Miss Southern University 2011 Chisolu Isiadinso is back in Baton Rouge after spending time in Mexico teaching English.
Isiadinso, who will be a senior in the fall, won the Miss Southern University crown April 7. In addition to winning the overall title, she was named “Miss Congeniality.”
The Baton Rouge native left May 19 for Orizaba, in Veracruz, Mexico, and returned earlier this month.
She is working on a minor in Spanish, and studying abroad was something she always wanted to do, Isiadinso said.
For two weeks, she lived with a host family, experiencing day-to-day life in a middle-class Mexican neighborhood. Three other students also took part, living with their own host families.
“It was basically us learning the culture,” Isiadinso said.
There was no air conditioning and Isiadinso had a hard time adjusting to the local food.
“I’m a picky eater,” she said.
But, the experience taught her something.
“It made me realize there are some things you can live without,” she said.
Isiadinso celebrated her 21st birthday while in Mexico. Her host family prepared a popular tres leches, or three milk, cake, and provided a pi?ata for fun.
While in Orizaba, Isiadinso was in school from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. She spent the morning hours practicing conversational Spanish, and in the afternoon, she completed her service hours, teaching English.
“The people value education,” Isiadinso said. “They want their children to learn English so they can have a better future.”
In the United States, school children typically start learning a foreign language in high school, she said.
But, in Orizaba, the elementary students could say hello and other basic English phrases. They used songs to learn the days of the week, she said.
“It’s hard for me to learn Spanish, but here they are learning English in the first and second grade,” Isiadinso said.
Isiadinso said she took advantage of as many opportunities as possible ? attending yoga and painting classes and even going to the movies - all in Spanish.
“I’ve taken Spanish in high school and college,” Isiadinso said, “but it’s different when you’re there. They have the different slang that they use.”
“I tried,” she said.
She also found time to tour the city of Orizaba, visiting restaurants and historical monuments, as well as the resort community of Veracruz.
Isiadinso is majoring in political science with the minor in Spanish. She hopes to become a lawyer.
“Maybe because I argue a lot, and I think I’m right,” she joked.
She is involved in the NAACP, Alpha Mu Gamma foreign language honor society, Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program and the Black Executive Exchange Program.
She has been named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.
Isiadinso also served as Southern University’s Miss Junior last year.