With full days filled with lectures, workshops, research, and educational trips, the past four weeks have been both really interesting and incredibly busy! A few nights ago, I shared a conversation with my host mother Amalia about how fun and busy our program has been thus far. At the end of this conversation, Amalia gave me a hug and said, “disfruta lo que pueda cuando lo tenga,” which means “enjoy what you can when you have it”.
I was reminded of a conversation between our group and Gerardo, UP’s dean of international affairs. It was the first week of our program, and I had mentioned to him how warm and hospitable Amalia has been to us so far. Having known her for several years, Gerardo at first added to our kind words by agreeing that her food was delicious. Then, he went on to say that Amalia embodied “the spirit of the university”. This statement struck me. He explained how Universidad Panamericana – a private Catholic university – strives to embody values such as faith, family, respect, and love. No matter what faith people may have or what subject people may study or what people may do for a living, according to Gerardo, UP believes that anyone can successfully contribute to society and even serve God through honest hard work and continual learning. Gerardo said that Amalia loves her home stay students, and that she tries her best to foster an environment that embodies these values for them.
Whether it is at home, in school, at the hospital, or during our field trips around the city, I am learning a lot and am continually reminded of how grateful I am to be in this program. These past four weeks in Mexico City have flown by, and I’ve enjoyed every single minute of it.