Yes, Size Matters: “Everything is Bigger in Texas!”

The Texas Story Project.

“If it were not for Texas and St. Mary’s University, the most probable thing is that I would be washing dishes or being a waiter in Peru,” says Josemaria Soriano, a student from Lima, Peru, pursuing his education in Texas.

Josemaria came to Texas for the first time ever to begin school at St. Mary’s University. It was a life-changing event that meant adapting to many different lifestyle dynamics for both him and his family. Nonetheless, Josemaria loves Texas and Texan culture. “This state is a new culture for me, and it is impossible to not assimilate some Texas values. From all of them, the two I seek to assimilate are integration and conservation… I think they describe perfectly one phenomenon Texas has been experiencing since its origins. Texas is a conservative state, and most people in Texas are aware of their culture and traditions and they do not want that to change. They love football and barbecue on a Sunday afternoon. So, while most of America is constantly changing in the same trend of globalization, Texas remains the same, as well as their values. But Texans have also learned to integrate other cultures- something that pitifully most parts of the world do not know how to do. I am talking about the Mexican influence in Texan culture that join together to give the Tex-Mex culture (which is completely different than its Mexican roots). I think it is amazing that instead of fighting between cultures and ethnicities, Texans did not change their customs, but they also added the Mexican influence to their broad range of traits, which has grown into amazing cultural expressions such as San Antonio. Several parts of the world have a lot to learn about Texans and how they see a different culture not as a threat, but as a way to enrich your culture without changing it.”

In Peru, the school system is not the greatest and does not allow full scholarship. Here in Texas, Josemaria exuberantly welcomed the learning opportunities. Josemaria states, “The Lone Star state has great universities where I could pursue my PhD studies (I am a biophysics major) such as The University of Texas at Austin (which was the campus I felt in love with), Rice University, Baylor University, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech, among others. And the Texas government and industries invest heavily in science, the reason why I won’t have to worry about getting a job, which is a situation that would be different if I go back to my country since science is not that valued, regrettably. Here you have a lot of research laboratories such as UT Southwestern, the NASA Johnson Space Center, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and many others. That is the reason why Texas is not only my place for education now, but it could potentially be in the future and I will be always grateful to the lone star state and its people for that.”

Josemaria has also noted something very hard to miss by any out-of-towner, “Everything is bigger in Texas. I think there is no more accurate phrase than this.” Mr. Soriano gladly exclaims, “Not only because of its huge roads, giant gas stations, a capitol bigger than even the one in Washington, and the obsession of Texans with pick-up trucks (although they will only be used by one person), but also in the mentality, in patriotism and identity. I observe with great joy how the people of Texas love their state, something you do not usually see in other states from America (and even other parts of the world).”

From a land of Machu Picchu, alpacas, guinea pig delicacies, and traditional ponchos, Josemaria had to be willing to accept the huge mentality of Texans, along with our culture, our values, and our loyalty to the future — and he did.

Midori Flores is a first-generation freshman biology major at St. Mary’s University, born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She is aspiring to be an infectious disease doctor and a published author. Midori has created a medical product that she hopes to distribute in the market soon. In her free time, she writes poetry, hikes, spends time with those she loves, and practices break-dancing.

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