Four months have come and gone, leaving the students scrambling, finishing papers, packing their newly acquired items (donating many things that people don’t have room for), and visiting our favorite spots for one last time.
We have done so much and grown as a group and as individuals.
Final evaluations were done for our classes and the program as a whole, logistically wrapping up our academic life in Cuernavaca.
Migration and Globalization students, Social Work Students, Interns, and Staff on the Last Day!
The final projects were a main theme of the week. I personally holed myself in the computer lab hoping to integrate what I had learned over the course of four months into a 10-15 minute presentation. Videos were being filmed, interviews were conducted, pictures were gathered, and power points were being put together.
The presentations are meant to be brought back to United States and shared with a proposed community, whether it is the university’s study abroad program, the Social Work department, or a specific agency that could gain knowledge from our experiences. A popular theme of the presentations was focused on the cultural differences between the Mexican/Latin American populations and the United States and how to approach those differences. This knowledge was something that the students gained through direct interactions with the people in Mexico along with readings that advised the reader how to work with the specific populations maintaining the Social Worker/client relationship.
The day of presentations was a good way to cumulate our experiences, academic and otherwise, inspiring and allowing us to bring back the information gained to our friends, family, students, and other citizens in the United States.
The final facilitated day of the program the interns Christina and Julie led a group session in which we addressed the issues of culture shock and re-entry. We did role playing and discussed what to say when someone asks you in passing “Hey how was Mexico?” We then participated in a graduation ceremony in which the program staff members gave a final commencement address, and handed out diplomas.
After the graduation ceremony we had a BBQ and picnic and then free time at a water park. The water slide was very popular with the students and interns, inspiring a long train down the slide, and initiating many bruises on our elbows.
Our last night was spent packing, guitar playing and enjoying our last moments together in the house. I had an early flight along with another one of my classmates and friends, so we said our goodbyes at five a.m. with a lovely wake-up call going from room to room. It is an adjustment back to the United States culture, not hearing Spanish every day, and not seeing the same people we have lived with for four months, but I am looking forward to summer and sharing my experiences with anyone who will listen.
Integrate, Share, Learn, Travel.
I hope you enjoyed reading the blog, and now it is time to talk to your family member, your friend, your colleague and listen to their stories.
We have learned and experienced a lot, and now you have the opportunity to gain knowledge and perspective on a different culture and way of life.
-- By Bridget Staloch