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Puebla, Mexico: Spanish Language, Art, and Mexican Culture by Taylor Adam, Community, Environment, & Development major, Watershed & Water Resources, and Environmental Resource Mangement minors

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Posted: January 26, 2016

Through this trip I gained a new home and a new family.
Monte Albán, Prehistoric city and view of Oaxaca

Monte Albán, Prehistoric city and view of Oaxaca

I went to Mexico once before my study abroad trip. But during that earlier visit I was in Rivera Maya, where I visited tourist attractions and spent the day at the beach. My trip to Puebla, Mexico was completely different. I experienced a new culture and learned to call Mexico home.

Our trip began with a small tour of the city of Puebla. In the historic district we explored the central markets, the central plaza, and the Catedral De Puebla Mexico. Many historic sections of Mexican cities resemble European cities due to the heavy Spanish colonial influence. On our third day in Puebla we met our host families who we would be living with for the next six weeks. I immediately feel in love with my host parents. They did not only provide a roof over my head and a constantly full stomach but they provided me with love and showed me their Mexico.

Our first night with our host families we all gathered together for dinner. This was my first time eating authentic Mexican food. Of course we began with tacos. This was the beginning of my relationship with Mexican food. After a free weekend with my Mexican family our classes began. We were studying at Universidad de Iberoamericana Puebla. At the university we were all taking three classes. The classes covered Spanish language, art, and Mexican culture. To be able to practice and experience what we were learning in class we had three planned field trips. These trips aligned with the material we were learning in class and provided us the opportunity to fully understand and experience the curriculum. Our three trips were to Oaxaca, Mexico City, and Cuetzalan. Each trip was different and showed us the all the wonderful aspects of Mexico.

The Oaxaca and Mexico City trips were filled with art, museums, history, and culture. In these two trips were able to visit the grand Mesoamerican cities of Monte Albán, Teotihuacan, and Tenochtitlan. We experienced the indigenous history of the nation. We then toured museums, churches, and artwork that depicted the colonization of Mexico and the mixture of Spanish and indigenous cultures that created Mexican culture.

The trip to Cuetzalan was completely different. Cuetzalan is a small town on a map appears to be very close to Puebla but in reality was a three-hour drive through mountains and valleys. Cuetzalan is a primarily indigenous town; the language most commonly spoken is Nahuatl. We began the trip by visiting a school. We brought donations for the children and of course played soccer all day. These children came from families that spoke Spanish and Nahuatl and often-lived far distances from the school. After a wonderful life-changing experience at the school we had a day filled with ecotourism. We hiked through valleys and mountains, swam in waterfalls, and explored caves.

Besides our adventures in Mexico, my host family really made my Mexico experience wonderful for me. They were always helping me practice my Spanish. They took me only little trips in towns surrounding Puebla. Once they understand my passion for agriculture and the environment they took me on visits to volcanoes, farms, and the larger flower nurseries in the town of Atlixco. They showed me their Mexico, which I couldn’t see in classes or on field trips. They also made sure my stomach was always filled with delicious Mexican food.

Throughout this trip I was able to practice skills I already had and gain new skills. I have always described myself as an adaptable person and this trip allowed to me use this skill. During the entire trip I was adapting to the neighborhood, the customs, traditions, and environment. I was able to adapt and become more a part of Puebla and the culture. During this trip I learned to become more open and independent. I had to become open and accepting of the daily life and customs of the Mexican culture. This openness allowed me to immerse myself in a new culture with full respect and willingness to learn. Independence was a skill I needed to quickly gain and immerse myself in. I did not have the resources I have in the United States and I learned to adapt to this and become more of an independent individual.

These three skills alone I would definitely describe and explain to a future employer. They are skills that are necessary for any work environment and specifically the fields I would like to go into. I would explain to future employers how this experience provided me the opportunity to be in uncomfortable situations and learn how to react, adapt, and be open-minded. I would explain that I was able to immerse myself in a new culture and was able to call this new place home.

Studying in Puebla, Mexico changed my life. Through this trip I gained a new home and a new family. I feel lucky to have two homes in two different countries. Siempre amaré Mexico – I will always love Mexico.