A Whole New World

A resident of Oregon his entire life, Michael Jonsson’s world was flipped when his family moved to Mexico for a year


Michael Jonsson on his first day in Mexico City. While living in Mexico City, Michael Jonsson experienced cultural shock because of the differences between Mexico and Oregon.

Michael Jonsson, junior was not ready to leave West Linn. Still, he had no power to change the situation as he watched his parents pack up their house and prepare for the year long move to Mexico City.

“I was upset because I knew all my friends lives would go on without me. Even though my parents promised I would be returning my junior year of high school.” Jonsson said. On Jul. 19, 2014 the Jonsson’s packed up their house and headed for Mexico city.

Although the move was hard, Jonsson knew he had to put his best foot forward to survive his year in Mexico city. His parents Maria and Thomas decided on the move to help make their children more cultured, relying on their cuban roots and bilingual abilities to help them transition into Mexico. “It seemed like a pointless move to me, it was random and I knew my life would be changed.” Jonsson said.

Jonsson attended an all boys private school that was completely in Spanish. As if the culture shock wasn’t enough, not being able to understand his classmates and teachers quickly became a big struggle. “I was shocked by how people acted, the way everyone talked and the way the school looked was so different from West Linn.” Jonsson said.

“I had taken spanish 3 at West Linn high school and that helped a bit, but nothing could really prepare me for being stuck in an all spanish speaking place for a whole year,” Jonsson said. “I was a good student at West Linn and I remember being so shocked and sad when I realized I was failing almost all of my classes in Mexico.”

Jonsson was able to visit West Linn two times during the year, in November and April. “I stayed with my friend and it was refreshing to see nobody forgot about me. But going back to Mexico after visits was hard,” Jonsson said. “The streets in Mexico City were dirty and the whole place looked so different from Oregon.” Jonsson said.

Jonsson still keeps in touch with the few best friends he made in Mexico. “Mexico was hard to get used to but I’m glad I went. It is so different from West Linn.” Jonsson said. “Making friends was hard but I still keep in touch with the friends I did make.” Jonsson said. “The culture shock was so crazy for me last year, but I’m glad I went. Everyone should be educated on the world.”