One thing that I really admire about the students I've had here in Mexico is the way that they get along so easily with one another. Of course, they also drive me crazy at times when they're getting along together in Spanish while I'm talking to the class or when they're supposed to be completing an English conversation activity. But for the most part, it really impresses me how they can just immediately connect with one another with really no trace of awkwardness. I like to mix the students up in class and have them work with different partners every day, and I really like how they get excited to find out who their partner is and how easily they'll start working with someone they might not already know. I guess it's because Mexican society is so social -- people are always out walking around, hanging out in public parks, or going to a social event -- so it doesn't freak them out at all to meet new people. In fact, they love it. And the students don't seem to form cliques like they do in the States, so anyone can make friends with anyone else, regardless of how jock-ish or dorky they are.
I thought of this today when I walked to my classroom and one of my students was sitting on the bench outside the room eating a chocolate bar. She said 'hi' to me and offered me a bit of chocolate so I sat down on the bench for a moment. Another student in the class then walked by and she stopped him and asked: "Hey, companero, want some chocolate?" So he said "sure," sat down, and the two of them just started chatting away like old friends. "I've seen you in class -- what's your name, anyway? Where do you live? Oh yeah? Do you know so-and-so?" And they went on like that until it was time to start class. I thought it was pretty cool.