Thursday, April 19, 2012

Amatlán Homestay: Part 2

My homestay is in the same community as my internship. I teach ESL to people in the community. Also, if they are planning on migrating, I can help find resources in the U.S and Canada for them. I think this has been a great way for me to be involved in the community. I can go to peoples' homes and sit and talk with them for hours. In many ways, I still have to build a lot of trust with people and some of my longer goals would take over a year to really see the progress. I’m the outsider and I think in many ways that can be ok when doing research, but I have to be aware of the fact, that I’m not living in Amatlan to write reports and do research about migration. I want to emerge myself in the culture and really learn from the people around me. I think I’m extremely blessed to have met so many wonderful people on this journey. I have made some connections for life. I have realized how to really open my mind and take the time to grow and learn from the people around me. I have found ways of being more flexible and passionate about whatever the day brings my way.

I have always loved to help people, that's the reason I decide to go back to school. While studying social work in a Mexican context it’s obvious that everyone has really expanded on his or her abilities.

Many people think of social work as being some agency job where you sit at a desk in some office building. But this experience has shown me that we as social workers have to really be involved in the community. Many times what communities need are resources and money but they don’t get adequate funding. So your own skills and talents are what you need to bring to the community. I have seen many people in Mexico, that our in poverty and lack basic resources like water, land, food and shelter. So you have to be willing to use all your tools in your toolbox. I think one of my best tools is I know how to build things and like to work with my hands. 

By Dylan Peterson 


  1. Thanks for sharing your "hands on" experience, Dylan -- I loved the account of the birth of the calf and the smiles greeting new life! Hola to all!


  2. Dylan, I think it's great that you are seeing social work in a new way. As someone going into community social work it is encouraging to hear about the successes and growth that you are seeing in that community. It’s so important to educate yourself with the resources offered and needed in the community you plan to work with. In my opinion you need to live next to the people you want to work with. You need to work as a team. Also, if you live in the community you are trying to improve you may have a stronger sense of urgency because it is affecting you personally. Superintendent Michelle A. Rhee enrolled her children into the failing school district she represented to remind herself every day of the work that needed to be done and importance of getting it done immediately. Sometimes as social workers it’s easy to think of our clients as “them”. We need to keep an “us” mentality.

  3. Dylan,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I can really see it has been an eye-opening one. It seems that you have been doing some self-reflecting and this is a quality that is important for every future social worker should have. In Professor's Rodenborg we talked about praxis and the importance of writing down what you have learned in order to learn more about oneself. I am glad you are using this concept in Mexico it seems that it is a more meaningful experience because you are constantly self-reflecting. At one point in my life I also use to think that being a social worker was doing office work. However, I have realized otherwise social work is about the people and Dylan you are learning with the people. I hope you enjoy the rest of your experience in Mexico. I miss it there!

    Halima Abdulkarim

  4. Sir Dylan,

    It sounds like you had a super time on your trip. I like how you touched on what social work is really about. The resources! Social work is all about providing resources to people in need. I think it is great how you said you are going to incorporate your own skills and resources to help people find citizenship in the U.S and Canada. You are going to make a great social worker. keep up the good work.

    Zaurean Nickens

  5. Dylan, I really enjoyed reading your blog. And thanks for sharing with us your experiences. I can see that you have been doing a lot of self-reflection; we also have been doing a lot of that here as well. It’s imparting as Social Workers to always self reflect and thank deeply of our thoughts and behaviors. The better we understand ourselves the healthier we will be to help our clients. Keep up the great work .

    Halima Adan