VIDEO: Messy Mundo, A Colombian in Colombia
Hi everyone my name is Ysa, a travel vlogger and a Colombian-American living in Colombia for the first time ever! Being raised in the United States, it was always hard for me to fully understand my Colombian roots. Having this opportunity to teach in Colombia has really opened my eyes to the adventures and challenges of living in this beautiful country.
My Story and Inspiration for Teaching in Colombia
Though I always considered myself Colombian, I am finally learning what that truly means. If you come from a multiracial/multicultural background I am sure you can relate to my story in this video! Yay for celebrating who we are and where we come from!
What I’ve Learned So Far
Culture Shock is Still a Thing
Honesty, I think I was a little naive coming into this. I thought I would be ok because I have visited Colombia so many times in my life, but I don’t think any amount of familiarity will prepare you for living in a new country…obviously. Although, it was not so obvious to me at the time.
There are definitely things about Colombia that remind me of home, which is awesome and lovely, but when the bus doesn’t go where it says it’s going to go, and you can’t see the doctor for a few days if you’re sick, or when the boys at school think it’s ok to ambush you around corners and try to kiss you, your culture might get a little shocked. But just as every drunk girl fighting with her boyfriend has said; “If you can’t accept me on my worst days, then you don’t deserve me at my best.” And hey, it’s true. I still accept you Colombia, I even still love you. Just try not to throw up all over me.
Coming to Terms with Being Called a “Gringita“
As much as I wanted to come to this country and just be Colombian, that is not possible. I kind of have a Colombian look so I can blend in on the street ok, but the minute someone finds out I’m from the United States it’s all, “I could tell!” I’m actually coming to terms with the name “gringrita.” I mean, only the nearest and dearest to people’s hearts here, get a semi-rude nickname.
Getting to Know My Colombian Family is the Best Thing in the World
I’m so lucky to be placed near where my family currently lives in Colombia. Being able to visit my grandma and aunts and uncles on weekends is amazing. I mean, one, my grandma’s apartment has a pool and two, they give me free food. Also, it’s pretty awesome seeing them more than once every few years.
Miscellaneous Emotional Lessons
This is just what I’ve learned in the first couple months. I didn’t go into how I’m a pro at fighting with taxi drivers, or picking out ripe avocados, or recognizing every reggaeton song under the sun. In all seriousness though, this experience is shaping me and changing me in all the best ways. I really think the coolest part is that I get to internalize anything I learn here and claim it as my own. I have roots here. I am becoming more Colombian, every day.
About the Author, Ysa Buitrago:
I vlog about my travels, and when I’m not globetrotting, I’m talking to you guys about how, when and why to do it! Come for the tips, stay for the good times. Check out my YouTube channel, Messy Mundo, to get inspired for your next adventure abroad!
Want to start teaching abroad in Colombia?