Teaching English in Monterrey, crossing the usa/mexican border

After a few days of workshops in Dallas, it was finally time to go to Mexico. We were all excited to teach English and to get out of Dallas. For many of us, it was our first time to America’s Southern neighbor.

mountain range in Monterrey, Mexico- Hugo Morel

As we got on the bus, we had no idea how long of a bus ride we were in for. Once about 8 hours passed by, we arrived in Brownsville, Texas. A border town with lots of social problems. The atmosphere completely changed, you could cut the air with a knife. The city looked very poor, broken houses everywhere. It was as if, we were in another country and not the USA. The people walking on the streets looked very tensed and scared. This was completely another world.

border guards, Hugo Morel

Once at the border, the air became thicker. All the guards had semiautomatic guns. This was not a laughing matter. The border control made us get out of the bus and checked our bags on a white table, as shown in the picture above. As one of the guards was checking my bags, I looked him in the eye by accident. The other two were quick to put their hands on their guns. It was as if, I was some type of criminal. The lives these guards live, there is not much smiling. I didn’t felt love here and I only sensed hate mixed with fear.

USA/Mexican border on Christmas day, Hugo Morel

After the scare from the border control, we passed through the border. On Christmas day, we were finally in Mexico. You can see the differences and it was heartbreaking. A lot of women showing off their bodies on street corners. There were a lot of men just sleeping on the floor with a look of despair. The hopelessness in people’s face, made us realize how lucky we are to be Americans. Seeing all this, made us want to teach even more.

another shot of the Mexican mountain range , Hugo Morel

We finally arrived to where we were going to teach, the University ofΒ Tecmilenio. Unfortunately, they did not allow us to take photos of the school or the classroom. As the classes started, we saw the looks in the adults’ faces. Their faces expressed friendliness and warmth. As we taught more English, their faces lite up and English was finally clicking. This experience was so amazing. A lot of the adult students, invited us to their homes. The stories they gave us really touched our hearts. Many of them, have seen crimes unthinkable. Coming to the USA, for a lot of them, was their only way for a better life. The rest that will stay, learning English is needed to getting better jobs. This was one of the most memorable experiences on my travels.

outside view of the school we taught, Hugo Morel

Thank you for taking you time to read this post. Drop a like and a follow. Much love!! Love you guys so much! Next we will be heading to Cambridge, Massachusetts for my friend’s graduation at Tuffs university and explore Boston!! Take care and stay healthy!!

57 thoughts on “Teaching English in Monterrey, crossing the usa/mexican border

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  1. Amazing experience you got there! Certainly an eye-opener for a sheltered one like me. Am always looking forward to your next post. Have fun, and do be careful!

  2. Welcome to Brownsville! Yes there is a lot is a lot of tension an corruption there. I was raised close by, south Texas is a totally neglected region much is due to the tragic history and the fact that these people are unrepresented by the Texas government (racism). I feel for the people they have been used, taken advantage of disregarded as human. Border crossing by the way were not always so bad, they became more intense in the last decade, we used to cross with simply showing a state ID. I think now you must present a passport? I have not crossed since it got so bad.

  3. It reminds me of when I got my first visa to the Czech Republic after I arrived in 2004. For reference, I’m a Canadian.

    You can’t apply for a visa inside the Czech Republic, it must be done at a Czech embassy outside the country. The closest one to me was the one in Bratislava, Slovakia so I went there.

    There were about 30 or so people waiting for it to open when I got there. At opening time, a guy came out and said “If you’re from Russia, Ukraine or another former Soviet country, make a line here. Everyone else, come inside.”

    I was one of two people to go in, the other guy was Mexican and the irony wasn’t lost on him. We got some pretty dirty looks from the people in the line as we went in.

    The embassy people explained to us that they had to be that way to people from those countries as there was a huge industry there for forged or otherwise dodgy paperwork and they had to be so much more careful processing them.

    On a slightly later time scale, before the Czech Republic joined the Schengen Zone and there was still a check at the border with Austria, I was taking a day trip to Vienna.

    When the bus was stopped at the border, the Austrian authorities noted there was a guy on the bus from an African country. They swiftly decided that all the non EU citizens had to get off the bus and have their passports scrutinised more closely.

    I felt bad for the African guy not only as it turned out his paperwork was all well in order and he was perfectly legal in another EU country, but also because he got some dirty looks from other bus passengers as if it was somehow his fault for adding nearly 30 minutes to the trip.

    1. Man that is tuff. That african guy had nothing to do with the racist border officials. I really wish this sickness would spreading. We are all humans of the same race.

      1. I’m not sure the Austrian border officials were racist or just being robots following a memo of some sort. They didn’t give dirty looks to anyone and were pretty mechanical in how they went about things.

        Still, why the other bus passengers would give a dirty look to a guy who obviously had no control over the matter was irksome. People just really don’t think sometimes.

      2. So true! They are just following orders. Robots programmed to do as they are told. Yeah, it is awful. People don’t care really they just care about themselves.

  4. Awesome read! Can’t believe you went through all of that crossing the boarder and still managed to be focused enough to teach. Great writing πŸ™‚

  5. Wow. It is so good that you were able to go to Mexico and teach some English and see what living conditions are like there and share it here. Even though I live in Australia, Donald Trumps racist remarks about Mexicans have been getting airtime here. It seems like you have such a good heart and wanting to help people. Take care xx Rowena

    1. Donald trump is a horrible man. Most mexicans are oppressed by the cartels and they just want to have a good place to raise thier children. Please don’t let that monster represent what is really happening in America,even if media loves him.

      1. The media here doesn’t love him. We had a politician here in Australia called Pauline Hansen and she was like that. You feel embarrassed and concerned about how people overseas perceive your country.

  6. I remember border crossings like that… and not even just in the time before the fall of the Iron Curtain. Teaching English to other people helping them to better their lives must be a great experience. I’d love to do it – sadly I’m not a native speaker. πŸ™‚

  7. It is so interesting to visit another culture, another place, another people… and see how they live. It’s truly eye opening to walk in another’s shoes, even if only for a day. Great read and thank you for sharing your experience!

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