Everyone has their own story of how they arrived at college. For most, including myself, the story is fairly simple. Many students live in their hometown, go to one or two schools, graduate and attend the college of their choice given the circumstances. For current junior Hector Rios, however, the journey was a bit more complex since he was born in an entirely different country.
“I am from Mexico City. I was born in the metro area there. It’s about 30 minutes away from Mexico City. I moved here in July 2012. My dad worked in Huntsville for several years before we decided to move. Since I was taking my last year of middle school, my parents thought that it was the best thing for us to start a new life at that moment.”
As one would imagine, there are quite a few differences in living in Mexico and the United States. While discussing the topic, Rios emphasized the difference in culture here.
“It’s a different culture. There are different ideas. There are different ways to see life. There are different mindsets between the United States and Mexico. You have more freedom to do whatever you want here. You also have more economical liberties.”
Rios’ adjustment to a new culture was not easy, but he was able to get out of his comfort zone over time. After going through that experience, Rios noticed a key factor in enjoying a new place is communication.
“The advice I would give to foreign students coming to Auburn, the US or anywhere would be not to be afraid of what people are going to say about you, your culture, the way you speak or the way you look. All of that doesn’t matter at the end of the day. You shouldn’t be afraid to speak to people because I made that mistake for a year, and I regret it. I refused to talk to people. I think the more you speak, the more you practice your English and the better you get at it. People are going to make fun of you, but don’t listen to them. It doesn’t matter.”
After living here for a few years, Rios has noticed a lot of benefits to living in the United States and going to Auburn. He pointed out the professional aspect as a major focus.
“My favorite thing about being here is I have more opportunities. After studying here at Auburn, employers will look at my resume and degree with much more interest whenever I decide to go back since I studied in a different country, and I am fluent in more than one language. It gives you more opportunities to succeed in a professional way and also in a personal way.”
Now that Rios has adapted to a new culture and college life, he is ready to focus on his career. He is currently a media relations intern with Auburn Athletics, preparing to do what he loves most.
“I am a journalism major. My goal is to be a sports journalist. I want to write about soccer. I may want to write about other sports as well, but I’m focusing on soccer the most. My ultimate goal is to work for ESPN. That’s been my dream for several years now. I hope I can get a job in the media and do the things that I like. The ultimate goal would be to work in Europe and cover all those soccer leagues, tournaments and all that stuff more closely. I hope I will be able to reach that goal someday.”