While coming into college and being a student, I thought I would never take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad. First, I didn’t know what I would study and second, I get homesick too easily. However, coming to Merida for the fall semester has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I have tried things that I would never do or try before like swimming in a cenote even though I can’t swim that well and eating food that I wouldn’t think about eating at home. The first week of being in Merida was a culture shock to me because everything looks so different and it is a different society that what I am used to. The excursions that we took the first week were eye opening because it is not every day that you get to see ancient ruins still intact and even can climb on them. I must say climbing the acropolis is a feat that you will want to have and this is coming from a guy who fears heights as well. The best part of being in Merida honestly is the homestay mamas and their family because they are the sweetest people you will ever meet and they go over and beyond to make sure you are well taken care of. My mama cooks me three meals a day so I don’t have to spend money if I don’t want to and she also cleans my room. She always asks how I’m doing, what I’m going to do, what I want to eat, and if there is anything I need. So, I feel like they see the students as their own children making the Merida experience that much more special. Another thing that Merida is good for is exploring and experiencing with the other students that also study abroad with you. You guys get to get lost in a city with so many things to do and see and in the end, it creates very strong friendships. We all like to get together and go to a bar or the club or the beach and forget about school work.
Another cool part about studying abroad is we get to travel to other countries like Belize and Cuba and not only learn but explore and experience those places. In Belize, we learned about Belizean Creole and different dances within the cultures of Belize but we also went to San Pedro to go snorkeling. In Cuba, which was probably the highlight of my trip, we learned about the Cuban revolution and saw famous castles and buildings. We also went to three cities Havana, Trinidad, and Cienfuegos which each city has its own uniqueness. The best part was we got to go horseback riding in Trinidad which has some of the most beautiful mountain ranges I ever seen. Although it was scary at that moment, I got to see one of my friends fall of a horse and I almost fell of the edge of a cliff but those are experiences that I will have for the rest of my life.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to have studied abroad in Merida because I’ve seen how a group of people from all sorts of backgrounds, with different kinds of personalities and interests, come together to be a group of friends. Yes, we get tired of each other sometimes but I’m sure that we would all agree that the people on this trip are really cool people to be around. We have all strayed away from our comfort zone to develop friendships that will last outside of this study abroad trip. As it is coming to end and finals are approaching, I’m glad I have stories to tell and people to introduce to my family and friends about the experiences I have had with group of people. I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to create your own.
Centre College in Merida Study Abroad Program, Fall 2016
Time flew and it is time to say good bye. Thank you Centre College and our wonderful 20 students who spent a semester abroad here in Merida. We will miss you and hope you can come back soon!!
Merida was more than a fun-filled vacation for me; it was challenging, encouraging and extremely valuable. In Merida, I had the opportunity to meet people from another culture and build life-long friendships that I will cherish forever. While living with my Mama, Mili, I learned how to be humble and how to serve others selflessly, both characteristics that I saw from many Meridians. Even more, I learned about social issues that both Mexico and the US face today, regarding race, gender and class. Thankfully, I not only had the opportunity to witness these issues, but I was also able to learn about their historical context and engage in conversation about these issues through my classes and my homestay. This experience was also extremely encouraging to me while it taught me how to keep an open heart and an open mind in order to relearn ideas and truths of the world. While in Merida, many social experiences and lessons that I learned within my classes challenged my ideas and beliefs that I had before coming to Merida. Now, with a broader view of the US and Mexico, I can have more informed conversations that matter to our future and to people around the world. Me encanta Merida!
Bekah Bruner – Spring 2016
Sadly time flew and the Spring semester is now over!! We will miss this wonderful Centre College group with their vibrant personality and positive attitude. Keep the good work guys! Remember Mérida is now YOUR city! Come back soon!
Olivia and Jaqui with Olivia’s homestay family Doña Paty and Brian.
Emma, Erin, Alex, Paige and Bekah with their homestay moms!
Vanessa, Hannah, Carolyn & Rachael with their homestay moms.
David and Lydia with their homestay moms.
Rachel and Griffin with their homestay moms Doña Beatriz and Doña Angelita.
Cate and Doña Pilar. Doña Dulce & Russell.
Lulu, one of our Spanish professors with her nephew. Katherine with her homestay mom Doña Dede!
Caitlin and Doña Ileana
During their experience in Merida, students from Centre College were placed on a work site as part of one of their courses. After the Spring semester, these are their final presentations. Grateful for all the work sites supervisors who were able to host our students and let them participate on their daily work activities. Grateful for all the students and the wonderful work they did!
Erin & Caitlin worked at Museo Palacio Cantón. Here with their supervisor Ana Méndez!
Rachael had the opportunity to work with the Economic Development Office in the City Goverment.
Bekah worked at parque Aak, an ecological park located outside of Merida. Here with Mary, her supervisor.
Jaqui & Carolyn worked at public hospital ISSSTE and were able to observe and shadow doctors and nurses.
Hannah, Vanessa & Cate worked teaching ESL to middle school kids in a small village outside of Merida. Here with Anel, their supervisor.
David worked at VIAJA which is a travel and immigration agency. He was able to assist with their marketing plan and worked on a blog for foreigners.
Alex and Russell enjoyed a lot her work site, she was placed at a basketball school and was able to interact with kids. Here with their supervisor Couch Miguel.
Group 4 finished very fast cooking and were able to seat and enjoy everything they cooked! Empanadas are like Quesadillas, corn tortilla with cheese inside, you can mix it with other fillings too. Thank you Doña Susi!!
As part of Centre College’s Spring program, students take a cooking class with one of the homestay’s families. This time we divided the group into 4 smaller groups and they all learned how to make different Yucatecan and Mexican dishes: Cochinita Pibil, Huevos Motuleños, Quesadillas and Empanadas! What else do we need to be happy??
GROUP 1: Cochinita Pibil!!! You did great guys!!
Someone had to cut the onion!!
Squeezing sour oranges with achiote (spices used for this dish) to marinate the pork!
And someone had to cut the meat! Gret job!