David de Haro loves tacos — and even though he’s Mexican, he said it’s not cliché for him to say it.
“There’s no Mexican that doesn’t like tacos,” he added.
Although tacos can be found in Indianola, De Haro said food, especially his family’s food, is one of the main things he misses from his home country.
“I miss my family, but that is a part of growing, so I am not too worried about it,” he said. “I like to be here because I learn how to be independent and become more responsible. I also get to know a lot more from different cultures.”
De Haro, a junior, is from Juarez, Mexico. However, for high school, he attended Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, Texas.
While at Lydia Patterson, De Haro stayed busy. As a requirement for his scholarship to attend, he worked in the cafeteria in the mornings.
“I got up usually at 4 a.m. to get ready, I had to be at school at 7 a.m. to work. But it was a daily wait of one hour on the international border, plus a 10 minute walk from the international bridge to the school,” he explained.
De Haro said the border patrol officers could be strict regarding documentation, although he personally did not experience many problems crossing the border to El Paso.
“You learn how to take care of your things because you have to carry your passport and pretty much your future on your backpack everyday. But after four years of everyday crossing, you start to build relationships with the officers.”
Classes went from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., but De Haro then would have sports practice from 5 to 7 p.m. Depending on the day, he didn’t usually get home until 8 or 10 at night.
In addition to participating in sports such as basketball, baseball and cross-country, he also played trumpet for four years in a mariachi band and was involved in choir. His senior year, he served as class president.
One of De Haro’s best friends in high school was Esteban Sierra, who is currently a senior here at Simpson.
“After spending all day together with your friends at school, they become like your family. We practically had the same routine, so we became best friends,” De Haro said. “He first came here to Simpson and convinced me to come with him. I found an opportunity and I took it.”
At Simpson, De Haro is involved in several student organizations such as Latinos United, International Student Organization and College Entrepreneur Organization. He has also been active in dance club and given dance lessons.
After graduating from Simpson, De Haro hopes to remain in the United States to find a job. Since his student visa expires after four years, he would need a sponsor from a company that would hire him, permitting him to stay at least another year. He’s currently interning at Athene in Des Moines, but he hopes to find a job in accounting.
While at Simpson, De Haro has also noticed subtle cultural differences between those living in the United States and Mexico.
“In Mexico we are really open, we are all about community and respect. We prefer to enjoy the moment rather than being tied to schedules. We like to take our time eating, when here, everyone looks like they are rushing to finish eating and do something else.”
However, he has noticed positive things that take place on a small campus environment, such as being able to leave things out and not worry about others taking them.
He has also expanded his international travel experience, taking a spring break service trip to the Dominican Republic his freshman year.
The service projects included working on fences, painting a church and bringing clothing donations to children in the local community. “Also, we gave some of the donations to kids in an orphanage, and we spent a whole afternoon with them.”
De Haro said the experience of seeing radical poverty greatly impacted him especially since he knew when the trip was over, those children would remain in their situation. “It changed me, that really changed me.”