How one student’s culture impacts his education
National Hispanic Heritage Month (Mes de la Herencia Hispana) 2016 began on Thursday, September 15 and ends on Saturday, October 15. September 15 is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence day during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12. Diversity Relations Office decided this would be a great opportunity to introduce the community to Hispanic and Latino heritage.
Jose Bustos is a Hispanic student attending Fond du Lac campus pursuing his degree in Information Technology (IT). I interviewed him to learn more about his cultural experience as a student here at Moraine Park.
Jose ethnic background is Mexican American (Tex-Mex). He is from Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, Mexico and at 2 years old, he moved to Westlaco, Texas with his mom and brother. Westlaco is a small town at the Mexico-USA border in southern Texas in the Rio Grande Valley area. His mother decided to move to the United States because she wanted Jose and his brother to have better life especially when it came to education, healthcare and there was less violence (well it was in the 80’s – 90’s). Jose has a very strong connection to his family and Hispanic culture. Every other summer he would go to Monterey, Mexico to visit them. His family background is migrant worker and seasonal work. It is how Jose moved to Wisconsin. He imagined himself living closer to Texas.
Jose was primarily raised by his grandmother and was a huge role model. His mother spent most of her time employed in seasonal (temporary) jobs; doing whatever she could to provide for her sons. Jose’s mother sometimes worked a couple states away, so his grandmother became a permanent fixture in his life. Jose’s grandmother taught him the idea of hard work.
Listening to Jose talk about his grandmother’s influence reminded me of what my father always told me. “Anything that is worthy in life, requires hard
work.” Jose encourages his son to take advantage of the services and community programs available to him. It gets harder and more difficult to get a college degree once you get older. Despite the difficulties, MPTC’s faculty and staff has done an awesome job helping Jose jump start his college career. I absolutely agree with him.
MPTC offers many resources from program-orientated student clubs, opportunities for community service projects, student life events, and chances to develop leadership skills. These are skills needed to help you stand out and supplement your résumé when interviewing for job/career once you earn a college diploma. A diploma provides the hard, work skills and soft
skills (e.g. team work) is developed through campus activities or other accomplishments done outside of the classroom.
What has Jose learned from being Tex-Mex, Mexican American and the impact on his life?
- Your goals are achievable through hard work and perseverance
- Actions have a positive effect and influence on family/friends and others in your support network especially during difficult times
- Sacrifices have to be made when pursuing and finishing your college degree
- You can’t beat yourself down every time a sacrifice is made in pursuing your goal. You need to understand this from the start of your educational career because it ensures you get ahead and not fall behind in your studies.
Most of what Jose has shared with me, reminds me of my Hispanic heritage. I am of a different ethnic culture. My mother’s family is from Panamá, so I am Panamanian America. We both share the deep family connection and good work ethics.
The Diversity Relations Office is located in the Student Engagement Center across from the cafeteria on the Fond du Lac campus. It’s a resource for both students and staff to engage in cultural support and understanding about the diverse populations served in the Moraine Park district. Diversity relations staff is also available in Beaver Dam on Tuesdays and in West Bend on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If you are a student who would like to share a story about your cultural experience, please contact Lilly Beavers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post written by Lilly Bavers, Diversity Relations Student Advocate