YOU ARE HERE: IVPress HomeCollectionsBrawley

Orozco returns to France as U.S. citizen

May 22, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

The following paragraph, read three times as fast as normal, is a rough example of 22-year-old Pablo Orozco's speech pattern.

"Some of the study-abroad students have gone to Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, and, of course, France. There are upcoming trips planned to Italy and England. Sometimes we get sponsorships. Wells Fargo sponsored our trip to France. They gave us backpacks. The program coordinator at SDSU is Miriam Ungson. She's a good person to talk to."

His words fly in bursts. Perfect for the French, Spanish and Catalan he will be using in his new job.

"They speak fast in France. That's the biggest difference between there and the Imperial Valley. The first week you are there it is very hard to get used to. I had a hard time picking out some words and I still have trouble with some slang words."

A short breath.

"In the southern part of France, where I studied, they spoke an entirely different type of dialect called ‘langue d'Oc.' "


He paused for a beat.

"I picked up a lot of it by the second week."

Orozco will take advantage of both his ability to adapt quickly and his unique patois while working at a tourism office this summer at La Grande Motte on the French Riviera.

The San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus international business major got the opportunity by following on a lead after completing a three- week study abroad program in France last year.

On Tuesday, Orozco born in Mexicali, took the oath of allegience in El Centro Superior Court and became an American citizen.

He joined more than 70 people from five countries in the ceremony.

The first thing Orozco said he was going to do with his citizenship document was get a passport.

He'll use that passport when he lands in France in June.

He will miss the Imperial Valley summer and will work in a tourism office where beautiful women from all over the world will ask him questions. He'll hang out in cafes, buy baguettes for fresh sandwiches and drink wine with dinner.

"Yeah. That will be nice," he said with a smile.

During his first three-week stint in France he studied international communications and took seminar classes on such topics as e-commerce and French history.

Of the group of eight who went to France in January 2000, he is the first to return.

"Three weeks wasn't enough," he said.

His upcoming trip will last three months and Orozco is looking forward to soaking in more of the French language and culture he picked up the first time.

Won't he miss fresh salsa, Mexican food that doesn't consist of ground beef and his home towns of Brawley and Mexicali?

"Three months isn't too long," he said.

Orozco was born traveling. He came to Brawley when he was 5 to attend school and has been moving back and forth across the border for most of his life.

His mother, Irma Orozco, moved to Brawley after he was born and his father lives in Mexicali.

He has two younger sisters who went through Brawley schools.

Orozco said it is his family he will miss the most when he is in France.

His mother always thought her son was special.

"But she's my mom," he said with self-effacing aplomb.

"No really," she said. "I taught him how to read when he was 3," said Irma Orozco, a former elementary school teacher.

At 5 he learned his second language, English, she snapped her fingers, "like that."

He continued to learn different languages in high school, at Imperial Valley College and at SDSU-IV.

He chose French in particular to study hardest at and worked with Gerald Giauque at IVC and Olga Amaral at SDSU-IV.

Orozco credits all the teachers in his life who have helped him along, including his parents, who were both teachers. His father taught a little bit of everything in Mexican high schools.

However, for Orozco it was never a situation where people forced him to practice or study.

His mother says he did it by himself and never had to be told to do his work or study.

This sort of drive helped him land the job with the French tourism department. He said he kept in contact with his study abroad program coordinator, Dominic Drillon, through e-mail when he returned to the Mexicali-Imperial valleys.

When he gets back from France he is going to finish his undergraduate work in international business. He has one class left at SDSU-IV.

"This past semester we were learning business theories, documentation and having market discussions, but I intend to really get into the specifics in grad school. I just completed an internship with the California Center for Border and Regional Economic Studies. We were working on a database that showcased Imperial Valley assets for international companies that are looking to expand here. The next semester's group is going to polish up the database."

After his trip to France and the final class, it is on to grad school at SDSU's main campus.

After that?

"I'll have a job where I get to travel. I always want to travel. Maybe in the State Department. maybe for an international company …"

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles