Tiempo de la Familia: My Profound Impact

Discuss a major personal experience, achievement, risk or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

A thousand miles away from home, I sat in a cramped apartment littered with Bruce Springsteen CDs, listening to my Spanish home-stay family talk about their day. Every evening, just before dinner, the four of us would gather for tiempo de la familia (family time). Nuria and I would chat about her friends in Oviedo. Emilio would discuss his work as a soldier. And Consuelo, the mother, listed off her errands and chores.

One night, we discussed current events in the United States. Policies and politics in the US should have been a very comfortable topic for me-- but I knew less than they did. Consuelo had to explain to me Barack Obama’s health care plan and John McCain’s energy solution. Also, she introduced to me her favorite politician, Howard Dean, and to his ideas for the future of the United States. I, on the other hand, could not even tell them why George Bush’s approval ratings were low. I realized how uninformed I was about the country where I was born and raised.

Back on American soil, that evening inspired me to learn more. For the first time, I began to read the newspaper and watch the news. I became a fan of columnists Thomas Friedman and David Brooks. While I do not consider myself a raging liberal or an...

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