Learning from Queretaro

I had the most amazing time in Mexico. Studying abroad was strenuous and exhausting, exciting, fun and overwhelming. I think the hardest part was transitioning from normal life into this foreign school with strangers; the other students from Oregon were great, but it was definitely an adventure getting to know each other. The most exciting first thing I experienced was just walking around the city by myself. I felt so empowered to be on this 4adventure so far from friends and family. I wandered and saw the cathedrals and was amazed by the size and the ornate architecture. We have nothing like the buildings and plazas here in Oregon that are the beating heart of Mexico cities. It was an experience that changed my life. I feel more confident and self assured. People have been saying I am more myself, solid in who I am and what I want out of life. I believe that studying abroad is the most important part of a University education. It widens a person’s outlook on the world in ways staying in the USA does not. Yes I learned a language and yes I got college credits, but for me the most important thing I came back with is something unexplainable within me.

My most memorable adventure was going to Mexico city with the class; a trip included in the program with a teacher as our guide ( I went on many on other trips as well not included in the program). We drove to Teotihuacan first on our way to the Capital city. The ruins of such an immense and powerful civilization was mind blowing. I couldn’t comprehend the magnitude of such a city, the temples were sky high and so steep walking down you’d think you’d 3fall. The streets straight as if mapped out by a modern city planner. Miles of city and all perfectly built even, even with the stars and major planets that could be seen. People amaze me and that is why this trip was so important to me.

We went to many, many, many museums; among them the anthropological museum that holds the mayan calendar and other awesome statues from many periods of Mexican history. We went to Frida Kahlo’s house, La Casa Azul; which as an art student and an avid lover of Frida I was in heaven. I walked the neighborhood and strolled through the artisans market and through a park where artists were selling their work.

All this seems so surreal now that I’m back in my normal life. Memories of a place that is so far away are becoming dreams. Yet the strength of the experience are still fresh in that i remember how awesome it felt to be sitting atop the Temple of the Sun, but the details of the weekend blur and become one mass of color and music.

In Querétaro I made many good friends that I am still in contact with. My host family was lovely and I hope to visit them in the future. I made friends with some locals and we had a blast hanging out after school. Again it’s like a 2 different life or a dream, a wonderful memory that will be with me forever. I highly recommend expanding one’s personal travel to another country, things are much different when you’re not from there and you don’t speak the language, maybe even your own self will turn out to be different. You’ll never know until you try.

– Sierra Gault

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