This blog post was originally presented to CGEE staff as a thank you letter. We were very touched by Stephanie’s experience, and wanted to share with others. Posted here with permission from the author, Stephanie Gonzales-Pérez. The words have not been altered in any way.
I wanted to take the time to extend my gratitude through this letter. I am a recent alum of the CGEE Central America Program of Spring 2016. The program itself was truly life changing and as cliché as that may sound there are no other words to better describe it.
The mission of your programs is to give us another lens and to decolonize our minds which is a prime reason why I was interested in the program. Along with the constant recommendation from my study abroad advisor, Ann Butwell. Which is why I want to thank Berea College and Augsburg’s Center for Global Education and Experience because without all your help this would not have been possible. I was hesitant at first because of the cost, but both institutions provided me with scholarships that reduced the cost to nearly nothing.
Aside from how perfect the program already was due to my passion for social justice I was also drawn in because the program went to Guatemala specifically to Quetzaltenango, or also known as Xela, which is where my maternal grandmother lives. I had told my family about my trip and they were beyond ecstatic to finally meet in person after only having contact through letters, phone calls and Skype my entire life. I will be honest I had originally planned to go in the spring of 2015, but I felt guilty going and backed out because my mother has not seen my grandmother for over 25 years and it didn’t feel right to go before she did. My mother had the chance to return home; however, she made the ultimate sacrifice when I was 10 and that was not to move back to Guatemala with my father. She knew that the United States could provide us with more opportunities than her own country could. Continue reading “Meeting Family in Guatemala: An Alumni Story”→
With a cup of coffee in your hand just about anything is possible! You can finish an assignment, have a great conversation or get through a tough chapter in your book… or your life! So here is the inside look on our top three favorite Cafés in Cuernavaca.
On one of the quaint paved streets near the cathedral in Cuernavaca lays Bons Café. Bons Café has a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere. There is ample seating in indoor, outdoor and second story areas. They have a complete breakfast, lunch and dinner menu and have a varied selection of drinks. We recommend the capuchino nevado (a cappuccino with a scoop of ice cream), iced chai, and for those of us who has a sweet tooth, the oreo frappe. Continue reading “Cuernavaca Corner: Our Favorite Cafes”→
Dr. Ann Lutterman-Aguilar, Director of CGEE Mexico, will be presenting at the Annual CIEE Conference in Los Angeles, CA. The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) is a nonprofit leader in the field of Study Abroad and Intercultural Exchange.
On Friday, November 18th, Ann will be co-presenting on, “Intercultural Faculty Training for the Development of Innovative Global Initiatives.” From the conference website:
During this session, we’ll explore resources and frameworks that allow participants to identify the specific needs of their home campuses in relation to implementing intercultural and diversity initiatives. Intercultural competence has an impact on educators’ daily duties and projects, allowing them to bridge the cultural differences present on campuses and in education abroad programs. This type of competence helps to develop innovative initiatives and to align with global learning outcomes and goals. Furthermore, intercultural competence fosters reflection and creativity with the aim of developing thoughtful and distinctive new projects. Panelists will present models for intercultural training, lead discussions on best practices in this area, examine projects developed as a result of intercultural training, and review intercultural tools that can help when implementing new programs.
Congratulations to Ann on being chosen to present at this National Conference!
Joe Connelly, consultant and frequent leader of Customized Programs for the Center for Global Education and Experience in Nicaragua, will be presenting at the Annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice, in Washington, D.C.
On Saturday, November 12th, Joe will be co-presenting on, “Beyond the Break: Moving to Action and Advocacy”. From IFTJ’s website:
Did you have an amazing experience on an Immersion Trip over a break but aren’t sure what to do with that now? Do you want to take that experience to the next level and see how you can use it as a building block to get the most out of the Teach In? Join us in this pre-session to go beyond your break. Reflect on you what learned on your break, hear from a service immersion host site about what they’d like to see people doing after they leave, and see where your gifts and passions might put you on the Social Change Wheel and how that can turn into advocacy.
We are honored that Joe will be representing us at this event!
This blog post was written by our International Resident Assistant in Mexico, Amber Ramirez.
Dedicated to honoring the souls and spirits of deceased family and friends, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), is a period of remembrance, celebration and spiritual regeneration. This ritual is commonly celebrated on November 1st, which is primarily the day of the “little angels” or deceased children, and November 2nd, All Souls Day and day of deceased adults. Over the years, the Dia de los Muertos, has become a combination of Pre-Hispanic beliefs and rituals and Catholic practices and symbols. Currently more than 40 indigenous groups in Mexico celebrate el Dia de los Muertos, through diverse rituals. The Aztecs honored the souls of their dead, viewing it as a celebration of life on the ninth month of the solar calendar, August. They made offerings, or ofrendas, in commemoration of loved ones. The souls of the deceased would come back from the paradises of diverse Gods—they went to these paradises based on their form of death. Those who died during combat, as prisoners, and while giving birth would go to Omeyocan (Paradise of the Sun). Individuals who died in association with water—drowning, sacrificed to Tlaloc (God of Rain), or during a storm— would go to Tlalocán (Paradise of the God of Rain). Children went to Chichihuacuauhco where they drank milk from a special tree that had milk droplets. Meanwhile, individuals who died of natural causes went to Mictlán. Continue reading “What is Day of the Dead?”→
This past weekend our students and some of our staff members visited the Chapultepec Zoo (Zoológico de Chapultepec) in Mexico City. The Chapultepec Zoo is located in Chapultepec Park (Bosque de Chapultepec). Chapultepec Park is more than double the size of Central Park in New York! Chapultepec Park is approximately 1695 acres of beautiful flora with many species of trees and plants, as well as fountains and outdoor activities.
Chapultepec Park is considered “a lung of Mexico City” as it produces continuous oxygen, filters water for the city, and helps regulate the temperature in the area. The Chapultepec Zoo was founded in 1923 and later renovated between 1992-1994. It is a free zoo! It is home to diverse species, including lemurs, hippopotamus, antelopes, and endangered species such as the volcano rabbit, Mexican wolf, and jaguar. One of the most famous exhibits is that of the Giant Panda. Currently there are three females giant pandas at the zoo: Xiu Hua (Born in 1985), Shuan Shuan (Born in 1987), and Xin Xin (Born in 1990). Luckily, we saw two out of three! We all had a blast and students are excited to go back and explore more of Chapultepec Park!
Welcome back to our weekly Cuernavaca, Mexico feature the “Cuernavaca Corner”! Today’s post comes from Brittney Westgard, alumni of our Social Work program and current volunteer in Mexico. Brittney is an Augsburg College Alumni.
This week we explored some of the most beautiful parks, natural attractions, and outdoor locations in Cuernavaca!
Jumping right in, let’s explore Jardin Borda right across the ravine from CEMAL located in downtown Cuernavaca. Jardin Borda was built in the late 1700’s, in which had various uses over the years such as: a summer house, a hotel, a restaurant, and now a botanic garden. Overseen by the Department of Culture of the State of Morelos, Jardin Borda is not only a great place to relax, explore, and read, but a popular location for cultural events such as theater productions, concerts, and art exhibits. Continue reading “Cuernavaca Corner: The Beautiful Outdoors”→