Opinion

Campus welcomes diverse cultures

Transitioning into college, I agonized over how my new classes would be and whether I’d make friends easily. I even tried to mentally map out the next four years of my life. Once classes began, however, I found myself contemplating a problem I’d neglected to account for: assimilating into college life without leaving my culture behind.
My family and I immigrated to this country 10 years ago, and we’ve managed to adopt American culture without estranging ourselves from our Cuban roots. Coming to the University of Miami was like entering a melting pot of cultures: I found myself surrounded by food, music and languages foreign to me. I started to worry that I’d have to change or omit aspects of my own culture in order to fit in with my new schoolmates. But as I made more friends, I realized that each of us was in the same exact position – starting from scratch, separated from our cultural communities.
However, I realized that UM is as resourceful as it is diverse. I found tons of clubs dedicated to maintaining each culture’s vibrant presence on campus. Beyond that, campus events, such as Hispanic Heritage Month activities, Garba and Chinese New Year, allow students to enjoy aspects of their culture that they may have thought were left behind upon coming to college. After asking peers about how they’ve been able to preserve their culture, I realized that most students joined clubs particular to their culture and even keep mementos to remind them of home and their identities.
Perhaps the greatest thing about these campus events is that they are open to every student, regardless of cultural affiliation. This is incredibly important because not only do we get to enjoy our own cultural events, but also we can come to know and enjoy our friends’ as well.
Here at UM, I don’t have to disregard my culture at all. Since arriving to campus, I’ve become even more aware of my heritage and feel proud to be able to share that with everyone on campus.

October 30, 2013

Reporters

Melissa Hurtado


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