Young man smiles, poses by window.

Archery in Mexico, Ballroom in the U.S.

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By Ara Cabrera Hernandez

Joshue Adrian Fuentes Martinez is a full-time student at Oakland University where he is currently working towards a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Afterwards, he would like to get a doctorate in Occupational Therapy.

At OU, he is VP of the Ballroom and Latin Dance club, is part of the Honors College, and works at the Outreach Center where he teaches STEM classes to kids who come to OU for fieldtrips.

Adrian is “thriving” since he moved from Saltillo, Mexico, to the United States in 2014.

How was your life living in Mexico?

I was happy. I was born in Monterrey, but, as a kid, I lived in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. When I was 5, my dad was transferred to Indianapolis and we moved with him for about a year and a half. Later, we came back to Matamoros and moved to Saltillo, Coahuila. Saltillo was cool, the school was fun, and it was nice for a while.

What did you enjoy doing in Mexico?

I practiced archery every day of the week for two hours and on the weekends [for] four. I was really good. Aside from it, I took drum lessons and I also used to run. And, because school limited my time and it was easy, it wasn’t a challenge for me anymore. So, I decided to get homeschooled. This helped me to take more time into archery practice and thanks to all my hard work, I won the third place nationally in the teams round.

How did you feel when you moved to the US?

I felt really happy. When my family and I got here, we lived in a hotel and it was fun. We then moved into apartments and I had to start high school. It was then that I started to struggle. It was hard for me because I had no idea how everything worked, I would get lost and wouldn’t know where my classes were. It was also hard to make friends because here, everyone knows everyone since elementary school; I didn’t.

Three weeks later, I went to the Spanish club and met one of my good friends, and it created such a change for me, because I finally found someone from the same country, same city, [who was the] same age, and who spoke the same language. He helped me get out of my comfort zone and helped me make friends that were different than me: Different cultures, backgrounds, and who didn’t speak Spanish.

Do you still practice archery here? Do you do other things?

I don’t practice, but I shoot occasionally. Maybe once a month.

I now tutor high school students and I have worked in a summer camp for the last four years. One of my jobs now is to give workshops in STEM-related fields and tours here at OU, and I am also now the VP of the Ballroom and Latin Dance Club.

Young man smiles, poses by window.
Adrian poses for a picture in front of a Kresge Library window in Rochester, Michigan. Photo credit: Ara Cabrera Hernandez.

How has this change affected your life?

I think that it has given me confidence. I feel like I can do whatever I want, if I put an effort into it. It has also given me the opportunity to see two different countries and compare their cultures.

And I feel like people live in a bubble and don’t realize how bad things are in other places, or how much their lives can better. So, I think it’s cool that I have that perspective on the world and ability to see how things work.

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