By Cadet Carlos Andres Retamoza
My name is Carlos Andres Retamoza, and I am 16 years old. I am from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. At the age of 15, I went to live outside of my country to study at the New Mexico Military Institute. I think I threw myself into the abyss with all of the other students. It was the first time I left the country, and I did not speak the language of my new country of residence. I was going to live with strangers, and within days of arriving, I started classes within a system totally unknown to me. I came to study at the New Mexico Military Institute without knowing it was the best decision I had made in my life. Every day, every activity that I had to carry out was an apprenticeship. Sometimes apprenticeships were full of pleasant surprises, and other times they were apprenticeships full of frustrations and effort. During this period, one of the things I learned was the importance of the friends I made at the New Mexico Military Institute. Many of these people were international students, like me, who were going through the same experience that I was going through, and they perfectly understood my difficulties. They quickly became an important support network and even more, I discovered that due to the circumstances that bind you, these friends happen to become “your family” while you are away from home. There are many stories that I can tell you about the support, the laughter, the love, and the solutions found together with friends. There are many stories that happen with my friends at the Institute, and I can tell right now the importance of all of them. Having friends and knowing that I am surrounded by so many wonderful people strengthens me. Every time I have had to go through some difficult situation, I have never felt alone even though I am so far from home. That’s why I consider friends the greatest treasure you can have while living abroad.