Perhaps nothing exemplifies culture shock more than coming to Minnesota from South America in the middle of winter. Vanessa Mernies, of Montevideo, Uruguay, has done just that.

Perhaps nothing exemplifies culture shock more than coming to Minnesota from South America in the middle of winter. Vanessa Mernies, of Montevideo, Uruguay, has done just that.

Mernies teaches English as a second language in her home country, and she is visiting Minnesota this month as part of a cultural exchange program. “Two weeks ago I was laying on the sand on a beach in Uruguay; so this is quite a change!” she laughed.

Patrick Moore, of Montevideo, MN, picked up Mernies and brought her back to Montevideo. One of the first things he did was to take her on a tour of the city. She said: “It was shocking for me when Patrick took me to see the statue of Jose Artigas, and it was covered in snow! I asked him to stop so I could take a picture; seeing the hero of my country covered in snow... you can’t imagine how shocked I was! I had to send a picture right away!”

Mernies works for the National Center in Uruguay, for which she is an Academic Coordinator.

“This is my second year as coordinator, but I have been teaching for 19 years,” she said.

Mernies explained about what her job entails: “We have 38 educational branches in the country, in different provinces. I am responsible for coordinating ...

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