International schools: Colegio Internacional Terranova

International schools:
Colegio Internacional Terranova

“He who knows the other and knows himself, in a hundred fights will always win; he who does not know the other but knows himself will win once out of two; he who does not know the other and does not know himself will always lose.”
Sun Tzu

Throughout the last 6 years, I have had the opportunity to interact with more than 100 students coming from different parts of the world, from Germany, France, Korea, Japan, to countries as remote as Sri Lanka.

This has been a great learning experience and a great fortune, which has allowed me to open my mind and my heart, and to generate a special empathy for people who have left their country to live a new adventure.

I have learned to identify very well the famous culture shock curve.

Culture shock in action Terranova

Every time a new student arrives I can feel their excitement, combined with nerves, and the happiness that everything is new and different. However, for everyone there comes a point where they experience the culture shock moment, which is when they start to miss home, the food, the weather, etc.

For the younger students, i.e. kindergarten and elementary school, it only takes to make one friend to make their world happy again and find a motivation to enjoy school and their life in Mexico.

For the older ones, I would say that they find a “crush”, they start to like someone, and, with a little luck, they are reciprocated, and then life smiles at them again. This is in addition to the fact that they find new friends who share similar tastes and can create their social circle.

“Culture is the collective programming of the human spirit.”
Olivier Soumah-Mis

That is, from the moment you are born, your entire environment influences the way you behave and view life, it is absorbed and learned.

No one teaches you the distance you should keep from the other person when talking, or if you should look him in the eyes or not, however culturally it is different in a country like Japan, which keeps a lot of distance, in Mexico, on the other hand,the first time we meet, we throw ourselves into a hug.

All this is part of who you are, and it stays with you all your life; you might know other cultures and adopt customs that you like, but deep down your essence does not change. The most important of all this is to recognize the importance of “learning” from others before making a judgment, when the kids first arrive, and they are not familiar with the way of socializing in Mexico, they may feel invaded in their space, or feel that
the treatment is too affectionate, this is normal, with time they realize that it is a cultural issue, and the most surprising thing is that when they return to their country of origin, it is what they miss the most; and even they find it hard to adapt to their original environment.

For all my international students Mexico represents a great experience, many friends, learning, and warmth.
They always leave a little piece of themselves here, and they take a little piece of our hearts with them when they return.

Rocio Zurita
International Student Department Coordinator

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