This was our first week here in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. There are seventeen people in the social work program and six in the globalization and migration program. We all live in the same house together: Casa Verde. There is about four people in each room and we have to share bathrooms as well.
We have spent a lot of time getting to know one another through activities, get-to-know-you games, ice-breakers and open discussions. Not only did the students partake in these activities, but the staff did as well. It gave us a chance to get to know everyone better and become more comfortable with one another.
One activity that we did as a group was called “Ladders of Inference.” We discussed how making inferences is like climbing a ladder. The more and more we assume about others, the further apart we become and separate ourselves from them. For me personally I am glad that we learned this and became aware of this concept, especially since we all come from different walks of life and have different life experiences.
Katie, Ty, Katelyn, Amber:
From Augsburg to Mexico!
We have even had time to explore the city a bit this week. We went to El Mercado and did a survey to see the costs comparative to the United States. We also have gone out to some clubs and bars to experience the night life of the city. I really enjoyed the bar Los Arcos, because there is live music and salsa dancing.
This week we also had several speakers explaining and sharing their thoughts and experiences on the Mexican culture and migration to the United States. One speaker we had come in also happens to be the author of one of our textbooks. We discussed the difference between low and high context cultures. It was interesting to hear her stories on the differences and to learn how these opposite contexts can interact and/or conflict with each other. I found it rather interesting that I see myself as fitting into the high context culture better (which happens to be the Mexican/Latin American culture).
We got a good start on looking into these topics and they helped prepare us for Ixtlilco el Grande, where our rural homestay is next week. We had several meetings about our trip to Ixtlilco; we discussed the possibility of bucket bathing, scorpions, lack of privacy, cultural barriers and much more. It will be an interesting experience for me; especially since I am a city boy at heart.
View From Behind Casa CEMAL (The House Where We Eat)
Throughout this week, we have learned that there are going to be times when we may be uncomfortable in a situation, but it is a part of the culture shock we face being in an environment different than our own. As we prepare for our trip to Ixtlilco, we have been reminded to observe the differences; we don't have to embrace them or like them. It's all a part of the experience.
--By Ty Dahlke