Monday, April 1, 2013

Education for Kids, Consumers, and Teachers

This week started off great with a visit to the Escuela Particular Normal Superior “Lic. Benito Juarez” in Cuernavaca. This is a university for students who aspire to be teachers in a school setting. The purpose of the visit was to meet with students and exchange educational experiences between the United States and Mexico. We broke into small groups to discuss education systems, a movie we watched called “Waiting for Superman,” as well as our cultural differences. The most impactful experience for me, however, was being part of a panel representing the United States education system and my own educational experiences. I shared with them my experiences in high school and college and the cost of education in the United States. It was wonderful to exchange ideas and answer important questions.

Social work students exchanging experiences with Mexican teaching students.

This week was also the first week of internships for Augsburg Social Work students. CGE Mexico places students at a variety of agencies/organizations based on their interests and where need is present. These agencies focus on women’s reproductive and sexual rights, care for senior citizens, and school for those with cerebral palsy. I am currently interning at Centro Educativo La Buena Tierra, a school that serves a marginalized community in Cuernavaca. I work in the Kindergarten and on a typical day, I help serve the students breakfast, assist teachers in the classroom with lessons, and play with the students, of course. I am truly enjoying my time at this agency and am looking forward to learning more about their relationship to the community.

On Friday of this week we had a talk about fair trade to prepare us for a future talk from the Artesanos Unidos (Artisans Together). According to Fairtrade International, “Fair trade is an alternative approach to conventional trade and is based on a partnership between producers and consumers. Fair trade offers producers a better deal and improved terms of trade. This allows them the opportunity to improve their lives and plan for their future. Fair trade offers consumers a powerful way to reduce poverty through their everyday shopping” (“What is fair trade?” Do you shop fair trade when you have the opportunity? If so, where and why do you choose to purchase products with the fair trade label?

-- Natalie Newberry


  1. Another exciting photo -- neat to think about the school social work and environmental social work -- "person in environment"!

  2. It had not occurred to me that the international students would have the chance to tie these huge political issues into their social work learning while away. Fair trade practices have a real and tangible impact on the lives of people living in countries where business and labor practices are so different from what we expect here in the States. I am so excited for you all to have this experience and see the intersectionality of the identities you bring, in contrast or as they align with those of your hosts. The integration of this experience into your practice values will have far reaching implications. And I would also bet that you will have a whole new awareness as a consumer regarding the sources of products you use!

  3. You blog makes me super excited to go to Mexico! Your internship sounds like it is amazing and everyone is really placed in places in need. Quick question, do they place students based on their Spanish proficiency as well? It is really exciting to be able to share opinions on the education system and also learn about other countries educational system as well. I think it is great to be able to share from ones experiences and be able to get a sense of culture through the experience of being able to intern at a school. And to respond to your question of fair trade, yes I do use it! But not often. I was just at Seward Co-op last night with my uncle and he uses it frequently! I also go to ginkgo coffee shop at least once a week and they are fair trade! And everyone once and a while I go to electric fetus. I feel like there are not many places that does this, but quite a few in the twin cities. But I think that is is awesome that fair trade is being tied into your learning experience while in Mexico!