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A Foreign World

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Students who traveled over the summer to learn.

Mori+spending+time+with+kids++in+Peru.
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A Foreign World

Mori spending time with kids  in Peru.

Mori spending time with kids in Peru.

provided by: Matthew Mori

Mori spending time with kids in Peru.

provided by: Matthew Mori

provided by: Matthew Mori

Mori spending time with kids in Peru.

Most people travel to see the scenery and take the cute pictures, while others travel because they want to experience something new and some travel for love or food, but for senior Matthew Mori and junior Mckenna Lee had something different in mind. Both students traveled this summer to learn Spanish. Although they had separate experiences, they both wanted to accomplish the same goal: to improve their Spanish.

Mori traveled to Peru over the summer. He stayed for two months with his dad.
“I’ve always had a yearning to just explore. I just wanted to get out of Cypress and see what I can learn,” Mori said.
Although he was not starting from scratch on his Spanish, he felt that four years of Spanish was not quite enough.
“I was born in Puerto Rico, and I spoke Spanish growing up there. Whenever I moved to the United States, I kind of lost that, so Spanish class basically revived that Spanish in me, but me going to Peru really solidified my fluency in Spanish,” Mori said.
Not only did he learn Spanish, but he also saw a completely opposite side of the spectrum. Unlike the United States, Peru has much more poverty. This was something Mori could not quite believe.
“It was very interesting seeing the very vast and modern part of Lima, and it was very beautiful,” Mori said. “But I’d say about 15 to 25 miles outside the city, you see these slums [and] these people who are neglected by the government who are living in such sad and horrible conditions. It was hard to wrap my head around that. It wasn’t shocking but very unusual to me.”
Although this was surprising, Mori saw the people there and despite their conditions, they were still genuine people.
“I met a lot of people from all over the world, and you don’t know anything about these people,” Mori said. “It’s the first time you’ve ever crossed paths with them and I think it’s so interesting how you could build such a strong friendship with someone that you just met in a heartbeat.
After his trip to Peru this summer, Mori accomplished his goal of learning and becoming fluent.
“My Spanish improved tenfold,” Mori said. “Before that, I was somewhat competent in the language, but I could never call myself fluent. Now, I consider myself borderline fluent and can communicate perfectly with anyone about almost anything.”

Lee also had the same goal this summer. She went to Yucatan, Mexico over the summer. She traveled with a program called Amigos. Students who want to travel to learn choose a Latin American country and train for a year to prepare for the trip.
Because this was a different part of Mexico, the language was a little different. The way they spoke was not quite what Lee was used to.
“It was difficult at first because they have a really thick accent, and you couldn’t really understand them all the time. The kids especially talked really fast,” Lee said.
Unlike the United States, in Mexico they have much bigger families. Family is an important unit which is why they live closer together.
“Families in Mexico are bigger,’” Lee said. “Here, we are restrained to two kids, one kid or no kids at all, but there, everyone lives together. All the grandparents live with you, and everyone was super close.”
Spending six weeks in Mexico helped Lee achieve her goal of learning and improving on her language.
“My Spanish improved greatly, and I’m able to understand a lot more,” Lee said.
One aspect of the trip did surprise her. She was not expecting a small community to have many advancements in technology.
“I was surprised that they were actually really up to date with technology,” Lee said. “A lot of the kids actually had phones, [and] although it didn’t have service, they still played games on it.”
Lee saw a tight-knit community that truly valued their families and taught her important life lessons.
“I learned that not everything comes easily for everybody, and that humbled me,” Lee said. “Family is the most important aspect of your life. It’s not how much you own or who you’re going to marry or how rich you are. It’s the fact that you have a family and friends who love you.”

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A Foreign World