by Sarah Moauro
Although for the past week classes have been out and I have been far away from the C-U, Spring Break has not caused a hiatus in my Spanish studies. Going against the wishes of both my parents and the U.S. government, I ventured across the border into Mexico for this year’s Spring Break. Having set our minds on our southern neighbor long before the travel warnings were issued, two close friends and I did indeed take note of the travel warnings as they arose but deemed our destinations fit for travel. Rather than have the typical college-break experience in Cancún or Cabo San Lucas (although I’m not knocking those who did), we decided upon our sites in hopes for a cultural experience as well as warm getaway, visiting first the town of Zihuatanejo on the Pacific and then the metropolis, Mexico City.
Spending time in these two locations allowed for my friends (one a fellow Spanish 332 student) and me to experience the culture of the homeland of many of the people whom we work with in our community. In Zihuatanejo, an old fisherman’s town and beach-goers destination, we walked through the main mercado filled with fresh food and vendors, toured the town, talked with locals and, of course, worked on our tans at some of the beaches. In Mexico City, we walked down major avenues, visited parks and museums, explored some neighborhoods, and made friends with our hostel-mates.
Although we didn’t get any direct contact with social enterprise during our trip, although I’m sure it’s active within the two cities, certainly D.F., I feel that I exponentially expanded my understanding of Mexican culture and the background of many of the people who I work with and for. The two cities offered me a glimpse into two vastly different lifestyles yet general similarities that seem to exist throughout the culture. The people I encounter at ECIRMAC come from the same variety of places – of the many from Mexico, some come from major urban areas and others from much smaller towns. Through my trip, I was able to gain many useful experiences, ranging from an improvement on my Mexican Spanish to simply a general reference point from which I can feel more connected with many of the people I encounter here in the C-U. Reflecting upon my past week, this trip was one risk well worth taking.