without their own perspective of life - their family guides them towards their perspective thinking that it is the only ideal way you can think about life. In this world we have a lot of misunderstandings. We all learn that from school and also in our daily life we see how a different point of view can change a person, a family, friends, a city, a country and even the whole world. 

    My understanding of life was built by my daily routine and the basic perspective of  “ we are a third world country” “we don't have opportunities even if we try hard.” Everyday, I could see kids on the street with nothing , people dying because it is so hard to have an opportunity. I had to see close friends without enough money to eat and even working underage. I also lived in similar situations hoping someday to get the chance to have a better life. I saw everyday Venezuelan people walking for days trying to have a better life as well. This life that I had, changed my mind a lot, and also changed my community’s point of view. We study so hard, high school is nothing compared to the United States’ high school. We don't get the chance to choose what we want to have or what classes we want to take, everyone takes what the government tells us to do. We grow up with the thought of going to college, everyone goes to college, it is not an option. We don't have the opportunity to get our own car at the age of 16, not even in a dream we called it “American style” or “just in the movies.”

    Coming here from Colombia has blown my mind in the way I have never expected. I thought I had a really open mind but in reality I didn't. I couldn't interact with the people surrounding me. I was scared to get lost and not be able to find a place that feels like home. Not knowing the language was the hardest part of living here. Not being able to communicate, share my thoughts, and ideas made me feel left out. At that time the only thing I could do was observe American culture. It was difficult to understand them without understanding the culture. 

    Many foreign students struggle with finding friends and also finding their place in the United States. At the very beginning I wanted to go back, I was really sad, I wanted to give up so many times but I didn't. I realize that in here there are so many opportunities and we can have a better life than going back. Everything I went through was worth it, every single struggle made me a stronger person and now that I look at my new self I wouldn't do anything different, even if it was hard. This helped me a lot and it is helping me right now.

    Being here showed me how different cultures are depending on where you live. It is difficult for them to understand my perspective when I don't allow them to understand. I was only focusing on the bad things but I never try to think of things in a good way. Sometimes you have to be alone to understand that not everything is about you. Not everyone is going to understand you or have the same perspective as you.

    As my perspectives were changing, I also started becoming a new person , a new version of myself. All my plans changed. I am not going back to my country after finishing high school here. I am going to stay when I never thought I was going to. I never thought I was going to have friends or even have a boyfriend here. Now everything is different. All of my ideas about myself and how I was going to be are no longer my reality. Now the way I see life and think about the future has changed. This country has changed my perspective. This is a new life that I started to create for almost 3 years. I look at the old me, and I have noticed how much I have grown, and how much I have learned.

    Now I am working in a Mexican restaurant as a waitress, which I have learned a lot from my customers, and also the cultures that surround me. I have been translating since I started working there. Some people don't speak English so I am there helping them to understand. There are also some customers who only speak Spanish or want to speak in Spanish, so I am always there to help them and make their lives easier. I am also an ESOL student and I help new students around the world to understand and get familiar with their new home, also by translating or showing them how everything works so they can have a better understanding.