On the second day that we were in San Juan, we went to a ceremony where all of the aspects of the society of San Juan were in attendance: the governer of the state as well as other high ranking politicans (imagine Mark Dayton coming to an event that celebrates international students coming to Winona!), the deans of the university in San Juan (imagen the deans and president of WSU coming to an event to celebrate international students coming to Winona!), the teachers in the K-12 schools, students, dancers, singers, speeches, newspapers and television stations.

Throughout the trip, I have been surprised and made speechless by how accepting the state of San Juan has been to us.  The students have been late to almost every event on the account of small logistical problems, but these important people have been patient; sometimes waiting for an hour before we even show up, can you imagine Mark Dayton or other local politicans having that much patience for a group of international students?  On Friday, not only did the Vice Governor (imagine Yvonne Prenter Solon) wait an hour for us to get to a dinner, just for us, but he also stayed at the dinner until it was over, three hours later!

This means that San Juan is going out of their way to have a connection between San Juan and Winona.  There are many simularities between Winona and San Juan, and the differences are small and interesting at worse.  Both citys could greatly benifit from this “intercambio” (exchange).  There is an opportunity for Winona State students to study abroad at a great public university in San Juan, and the same for students in San Juan.

Not only are there future benifits to this possible partnership but San Juan and the United States share a deeply rooted history.  We both have a lot we can learn from each other, and many opportunities to interact and work together in the future.

-Harrisen Ornes