Borderline Lesson – An Austrian Sees a Third Country on the U.S. Mexico Border

GRAZ, Austria — In my degree thesis I tried to present El Paso as a political nation-state buffer zone between Mexico and the United States, an unconventional view of the Sun City sparked by the near-omnipresence of the Border Patrol. Everything started with naïve questions to my Mexican-American roommate regarding the Border Patrol. I would sometimes see them eat tacos at the table next to mine – in the first couple of weeks after my arrival in El Paso in August 2007. What were they doing? What were they after?

From the ‘Other Australia’: An Austrian in El Paso

After a month or so of experiencing severe cultural shock and asking myself whether I had really been sent to a place within the United States, I started to regard this city as the single most fascinating place I had ever been to —both from a personal perspective as well as from a professional perspective (I am a graduate student of geography).