Culture

Latina Moms Will Probably Hate This, But Studying Abroad Is The Best Thing You Could Do

One of the most amazing opportunities that come with college is being able to study abroad. Unfortunately, there are a ton of reasons why most of us choose not to study out of the country (*cough* mom, I’m looking at you *cough*). UC Merced student, Camerina Morales decided to just jump in and go for it and these are all the reasons why she’s glad she did.

Most students are terrified to even apply because mom damn near had a heart attack when you went to college *30 minutes away from home.* Now, imagine what she’d say if you tell her you’re going to another country.

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CREDIT: CAMERINA MORALES

One of the first internal struggles Camerina faced when deciding whether she wanted to study abroad or not was having to tell her parents.

“They never said yes. My mom and my dad both were completely against it. They just didn’t think it was necessary. My mom said, ‘you’re already going to a university, you’re already away from home, why do you have to go further across the country to get the same education that you’re getting here.’ And my dad had told me that it was very selfish of me. They just never said yes.”

And even if you get your parents’ approval, there’s still another huge problem – money.

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CREDIT: CAMERINA MORALES / FACEBOOK

Being able to afford studying abroad, especially in a place like Europe, was really difficult for Camerina and her family.

“I worked the entire summer before going and got some financial aid, but I still didn’t have enough money. I was able to pay for my flight and pay for my first two months there, but after that, I just couldn’t. I didn’t have money. And my parents obviously couldn’t afford to finance me. It’s not that they didn’t want to help me, they just couldn’t. For them it was a burden.” 

And this money problem only got even worse towards the end of her trip:

“I got my wallet stolen when I was there and it was my last amount of money. So when that happened I called my mom and she was freaking out. To be logistical, I took around $4,000, and my girlfriend still helped me with over $1,000. If it wasn’t for that, I would’ve had to come home because I had no money, and I still had another month and a half abroad.”

On top of the financial burden, there’s also the fear of traveling outside of the country for the first time, but most of all, the fear of traveling alone.

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CREDIT: CAMERINA MORALES / FACEBOOK

Before studying abroad, Camerina had never traveled outside of the country, which was something that scared both her parents and herself:

“My mom was worried about what was I going to eat, what was I going to do and she thought it was super dangerous. I was very nervous, but also excited. I didn’t have anyone. I was going to a completely different country where I knew nothing and no one.”

Traveling alone only becomes more difficult when you’re extremely close to your family. Homesickness hits hard and there isn’t much you can do when you’re thousands of miles away.

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CREDIT: @CHEERISCAM / INSTAGRAM

As much as Camerina enjoyed her time abroad, there were many special family events and holidays that she couldn’t be a part of because she was out of the country:

“It was harder in the end than it was in the beginning, because at the beginning you’re super excited, so the adrenaline beat my fear. But towards the end, towards thanksgiving, I was already waiting to come home, and it got bad. Thanksgiving and all of my family’s birthdays are what I missed. It was my grandpa’s birthday and it was around 4am in London and 8pm in LA and that was really hard for me. I also missed my little brother’s birthday which really hurt me.”

But no matter how hard it gets, studying abroad is definitely one of the most eye-opening, enriching, and rewarding experiences you could go through.

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CREDIT: CAMERINA MORALES / FACEBOOK

Even though this trip wasn’t easy at all, Camerina doesn’t regret one bit of it:

“I don’t take it back. I struggled a lot, towards the end especially. But studying abroad gives you that experience of traveling. I loved the different environment, speed of life, different foods. I learned compassion, responsibility, communication and most of all, vulnerability to the general culture and public of being in another country.” 

It’s something every college student should take advantage of while they’re still in school.

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CREDIT: @CHEERISCAM / INSTAGRAM

If she hadn’t studied abroad, chances are she would’ve never gotten the chance to travel at all:

“I would’ve never been able to travel with my family. Even though my mom is a citizen, with everything that’s going on right now, she would never leave the country. And my dad works every day, so he can’t skip a day unless he hires someone to do his job, but he can’t afford to do that. My parents have only flown to Mexico once and that was like 21 years ago, and they’ve never gone again because of money. And now, they’re especially not going because they feel restricted.”

And if your parents think you’re being selfish or inconsiderate, remember that college is a time to discover, enrich and challenge yourself.

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CREDIT: CAMERINA MORALES / FACEBOOK

Before studying abroad, there were a lot of things that Camerina felt unsure about:

“I learned so much about who I was and who I wanted to be. Before going abroad I was very conflicted on what I wanted to do after I graduated, I thought I wanted to be a teacher my entire collegiate career and turns out my passion is elsewhere. It switched up my path but allowed me to realize that my future remained somewhere else.”

Ultimately, it was a huge learning experience that she will never forget.

“I learned to be healthier, far more independent and I found myself so much happier after being there for only 2 months, so my growth after 3.5 months was immense. I learned about the type of people I knew I wanted to surround myself with for the rest of my life.”

So no matter how many reasons you can think of as to why you can’t and shouldn’t study abroad…You can. And you should.

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CREDIT: CAMERINA MORALES / FACEBOOK

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

“This was something that was very hard for me to do, but I did it. I think that if I did it, and I’m super family oriented, and my parents said no, and I was super financially restricted, then anyone can do it.” -Camerina


READ: This Top Latina Athlete Is Refusing To Run For Her College Until It Fixes Its Racism Problem


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An Abuelo Got A Hurtful Note From Bad Neighbors About His Decorations And Latino Twitter Came Into Comfort Him

Things That Matter

An Abuelo Got A Hurtful Note From Bad Neighbors About His Decorations And Latino Twitter Came Into Comfort Him

@goldenstef / Twitter

We are rarely more defensive than we are for our abuelos. The viejitos have always been there for us and seeing them treated unkindly is just heartbreaking. That is what one Twitter user experienced after her abuelo got a wretched note about his decorations outside his home.

This is the horrid letter left for @goldenstef’s abuelo by undesirable neighbors.

The letter, which is filled with misspelled words, calls the abuelo’s house an example of a “low class Mexican family.” The letter was written anonymously by neighbors and delivered to the abuelo in an attempt to shame him into changing his decorations. One of the most bizarre moments in the letter is when the angry author criticized the homeowner for having too many American flags claiming he isn’t patriotic and can’t fool the neighbors. Like, which one is it people?

The Twitter user followed up with photos of the house to show the decorations their abuelo has out front.

People flooded the Twitter post with comments supporting and sending love to the abuelo. Fellow Latinos are ready to stand with the abuelo and some just want the names of the people behind the letter so they can talk to them. Some people are stunned at how far the author was willing to go out of their way to be mean to an old man who just wants to decorate his home and front yard.

Latino Twitter wants to come together to let the abuelo know that his decorations are adorbs.

We need to come together to give her abuelo all of the wonderful decoration we love. Let’s turn his house and front yard into a showcase of all of the greatness that Latin America has to offer.

People are falling in love with this viejitos yard.

Honestly, this is a great yard. Who wouldn’t want a yard like this? This yard is original and adorable and worth all of the praise that we can muster. Thank you to people like this for making their yards something unique and worth seeing.

@goldenstef wants everyone to know just how much they appreciate the sweet messages about their abuelo’s yard.

It costs nothing to be kind. It is even better when you can be kind about something someone clearly cares so much about. Who cares if someone decorates their lawn a little too much. At least they are having fun with their lives and that is something we all need more of right now.

READ: Latinas Are Sharing Their Most Treasured Memories Of Their Abuelos And It’s Exactly What We Needed This Month

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Latinas Are Sharing Their Most Treasured Memories Of Their Abuelos And It’s Exactly What We Needed This Month

Fierce

Latinas Are Sharing Their Most Treasured Memories Of Their Abuelos And It’s Exactly What We Needed This Month

Buda Mendes / Getty

When it comes to celebrating our Latinidad, there’s no denying that Latinos need much more than a month to celebrate our accomplishments, cultures, and contributions. Still, since 1988, people across the country have used Hispanic Heritage Month to commemorate the contributions of Latin Americans in the United States. This month, just like every other month, we’re recognizing and celebrating our Latinidad by sharing stories and moments from our followers.

Recently we asked Latinas on FIERCE to share their memories of some of the most influential Latinos in their lives: their abuelos.

Check out their sweet stories below.

“Ayy mis abuelos; I truly believe they were my soulmates. So many favorite memories. From my grandpa waking up early to start praying and writing his devotionals, to them sitting on the back swing HE MADE praying the rosary, playing backyard baseball with him & my cousins, my grandma sitting outside watching while croquets, watching novelas with her, they were the loves of my life, the sunshine my soul always needed to be happy….I’ll never trade any of my amazing moments with them. My angels; Catalina y Felipe Sustaita.” –melannram

“My abuelito passed away almost 10 years ago now, he was sick ever since I could remember so I was never able to make memories with him. Earlier this year I got to visit the rancho in MX where he raised my dad and tios. A little back story, I have this belief and connection to white butterflies. Whenever I see them or they cross my path I am convinced it’s my abuelito telling me that he’s near or watching over me🤎 anyways, on our way to the ranchito which I had only visited once before when I was about 4, we were guided by these hand sized white butterflies, it was absolutely beautiful. My abuelito really lead us to his casita in the rancho. I could feel his presence and happiness that his grandchildren had the opportunity to visit his home 🤎 this is my favorite memory, this is the memory that I cherish,
– a memory that brings me joy.” –sandra_larios

“Seeing my grandpa make my grandma a cocktail when she came home from a long day at work. He would leave her cocktail for her on the kitchen counter, so it was the first thing she’d see when she walked through the door. They taught me it isn’t always grand gestures, but a lot of the small ones that count.allimae2011

“My abuela started losing her memory early on but she always remembered the story of how she met our Abo until the day she passed. I was the type of kid that kind of resisted learning spanish, but hearing her tell those stories in her beautiful Puerto Rican accent made me fall in love with the language in a way I had never before. I owe my love of spanish and story telling to her. She was a wonderful story teller and I’ll always hold the fondest memories of sitting in her terraza with her 70s furniture, drinking cafecito, and talking about the man who made her fall head over heels in love.” –
alfonsina_mj

“Hearing them talk in the kitchen, drinking their coffee while listening to boleros.”- mel_aguirre1

“Making homemade tortillas with my ama.” – alwaysdulcee

“My Cuban 🇨🇺 Abuelitos riding in the back seat of their Mercedes and watching Abuelo open the door for Abuela every time. My Mexican 🇲🇽 side was making tortillas with Abuela and Abuelo teaching me to drive his truck. At 7 years old!” – brigittecasaus

“Making tamales for us just because.” – angierivera4265

“Cruising with my grandpa, building a studio with grandpa, changing the oil, tire, battery and learning to pump gas with grandpa. But my favorite one, him teaching me to read a clock with a song.” – 2ev37

“Meeting my grandma for the first time when she came to visit us in the US. I was 4 years old! It was so exciting because I would only speak to her in the phone and to finally meet her was a blessing. She was such an amazing lady ! She passed away 7 years ago. I wished she and I could of seen each other more often.” –_lizzylivvy28

“I would sit down on the little old sofa in our living room with my abuelito. He would tell me stories about him when we was younger. I always loved it when he would tell me the story about how he met my abuelita.” –
emigandar

“My grandparents weren’t together anymore, but they we’re 2 special people. My grandpa would always call at the crack of dawn on my birthday. I hated it as a kid, but loved it as an adult. And I’ve missed them the last few years of his life. My grandma would make our birthday cards and send them via mail. When we’d get them they would always be different. I miss those A LOT. They were always personalized and she knew details about the things I was going through so she made them specific to that. It was so special the little things they did for us. We lost my grandma 7 years ago and my grandpa a year ago in July.” –e_bonita89

“They raised me so having coffee with both of them. Eating watermelon with my grandpa and then reading together. Watching old movies together then taking naps. My grandma and I love watching novelas and then talk about them. I still walk with her to 26th street (little Village) or to our nearest aldi.” –melyssa.1997

“Mi abuela used to wake me up on weekends. She would enter the room singing “buenos días su señoría mantantirulirula”. She used to give me a hair brush, and while she was opening the window she would say “brush your hair hija, so the sleep will go away. I opened the window for it to go”. I would brush my hair and convince myself that I got rid of my sleepiness. My grandma is 90 now, and she’s still magic like this.” – iamevyi

“In 7th grade I missed the bus, and I hated missing school, and I cried the entire day because I was scared my parents were going to yell at me, and my grandma stopped my dad before he came in and told him what happened and how it was her fault I missed the bus, because she accidentally unplugged my alarm, even though it wasn’t true.”-
tinnaafaceee

“When my daughter was 6, I took her to visit my grandparents in Mexico. We arrived to the airport at night. It was crowded, a little disoriented, my baby seemed nervous as we were going through customs & she asked me “what if Grandpa can’t find us?”, Just then I saw movement through the large window ahead of us, it was my Abuelito, elbowing his way through the crowd, waving and smiling at us. He was always there when I needed him.” –magpieinaz

“Abuelos? Don’t have them. (Bad joke) They passed before I ever got to meet them. My parents never really talk about them, I think it’s too painful. I often wonder if there are any traits I have from them or if I do anything that my parents might say, oh she got that from my mom/dad. I’m happy my son has all 4 grandparents; I take a billion pictures of him with them.” –_nancysalto

melannramAyy mis abuelos; I truly believe they were my soulmates. So many favorite memories. From my grandpa waking up early to start praying and writing his devotionals, to them sitting on the back swing HE MADE praying the rosary, playing backyard baseball with him & my cousins, my grandma sitting outside watching while croquets, watching novelas with her, they were the loves of my life, the sunshine my soul always needed to be happy….I’ll never trade any of my amazing moments with them. My angels; Catalina y Felipe Sustaita ❤️

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