(University of Texas at El Paso)
If you had asked me four years ago what I wanted to do with my life, I would probably have said, “I want to go to college.” I have never thought that I, the only female in my family, would get to study abroad.
Growing up in a Mexican family has not been easy. However, being here in Korea has made me realize that no matter what you want to do, it is possible if you have the will to do it. If you don’t have any idea about how Mexican women are expected to be, I will provide you with some brief background.
Mexico is a beautiful country, but I disagree with with some parts of the Mexican culture. For instance, I disagree that women are expected to stay as a homemaker. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against a housewife, but it bothers me that there is such an expectation. I also disagree with the idea that since a Mexican woman needs to be at home cooking and cleaning, they cannot be educated. Also, there are some families that make their children work in the streets. However, instead of working, these children need to be studying at school.
I lived next to Mexico, on the border of America, and I usually go to a city called CD Juarez Chihuahua on a weekly basis. If you don’t know, that city was considered the most dangerous city in the world from 2008 to 2012 according to Sam Quinones in National Geography website. But this time, more than the prevalent crime, I want to mention 1993 when a lot of women went missing near there.
All women who went missing back in 1993, they were young, aging between 14 to 20, and had to work because they needed to bring money to their families. These women were working in factories late at night, and when their shift was over, the only way of returning to their home was by walking, as no public transportation had been available at that time.
When a woman goes missing, witnesses would just say, “she got in a vehicle with someone,” or “she left to work with a friend.” Then, a week passes and they would find a woman’s body in the desert of CD Juarez. Authorities never really did anything to find out why these women were being killed because the police was usually involved with the majority of the missing women. Why was the government so secretive about this? Why were they hiding the real truth? Was it because the missed ones were women from poor families?
My heart breaks to know that these are my people, under this kind of injustice. Until this day, everything from tradition, culture, or even the past have shaped the mentality of Mexicans. That is why coming to Korea has been a blessing in my life.
As a Mexican woman, who is expected to find a husband and do what a “woman” is supposed to do, studying abroad had made me believe that I can achieve bigger things. My family is also seeing and accepting changes in traditional gender roles, since I am the first woman in my family to study abroad. I feel extremely proud of myself for being in Korea, and I love it, because I can grow up as an independent woman. I want to be able to go back home and tell other women how it is possible to achieve their dreams even if their nationality or circumstance may impede them from pursuing their desires.