It has been about two weeks since I’ve arrived in Mexico City, and I’ve been having such an amazing time. My flight in went very smoothly, and thankfully I was accompanied by four other students on the same flight. I am living with a wonderful host family in an apartment next to a park. The family has three kids ages 6, 10, and 12, and they’re all so wonderful and funny! The family also has a really cute puppy. Everyday we eat breakfast and dinner with them, and this has been a great opportunity for me to practice my Spanish speaking and also to learn more about Mexican culture. I share a room with another student on the program, and she’s been absolutely wonderful. We spend a lot of time together, whether it be walking to and from the school, Universidad Panamericana (UP), everyday, or just going out for brunch on a chill Sunday morning.
On our first official day, we had a program orientation and a campus tour lead by administrators and students from the International Affairs Office. The campus is incredibly beautiful. There’s a good mix of modern and gothic buildings, and the campus is full of lush trees and plants. Through the program, we are enrolled in four classes: Public Health in Mexico, Health Systems and Policy, Culture and History of Mexico, and Spanish language. The learning environment has been comfortable and efficient, and all of our professors and guest speakers have been incredibly knowledgeable in their fields. In fact, I am the only student in my Advanced Spanish class, so my one-on-one learning environment has been effective in learning the language. One of my favorite memories so far has been when we watched the World Cup Mexico versus Sweden game in the main auditorium. It felt like the whole school was present, and even though Mexico lost, we still celebrated the victory of Korea over Germany, which allowed for Mexico to advance.
For our Culture and History of Mexico and Public Health in Mexico classes, we take trips every week relating to topics covered in classes. Our first trip was on June 29 to Teotihuacan to see firsthand the ancient grounds. We had the opportunity of climbing to the top of the Piramide del Sol. It was an absolutely amazing experience.
On our way back, we passed by the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe and got to see the image of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in person.
Adjusting to the culture has been a little difficult for me. I personally love Mexican food, but it has been difficult on my stomach to be honest. I learned it the hard way to not trust street food because their sanitary practices are definitely questionable. Another aspect that took a while to adjust to has been in greeting people. Here people greet by kissing each other on the cheek. At first I was confused and even a little embarrassed, but now I’m getting used to it! I can’t wait to see what the rest of these weeks hold!