Thursday, April 19, 2012

Amatlán Homestay: Part 1

One thing I’ve noticed during my homestay in Mexico is people treat me warmly and respectfully, and they make me feel welcome. Something that I've learned is that when working with Latinos and Latinas, it will be good to inquire about the well-being of their family and to engage in social conversation before addressing the issues that bring them into the office when I'm a social worker. 

I have always wanted to live in a rural area and work in the field. So, I was excited to help when my family asked me to contribute with daily activities that needed to get done. From getting water for the cows and horses, to setting up the campsite for weekend visitors. Also, I want to return one day and help my host father construct adobe for the four, one bedroom cabins he plans one making in the upcoming year or two. 

One morning, my host father told me to come quick, “la vaca esta teniendo un bebé.” I jumped up and ran with him to the field. When we arrived the cow was giving birth. This was one of the most imcredible things I have ever seen in my life. Also, the look on my host father’s face was priceless.

When reflecting on my homestay and listening to people' stories of crossing the border, I’ve learned more about my own cultural values, beliefs and behaviors.  By listening to different peoples' stories, I have gained more empathy and I think that can go a long way, for the different types of work I want to be a part of back in the United States.

By Dylan Peterson 


  1. Hi everyone in Mexico,

    I've read through part of your blog and it seems to be a common theme that being immersed in another culture brings about realization about your own. It sounds like the time you're spending in Mexico is a great way to become even more prepared to head out into the world of social work.

    Dylan, it sounds like you've been placed with the perfect host family with your interest rural living and working the field. Its great to hear some of the things I've learned in SWK280 this semester reinforced through stories from students like yourself who are out experiencing it first hand.
    -Emerson Ball, Sophomore in SWK280

  2. Dylan thank you for sharing your experience with all of us, who never have the chance to do that. I was happy that this is something you have a chance to do. Understanding other culture is a lot harder than what people would think. I hope you the best in Mexico, take your time learning deeper about their culture.
    -Pa Houa Chang

  3. Dylan,

    It sounds like your having a great experience in Mexico. Learning through others experiences can really define your own personal values and at times challenge them. I have found it very useful to remain open and willing to listen when working with individuals of a different culture. It sounds like you've had a experience that will further define your role as a social worker. Have fun in Mexico!


  4. I loved reading your blog thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. The pictures were also great. Your host family sound really nice, part of me wishes I was there because there no better way to learning about other cultures then learning from the people of that culture.
    Halima Adan

  5. Hi Dylan,

    I am glad you are enjoying your experience. I miss seeing you all in class. It seems that you are not only learning about different aspects of social work but also learning more about yourself. Like you said through learning from others you tend to gain more insight about yourself. This is very important as a social worker, when I went to Mexico I also saw the warmth of the Mexican people they made me feel at home. I am glad you are feeling a sense of welcome. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

    Halima Abdulkarim

  6. Dylan,
    I can really see how this experience is going to shape you as a social worker in the future. I think you're learning interpersonal skills in a culture that is different from your own and that it will help you be able to adjust to a variety of different clients you'll be working with. The short time I spent in Amatlan also opened my eyes to new cultural characteristics I had never experienced before. I love how you mentioned the relevance of hospitality and making one feel welcome. I think this reflects Mexican personalismo that we've learned so much about during this semester. My favorite part of this blog was "la vaca esta teniendo un bebe"- hahhahah! I know how you are and have a feeling that this was something very symbolic and significant that happened to you during your time in Amatlan

    -Natalie Koness