Home Institution: Wilfrid Laurier University
Host Institution: Universidad Veracruzana
In fall 2010, I was lucky enough to participate in the North American Mobility in Higher Education exchange to Universidad Veracruzana in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. I was immediately immersed into a culture so unlike my own with very few people who spoke my own language. My Spanish drastically improved and I was able to learn a lot about Mexican culture. I definitely came home from the exchange with a very different perspective of both Mexico as well as Canada. Thanks to this exchange, I am much more globally-minded and understanding of cultural differences. I also managed to gain a much greater sense of self and sense of independence from this exchange.
As a North American Studies student, this exchange allowed me to take courses very similar to those that I would have taken at Laurier but also permitted me to gain a different perspective on the course content. I also was taught by professors who had actually discovered artifacts and ruins that are historically important in Mexican history, which I think was very beneficial for me.
This exchange was a life-changing experience for me as well as the highlight of my university career so far. I was able to meet such amazing people and develop friendships with people from all over the world. I was able to travel to many different parts of Mexico and participate in many aspects of the local culture including the bicentennial of Mexican independence, the centennial of the Mexican revolution, and Day of the Dead. I also became involved in the local community in Veracruz and volunteered which is something I am very passionate about. Although there were some challenging aspects of this exchange, the pros definitely outweigh the cons and I would do this exchange again in a heartbeat.