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The Return

Time May 28th, 2015 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

About two weeks ago I boarded the airplane to leave Merida. While I sat in the airport, waiting to board, I couldn’t stop crying and I couldn’t stop thinking about how I had cried four and a half months earlier in the San Antonio airport waiting to start my study abroad journey. I had just had to say goodbye to my boyfriend, my parents, my kitten (who I wouldn’t have the chance to see throughout her kittenhood–yes, it’s a thing), all of my friends, and my precious Texas. I remember thinking about how much I was going to miss out on and how much I was going to miss everything and everyone. I thought I wasn’t going to make any friends in Mexico. I thought about how alone I was going to be for the next semester. Read More »

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Reflexions

Time May 19th, 2015 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Now that my study abroad experience has come to a close, I’ve really been thinking a lot about how much I’ve done in these four months. How much I’ve seen. How much I’ve been challenged. How much I’ve learned. And ultimately, how much I’ve grown. Read More »

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Worth a thousand words

Time May 8th, 2015 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

So I’ve mentioned before that I’ve lost all my pictures that I had taken on the drop because I got my phone stolen, BUT I thought I’d go through Facebook to find pictures of all our wonderful adventures so that I could share them on here. I’ve pulled a few from each of the places we’ve visited (in chronological order).

Enjoy!

 

Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán

uady uady-2

 

Universidad Modelo

modelo

 

El Centro de Mérida

centro centro2 centro-3

 

Chichén Itzá ruins

chichen chichen2

 

Cenote Yokdzonot

cenote

 

Uxmal ruins

uxmal uxmal-3

 

Calcehtok caverns

grutas grutas_0

 

Riviera Maya-Xcaret

xcaret xcaret2 xcaret3

 

San Felipe

sanfelipe sanfelipe2

 

Las Coloradas/Rio Lagartos

lascoloradas lascoloradas2

 

Oaxaca

oaxaca oaxaca2 oaxaca3 oaxaca4

 

Chiapas

chiapas chiapas2

 

Guatemala border

guatemala guatemala2

 

Cuba

cuba2 cuba1
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Winding down

Time April 27th, 2015 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Welp, two weeks to go and I’m losing my mind! This last week has been really rough on me as I’ve tried to balance schoolwork and doing all the things I feel like I need to do before I leave and knowing these are my last days with all the friends I’ve made here, etc. Every time I have to say I can’t go out because I have to do homework, I die a little inside hahaha. It’s hard saying no knowing that these are my last opportunities to get the most out of Mexico! Read More »

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Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tulúm, CUBA, and…back to school

Time April 16th, 2015 in College Study Abroad | 1 Comment by

I haven’t posted for a while, BUT FOR GOOD REASON, I SWEAR GUYS!

Semana Santa (two weeks off of school) treated me oh. so. well. The last week of school before the break, I was super sick and missed almost the whole week of class. Bummer, but the break definitely made up for it!

On Friday, two other IFSA girls and I took off to Oaxaca. 21 hour bus ride through the mountains. I thought it was gonna be horrible, but it was a good bonding experience being stuck in one seat next to two people for twenty. one. hours. Trust me haha. But really, it was a beautiful trip driving through the mountains and different pueblos. Green everywhere! And Oaxaca was amazing! We stayed in a cozy little hostel that we shared with Argentinians, Spaniards, you name it. The first day we just explored the city, visited different cathedrals, etc. The second day was the best. We went to a sight a little bit outside of the city called Hierva el Agua, a hot spring in the mountains with a waterfall. Truly one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. There were various natural pools to swim in and take in the wonderful view. It required a lot of hiking up the mountains and ended with some funky tans, but it it’s one of my favorite experiences from Mexico so far!

Then we headed for San Cristóbal, Chiapas. Oh, Chiapas, Chiapas… Everything started off well. Like in Oaxaca, we took the first day to explore the city, eat good food, get situated, etc. And when I say “eat good food”, I mean GOOD food. The second day, we visited all 5 lakes in las Lagunas de Montebello on the southern border of Chiapas. Absolutely breathtaking. The last lake reaches all the way to Guatemala. Half of it is considered part of Mexico and the other half belongs to Guatemala. We are able to walk across the border and do a little bit of exploring of Guatemala! Soooo coooooool, y’all. That day I had a lot of, “Wow…I’m living the life” moments. It was all downhill from there on the way back to San Cristóbal, though, unfortunately…literally and figuratively. When we got back to the station, I got my phone stolen from my backpack along with all my money ($300). I won’t say I wasn’t completely devastated (there were tears, and lots of them), but it forced me to realize the fact that material things are just MATERIAL things. I didn’t let it ruin my trip even though it was rough. The real rough thing though, is that I lost a lot of my pictures from Mexico I hadn’t yet backed up. :( BUT it made me promise myself to do more amazing things so I can take more amazing pics. hehe.

From Chiapas, I went directly to Tulum where I met some of my friends from the university to go to a music festival called Mayan Madness. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE. It was a 20 hour music festival RIGHT on the coast of one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Sunset on the beach listening to beautiful music with some of the best friends I’ve made since I’ve been here. We didn’t leave until 5 in the morning, and even though I was completely dead for the trip home the next day, all I could think about was how incredibly blessed I was to have experienced those 20 hours.

FINALLY, return to Mérida…for 10 hours. At 3 in the morning, I had to head to the bus station to meet with rest of IFSA to take off to the airport in Cancun. From there, we would take our flight to Cuba. The trip there was dreadful; I was so tired from the week before, but as soon as we landed in La Habana, I knew we were going to be experiencing some amazing things. The first day, we toured all of La Habana, a city absolutely incredible. Old buildings, 50s cars, lively people, everything. The second day we took off to the beach and spent the whole day at a beautiful resort in Veradero. All included! Food, drinks galore! Haha I got the worst sunburn I’ve had in my life, but I refuse to complain about that. Sleeping on the beach was exactly what I needed.

The only thing about spending two weeks in paradise is that now schoolwork seems even more tedious. And this week we have midterms. (Who makes midterms the week after a two-week break? Don’t ask me, I want names too). It’s been really hard getting back into studying regularly, but I’ve been trying to keep up with all my homework because there’s only three weeks left of school, and might as well go out with a bang!

We’ll see how that goes as tests finish up at the end of next week!

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Adventures, adventures, adventures

Time March 23rd, 2015 in 2015 Spring, College Study Abroad, First Generation Scholars, Mexico | No Comments by

Hello, All!

It’s been a pretty wild ride since my last post, this post is probably gonna be all over the place. Soooo buckle your seat belts, friends!

First things first: school.

As I mentioned in my last post, the strike at UADY had really thrown everything off at first in respect to trying to figure out how we were going to take classes, trying to settle in, etc. But now (halfway through the semester…), everything finally feels normal, which makes life here so much easier. Having a daily routine is what makes Mérida feel like home for me. And now that everything has settled down, I’m really satisfied with how everything turned out. We got the chance to see a little bit about how strikes work in Latin America and get a first-hand experience of some of the social tensions in Mérida and how they are dealt with. Also, I’ve absolutely loved the opportunity to see the differences between the two universities, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, a public university virtually free for students, and Universidad Modelo, a private university. They are about 5 minutes away from each other driving, but they are worlds apart. The environment, the students, the professors, the classes, everything has a completely different feel to it. And it’s been awesome having the opportunity to make friends at both.

Something that has been a little bit difficult for me since I got here is that I’ve had to adjust my studying habits and my standards for my grades…DRASTICALLY. Normally in the U.S., on week days, I do nothing but go to class, go to work, go to soccer, and study study study. My parents have always instilled in me the idea that I’m blessed to be able to go to college, an opportunity they never had, and that there’s no excuse for not doing everything I can to get the best grades I can. Here, I’ve had to repeatedly remind myself that my grades here should not be as important as enjoying myself, getting to know Mexico, and having a great experience rather than locking myself up in my bedroom doing homework. Choosing to go check out some Mayan ruins or spend the day at a cenote or go out with my friends despite having a test the day after was really hard for me to do at first, but learning to make that decision has been really, really good for me. My experience here has been amazing because of it. The thing I’m scared about is going back to UT next semester and having to go back to really worrying about my grades…but we’ll worry about that when time comes hehe.

Some of the adventures I’ve gotten to experience:

-Chichén Itzá, the famous Mayan ruins

-Uxmal, some more famous Mayan ruins (absolutely beautiful) 

-Xcaret, in the Riviera Maya, where I went snorkeling and swam with dolphins

-Grutas de Calcehtok, some caverns we got to climb through (really fun, really good workout)

-Numerous cenotes, really beautiful, natural pools

-Yaxunah, a small mayan community where we stayed for a weekend with a Mayan family and did volunteer work

Unfortunately, I have ZERO pictures to share about all my experiences because my memory on my computer got erased and I lost absolutely everything :( Terrible luck.

BUT the important thing is that I got to experience it all. AND Semana Santa is coming up next week, basically “Spring Break” in Mexico, where we have two weeks off of school. Over the course of the two weeks, I’ll visit:

-Oaxaca

-Chiapas

-Tulum

-CUBA

-CUBA (it had be said twice)

-Cancun

-Holbox

I will be completely dead returning to school the Monday after, but I can’t begin to explain how excited I am.

Stay tuned for the next post where I’ll talk about my Semana Santa a ventures!

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7 weeks has never felt shorter

Time February 23rd, 2015 in 2015 Spring, College Study Abroad, First Generation Scholars, Mexico | No Comments by

Though it’s completely flown by, this first month and a half of studying abroad has been incredibly, incredibly busy and exciting…and scary…and a little stressful…and really amazing. I haven’t posted yet because things have been so crazy…exciting…scary…and a little stressful…and really amazing. Jaja, but here I am to tell you all there is to know about Mérida, México (or better said, all that I’ve learned in these seven weeks). Read More »

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