„You always have to be careful“
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Alejandro Guerrero (33) has left his home country Mexico five years ago. In the following interview he talks about cultural differences, about his problems with the german language and about Trumps idea of building a wall across the mexican border.
Can you give us a short presentation of yourself please?
„My name is Alejandro Guerrero and I am 33 years old. I am an engineer and I work for Airbus here in Hamburg.“
From which part in Mexico are you?
„I am from the north of Mexico, from the city Delicias Chihuahua exactly.“
Did you grew up in Mexico?
„Yes, I‘ve spent my childhood and youth there. It was a good time, we played a lot in the streets and were outside most of the day.“
How is the mexican school system?
„Normally the kids go to the play school for three years, then they visit the primary school for another six years and when they‘ve finished the primary school they go to the secondary school for three more years. After this they have the possibility to join the high school and if they get a good graduation they can study at university. Me myself, I‘ve studied at the university of Chihuahua.“
Since when you are in Germany?
„I‘m here since August 2011.“
Where is your family?
„I have two brothers and one sister. My parents, they live in Mexiko with my younger brother. My sister lives in the USA close to the city of Houston.“
Why did you decide to leave Mexico and come to Germany?
„Because of my job. In Mexico my company offered me the possibility to go to Europe and work there for Airbus. That was a big chance for me, so I applied for this program. I had luck and they took me. So now, I work here for Airbus. This is really a big thing!“
Do you like Germany?
„Yes, but honestly I must admit that I didn‘t planned to stay here that long. The first idea was to stay here only for eight months. But Airbus asked me to join the team for a longer period. And Germany is completely different to Mexico, that‘s sure!“
So tell me, what are the biggest differences between life in Mexico and life here in Germany?
„Probably the biggest difference is happiness, I have found that Germans are not that happy or relaxed like Mexicans, is very easy to see that in the public transportation, everyone is serious and not speaking with others, if you said hello they don’t reply to that.
Another difference is the organization, Germans are very well organized and have the calendar full of activities and there is not flexibility on it and Mexicans don’t plan that much, everything is more spontaneous and they have more flexibility and give preference to family and friends. The third difference is the puctuality. To be unpuctual is definetely part of the mexican culture! Except at work! For example you have dinner with friends and you meet – let’s say at ten o’clock in the evening – it is normal that everyone comes ten or twenty minutes later. Here in Germany the people are often very busy and everything is so hectic because they all have appointments. Being late is unpolite, people really get angry with you if you are late. Another big difference is the security. In Mexico you have to be aware of a lot of things. For example you want to get money from the cashpoint: you don‘t hold the money a long time in your hands or even count it – no, you put it immediately in your pocket! And there is one thing I notice very often: German people are often pessimistic, they always concentrate on the negativ aspects. Mexicans are different, they are more optimistic.“
So then: what is typical for the mexican culture?
„For most of the Mexicans their family is very important. We are very close to our family members, we take care and help each other. In general, we spend a lot of time with our family. You know, Mexico is a very huge country, therefore the culture in everyone of the 31 states is different, it really depends on where you are and so you get in touch with different food, music and customs.“
Do you miss Mexico sometimes?
„Yes, of course I miss my home country from time to time! But I would like to stay for a few time here in Germany. But I visit Mexico once a year, usually around Christmas. So I see my family and my friends and the home sickness gets not so strong.“
How difficult is it to learn the german language?
„Yeah, this is a problem indeed. I am in Germany since five years and I still have problems with the language. First I intended to stay here only for eight month, so I wasn‘t interested in learning the language that much. At the beginning, it was more important to make friends, to get to know some people, to visit some cities. At work I speak english or even spanish, I only have a few german colleagues. But I can survive with my german outside, I can speak to the stuff in a supermarket or in a restaurant or if I have to ask for the way. I mean, I can handle the basics.“
How do I have to imagine a typical day in Mexico?
„Oh, it is completely different to a typical day here in Germany. If it is a working day you start very early in the morning, at five a.m. Then you have breakfast and go to work, usually by car. In Mexico everyone has a car, it is not so common to take the train or the bus. And at work you have more contact with your colleagues, they are more like friends. You meet them after work to have a drink. Later in the evening, let‘s say at nine or ten p.m., you enjoy dinner with your colleagues, yout family and friends. In Mexico everything is more relaxed, the people are not so stressed. And I‘m convinced that the Mexicans are more flexibel.“
How is the climate in Mexico?
„Well, it is hot, very hot. But as I said before, Mexico is a huge country, so there are regional differences, for sure. It depends on in which state you are in. For example in the northern region there is a big desert. During the day it is really hot, but at night the climate changes dramatically and becomes very, very cold.“
What about the drug war in Mexico? How dangerous is the country really?
„Oh, the situation in Mexico is completely wrong represented by the media! Of course, there i s a lot of violence, but it concerns primarily the people who are involved in the drug business. If you are a normal Mexican you live a normal, ordinary life. But you always have to be careful, that‘s right. For tourists Mexico is more dangerous than for natives. Tourists are always in danger to get robbed or kidnapped. And there are a lot of fights between the different drug syndicates with a lot of victims. But the people who get killed are all involved in the drug business. There are not a lot of civil victims.“
What do you think about Trump and his idea of building up a wall?
„Oh, in my eyes this is ridiculous! Mexico has more important and serious problems. This idea of building up a wall is only a strategy by Trump to keep him up in the media, to make him more popular. I think, no I‘m convinced, that America won‘t build this wall and that Mexico won‘t pay for it. Most of the migrants going to the USA do this by plane, so they are not crossing the border directly. And don‘t forget: Mexicans are experts in building tunnels!“
You said that Mexico has more serious problems than Trump. Can you explain this a little bit more detailled?
„In Mexico there is a very high unemployment and especially the youth has no perspectives. And the current president is – in my opinion – not good for the country. One of the main problems in Mexico is the corruption all over the country and of course, the drug war is a permanent problem.“
Can you imagine to return to Mexico one day?
„Sure, I will always belong to my home country. And I miss my family and my friends. That’s why I’m sure I will return one day, but for now I want to complete my goals, continue learning the German culture, language and taking advantage of the big opportunity to work in Hamburg in a multicultural environment.”
Das Interview wurde von Sophie Martin geführt.