History had hardly held my interest throughout my elementary schooling. It was something I was forced to read about in dull textbooks and learn through boring lectures. I simply was not interested and I did not see the point in learning about something that happened many years ago. As time has passed, however, I am starting to understand the value of learning about the past. And then I realized that Latin American history interests me the most. Why do I feel more compelled to learn about the countries of Latin America than my own country at this time in my life? I feel like I chose to major in Latin American Studies because of the strong connection I feel towards my roots. I wanted to understand that connection and to give it life. That is why I became so interested in the history and culture of Latin America, especially Mexico, the land of my ancestors.
I realize now that to understand the people, you must understand the history. In a way, those people that I will meet in Irapuato will be what their history has made them. This makes me wonder about myself. I must be the product of the history of two countries, part of Mexico’s history and part of the U.S.’s. I hope that our common history will help us bond and become friends. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” Regardless of whether we see it or not, our lives are shaped by events in the past. Understanding the history of Mexico will help me understand the people of Mexico.
Knowing their history will lead me to better understand the opinions they have about certain things and whether some past conflict with the U.S. has had a great effect on their opinion about my country, myself, and the work I am doing out there.