Y'all won't believe how interesting it is as a Latino going to college in the "South."
Now, as a disclaimer, I go to college at Liberty University in Virginia. I have heard a few people claim that Virginia is technically not the South (it's more like the Middle), but from what I understand most of Virginia is still pretty much Southern. In addition, many of the students being from Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina (which are definitely Southern states).
As a Latino, I admit I had a pretty bad picture of what Southerners were like. I had a very stereotypical picture of what they were like, and it was pretty much this:
But in all seriousness, this assumption could not be farther from the truth.
So bear with me until the end, here are eight things I've learned about Southerners while going to college in the South:
1. "Southern hospitality" actually exists.
Southerners will legit hold the door open for you even if you're a dude! Southerners have been some of the friendliest people I've met. I never thought I'd be treated so well by a six foot white guy with a gun on his belt.
More than just holding the door, Southerners will welcome you into their home and treat you like a valued guest without even knowing you. They will offer you a ride and money even when it isn't convenient for them. These are just some of the examples my friends and I have experienced.
Seriously, the love and kindness I have received from these people has been amazing!
2. The term "y'all" is so convenient.
Southerners love their slangs. The funny things is that after so being here for a while I have adopted many of those slangs in my vocabulary (especially "y'all). Now, I'm a Latino who can speak English with a Southern twang!
3. They are actually open-minded.
A lot of my friends gave Southerners a bad reputation because they would label them as being super-Conservative and close-minded people.
In reality, that is VERY far from true. Those who I have met have been more open to ideas that differ from theirs than other people I know. By this, I don't mean they accept anything new they hear. It's just that most of them are open to simply talk about viewpoints and argue them in a friendly, civil way.
4. They like to learn about other cultures.
This one actually surprised me a lot. Coming to Virginia I never thought people would be so interested in my life back home. I felt welcomed. Sure, like with most people in the world stereotypes arise and it can get rather racist at times. Occasionally I even got some questions like, "How long was the drive from Puerto Rico?"
Looking back though, while some of the comments and questions were of a stereotypical nature, I was very surprised when I realized that they were saying these things not to be intentionally racist, but to actually find out if what they thought was true.
Most people in the don't do this nowadays. People will stick to their ideas about people and not even question or challenge it, but my Southern friends are always open to learn.
From the bottom of my heart I apologize to Southerners because I, a Latino minority who has been stereotyped a lot, had done the same to you guys.
But now I know. I've seen that while there many things that Southerners and I differ on in culture and ideas, we are just as human and just as crazy at heart.