Guest blogger Laura K. describes her experiences starting a new life path with Mexico study abroad
Hola, Me llamo Laura.
I have made the decision to undergo a career change, and thought when better to pack up and head to Mexico to learn Spanish! I am hoping that when I return to Colorado, I will be able to use my new language skills in my next job. I chose Guanajuato, Mexico because I had heard from my family as well as a friend who did a study abroad through the University de Guanajuato that this was a great town filled with educated people, beautiful buildings, and was safe for a woman traveling alone. This next month will be a growing experience in many ways, sure to be filled with cultural experiences, difficulties expressing myself, time to think about what I want to do with my life, and new friends.
I arrived in Guanajuato, Mexico where I met up with my dad who is retired and traveling with his friends. We spent a day in Guanajuato (GTO) in order to find my school and the location of my host family. I was pleased to see that my family lives about a three minute walk from the school and that the neighborhood is friendly and well taken care of! Shortly after, I left with him to San Miguel de Allende, which is another town near the mountains about an hour away. It is known for its weather and art, and many expatriates now call this town home. Unfortunately, the perfect weather has yet to show its face! It rained for four days straight! We were still able to see the town, albeit soaking wet, and I was impressed. There is a magnificent market where people sell many items, from blankets to jewelry to chicken feet. I ate a chile relleno in the market at a little stall, so happy to be here where spicy salsa is everywhere!
I returned to GTO on the day before classes started and met my host family and another student from Japan that also lives with them. We each have our our little apartment-style rooms in their backyard with our own bathrooms, que suerte! I tried to embrace my family with an open mind, and go along with their customs and traditions. A couple things I have found that are different than home are that they eat their biggest meal at three in the afternoon which consists of multiple items, and that a handshake is not the proper way to greet someone (one kiss on the cheek). It has been easier than I thought to accomodate to their family. They have a Beagle and a cat which makes me feel at home!
I was beginning to feel alone, and I couldn't express myself how I wanted to, but thankfully starting school has led to friends, better Spanish, and a couple chances to speak English (I know, I know, I´m supposed to be learning Spanish!).
I have class from 9am to 1pm this week and a couple times a week there are free classes in the afternoons to learn to salsa dance, cook typical Mexican food, or mingle with the other students. It was hard the first couple of days, I started to second guess why in the world I had boarded a plane by myself to live in a country where I knew no one and was not confident in my language skills, but I am happy to say I am slowly gaining confidence and know this will be an immense opportunity for personal growth and change.
Guanajuato is city I believe I will greatly miss when this is all over.
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