Finals week for three courses condensed into five weeks has been much more grueling than I had imagined. Combined with the fact that this is also my last week in Mexico and I would love to be out exploring, observing, and experiencing, I’ve found it somewhat frustrating that most of my time was spent hunched over my computer studying for exams and writing essays. Nevertheless, I feel as though I have achieved something in all of my classes, and I definitely believe that I have learned so much in so many different areas throughout my time here in Mexico.
This last week we were at a different campus, a former airport. It was interesting to have such a drastic transition within a trip which has already been a transition; the campus was much farther away from my house than the previous one had been, so my schedule was very different and I’ve spent a lot more time in transit than I would have liked. It was certainly interesting to observe the students at the different campuses; the environments were completely different, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to visit another educational institution during my time here.
The house I’ve been staying in is absolutely gorgeous, and I’m definitely going to miss the interesting set-up. There is no ceiling over the main hallway, and all of the rooms are separate entities with heavy doors branching off of the main hallway. This means I’ve had my own living quarters, including a bathroom, without having to share my space. It’s been very interesting to live with a family in another country and observe all the customs and other cultural differences that are so new to me. I’ve only been living with my host mother and her youngest son, but she has many other older children and even grandchildren who are always around the house or pop in for meals. I feel like these continuing interactions have been the most beneficial toward my developing Spanish language skills.
I think one vital thing I’ve taken away from this trip is that I can have interesting experiences and still do well in school. Back home at WOU, I focus all my attention on my schoolwork, and I hardly leave Monmouth or even my apartment. Being here with so much to see and do while at the same time having academic obligations has forced me to leave my comfort zone and get out and do things. This has shown me that I really do have better time management skills than I had previously thought, and if I want to, I can get all my schoolwork done and still be able to go hiking or visit museums on the weekends and evenings. I look forward to bringing this knowledge into my everyday life in Oregon and continuing to expand my cultural horizon back home.
As excited as I am to return to the U.S. and see my family, I am also going to miss Mexico and my host family, and I am already planning to return on vacation as soon as it is practical. I have enjoyed my time here immensely; I strongly feel that this has been one of the best experiences of my life, and everything that went into making this trip happen was completely worth it.