Week 2

2014-07-11 12.35.25 2014-07-12 12.51.03 2014-07-12 13.23.04This week has been so much better. I am feeling a lot more comfortable talking with my host family. I am asking them more questions and am better at comprehending what they are saying. I am also gaining confidence with trying to understand new topics in Spanish. This weekend we went to Mexico City, or as it’s called locally Mexico or DF. A new experience for me was the fact that at touristy places, vendors would approach you and ask you to buy something. It was weird at first because it isn’t common in the States, but you get used to saying no thanks or I don’t want anything. The whistles some were selling sounded amazingly like animal calls. I was tempted to get one, but knew it wouldn’t much interest for me for long. Also, it’s common to barter for market items, it’s kinda fun if you remember to ask for a lower price. Some vendors decrease the price if you’re interested in something when you start walking away. Also, some vendors had incense going, and smelled to high heaven. The ancient culture in Mexico is incredible and sad at the same time. The Aztecs must have been in good shape to climb all of those steep steps. I felt more comfortable going down the steps on my butt, because of a fear of heights, and it felt safer doing it that way. Visiting the museums helped me gain a sense of how the ancient civilizations in Mexico lived.

Arrival Post


Airport security wasn’t as bad as I thought, until we got to the bus station where they checked our bags very thoroughly. When I first arrived, I was excited to explore the city with my friends. When I’m somewhere new, I love exploring with friends. For the first few days we saw numerous parts of the city and wanted to see more. When I met my host family, I thought it’d be cool because I thought it’d be like living with my grandparents. As I started unpacking, I start and getting homesick because they let me unpack and left me to my own devices. I love my family, and was starting to feel alone, and when somewhere new I’d rather be with people I know. I enjoy independence, but I enjoy spending time with people, especially when I feel alone. I asked for help the next day and my host family started talking with me more, and I felt better instantly. I’m feeling better now and much more at home.

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Arriving in Mexico was crazy. After flying all night, speaking spanish to the lady at customs and being surrounded by a different culture and a different language was very difficult which makes me very grateful for the few days the other WOU students and I had to adjust to the city before moving in with our host families. Today I moved in with Laura and the first thing we did was have lunch which just so happened to be my favorite meal, spaghetti. Laura has two daughters, neither live at home but they visit and her mother is here often.

I am understanding more spanish than I thought I would and I know I will only get better as time goes by. I will start classes tomorrow but for now I have a chance to rest. So far I love it here and am looking forward to the weeks to come!

Arrival in Mexico!

After our flight was delayed for a bit in San Francisco, we finally made it to Mexico D.F. I was told before hand that the airport was going to huge and that Mexico D.F. might smell funny from all the smog, but I was still surprised to see that those pieces of advice that I was given was true. I found immigration and the paperwork a bit intimidating, but I made it through without too much hassle. Most of the time there is a blur to me because I was so hungry and tired from our long flight. Next, we took a bus to Queretaro. Surprisingly, there seemed to be tougher security and screening to get on the bus than the plane at PDX.  Even though the bus ride was a bit bumpy, the scenery was beautiful and the seats were comfortable! Finally, we took taxis to our hotel that we were staying in for the first couple of days. Traffic is crazy here! I never would have believed that so many cars could fit into such narrow streets! We managed to make it all in one piece to the hotel and today I moved in with my host family.


My plane from PDX to SFO preparing for passengers!


On the bus to Queretaro!



Goodbye Oregon, Hello Querétaro!

Today is the day! I remember just two months ago posting a status on facebook about the numbers of days left until the big day and now I’m just two hours away from having to leave my house, parents, boyfriend, and my new kitten. I’m extremely nervous. I have been to Mexico before but this time its different. I’m not going with family, i’m going alone. Its been six years since the last time I made a trip to Mexico, so i’m super excited. I’m ready to immerse myself in the language and culture. Bring on the new experiences.


Day 1

After hours of travel I finally made it to Queretaro! The city is beautiful and the hotel I am staying in for the first few days is very nice and thankfully has air conditioning. Today we went out to lunch and ate some delicious food, visited a church, and got stuck in a rainstorm that caused a little flooding…It was a great first day and I can’t wait to see what other surprises this city holds!

More pictures to come!


Pre-Departure to Queretaro


Hi, my name’s Caitlin Mills.  I’ve been looking forward to studying abroad in Queretaro, Mexico for a very long time.  Overall, I am very excited to Mexico.  I’ve always wanted to travel and learn more about Spanish.  I’m excited to for the opportunity to learn about another culture and take Spanish and an ESOL class for the education program.  I am a little nervous, only because I have a tendency to get home sick.  To help with the nerves, I want to keep myself busy by exploring Queretaro with my friends so that I adjust quickly and experience more of what the city has to offer.  I also want to be an example to show that not all Americans are what is portrayed on TV.

What I know of so far about my host culture is that extended family are more likely to live in the same house, grandparents, cousins, etc. live with a family.  I also know it’s not that uncommon for older children, college grads, to still live at home.  The culture places a higher value in families than in the States.  Mexican’s also love their spicy food.  I’ve heard that driving in Mexico is crazier than it is in the States.  Houses are smaller, but are more decorative.  I picture the houses as modern, or the stucco build that is seen in the Southwestern states.  I also know that they love soccer.  Most of the population is Catholic.


Pre-Departure to Queretaro!

Hi my name is Marissa Gowen and I am so excited to leave for Queretaro, Mexico next week!  I have been looking forward to this trip all year!

I chose Queretaro Mexico because I want to become more fluent in Spanish and I want to learn more about Mexican culture.  I look forward to getting to know more about the Mexican way of life and skills that will prepare me for my future.  I also am excited to meet my host family and I can’t wait to get there.  I chose Queretaro also because I a taking a ESOL/Bilingual class for my teaching major and I look forward to learning more about the struggles that Mexicans have when they come to the United States.  Lastly, I am excited to go because I believe that I will become a more worldly knowledgeable person and I look forward to telling everyone about my experiences and fun times in Mexico.

I think my host culture will be like what I have heard about what Mexico is like.  I believe that it will be hot and dry as I have been told.  I also believe that there will be a lot of colorful buildings and a lot of good smells and foods as well as that women wear more conservative clothing. Lastly, I think that my host culture will have a lot of extended families and small houses.  I see myself interacting with my host culture as a representative of Western Oregon and I will be kind and respectful towards everyone.  I am excited because I look forward to trying new things and being abroad in the first place.  I have been abroad before but I know that Mexico will be very different than Europe in many ways.  I am also nervous because I have never traveled out of the country alone before and I have never lived with people that I have never met before.  Lastly, I am so excited to live in another country.