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Our readers write from San Diego, Calif.

(Editor's note: ESL teacher and executive board member Mimi Pollack sent the following introduction to her students' writing. "The students wrote short paragraphs on some of the differences between their country and San Diego/USA." Mimi's class is part of San Diego Continuing Education- CE Mesa.)

Differences between My Country and the USA, Quinceañeras

by Emma Perez

In California there are people from all over the world who have come to live in the United States. Adapting to a new culture can be hard for some people and easy for others. I have noticed that there are some differences between my country and this country.

In my country, we celebrate Quinceañeras. This is to celebrate when a girl turns 15. Mexicans celebrate it in the USA, too. Next, when we celebrate a birthday, it is a big party, with many people. Americans just have small parties with only 5 or 10 friends. Another difference is the food. In Guadalajara, the food is usually spicy. We eat tortillas, but here they eat bread. A final important difference is the idioms. Spanish and English idioms are very different.

Differences between My Country and the USA, the weather

by German Villalvazo, Mexico

There are some differences between the weather in San Diego and Guadalajara. In San Diego it is mostly sunny with little rain. In Guadalajara, in the summer there is unbearable heat and you sweat all day long. In San Diego, in the summer, it is comfortable with dry heat. In my country, when there is rainy weather, there is a lot of rain causing several mishaps. In San Diego there is little rain with nice weather.

Differences between My Country and the USA, languages and food

by Jason Pan, China

There are many differences between my country and American. First is the language. Mandarin is my language and English is the main language in America. Second is the food. In my country, there are many kinds of food, and they are so delicious. In China, there are eight major Chinese cuisines, with various ingredients. The course of cooking is very complicated. In America, the kinds of food are very simple. Finally, different cultures make different characters. In China, most people are self-effacing because of the Confucian tradition. Most Americans are more open because of the adventurous spirit.

Differences between My Country and the USA, food

by Narzedalia Cardenas

One of differences between my country, Mexico, and this country is the food. In my country, there is an infinite variety of flavors and presentations depending on the region you are in; for example, in the North of the country it is customary to eat goat and roasted meat. They eat a variety of meat, chicharron, picadillo, etc. In the South of the country it is customary to eat other food as in the city of Puebla. Puebla's "Mole Poblano" is famous as is its "Chile Rellenos." In the USA, the food is also varied, but there is a lot of fast food like pizzas and hamburgers.

Differences between My Country and the USA, health care

by Ricardo Franco - Mexico

One of the differences between this country and Mexico is health care. In Mexico, it is cheaper than in the USA. All those who have formal employment are entitled to social security and this social insurance allows you to have free medical attention, free medication, and medical operations if necessary. People who do not have a formal job can go to see a pharmacist where there is a doctor who charges very little and the medications are not expensive. In the USA, it is very expensive to get sick and you must have insurance to get help with the medical services. Many people do not have insurance and when they get sick, they have to pay a lot of money.

Differences between the U.S. and Syria

by Alshifaa Hammoush

One of the differences between my country and this country is traffic. Here the traffic is more controlled than in my country. That means I can drive more easily here. Another example of a difference is about animals. People in the U.S.A. like dogs and take care of them. In my country, they don't like dogs. Also, you can see a lot of street cats on the street in my country, but in the U.S.A you don't see any cats on the street.

Differences between My Country and the USA, animals

by Sofia Ramirez - Mexico

One of the differences between my country, Mexico and this country is the way animals are treated. In American culture, animals are considered as a part of the family. For example, Americans care for their health and domestic animals are allowed to live inside of their homes, such as cats and dogs. They treat them like their kids. Also, they travel with them. In my country, Mexico, animals are treated like animals. People there think animals don't have feelings. Also, no laws exist to protect them.