Chapultepec Zoo

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!

Cuernavaca Corner: The Beautiful Outdoors


Student looking at waterfalls

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”

Southern Africa Fall 2016: Week 2 Reflections

This is an excerpt from the student-assigned blog for our Southern Africa semester, which can be found on the website “blog spot” at:

Week Two: The Unseen Colors of the Rainbow Nation

by Imani Briscoe, St. Joseph’s University & Kitty McGirr, Univ. of California, San Diego

… it is very intriguing that, even with the acknowledged importance of the history of South Africa’s “Rainbow Nation”, discussions surrounding the indigenous people and colonization of what is now known as Cape Town rarely occur. Most of what we find in the American education history books regarding the changes Cape Town has gone through seems to focus on the racial issues of blacks and whites. Continue reading “Southern Africa Fall 2016: Week 2 Reflections”

Nicaragua Security Update

This post was written by Mark Lester, Regional Director of Central America, office located in Nicaragua. This is in response to the US State Department’s Travel Alert dated June 29, 2016 for Nicaragua, which has since been taken down after the warning expired. 

Within a seven-day period in June, the Nicaraguan government expelled 3 US officials, and 6 foreigners. The first of the three US officials was Evan Ellis, a researcher professor of Latin American Studies for the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College, whose research focus is the canal. He apparently had notified the Nicaraguan government of his visit, and arrived on a diplomatic passport on the same flight as a couple of other US officials on diplomatic passports, But these latter two worked for US Customs, and had arranged their visit with Nicaraguan private enterprise. They were arriving to do a regular inspection of cargo being sent to the US to facilitate the security review required post-Sept 11. Continue reading “Nicaragua Security Update”

A Note of Thanks

The Central America team would like to share with you a recent letter they received from an alumni of the program, Rachel, from Fordham University. This is an excerpt from Rachel’s thank you letter. Bolded emphasis ours. 

I just wanted to write this email to say thank you. It’s been about nine months since we left Nicaragua and I’ve now had ample time to reflect on my experience there. Since then, I’ve also studied abroad in South Africa on a program run through my university. This immediate jump to a semester in an entirely different context took some adjustment, but ultimately enabled me to place both experiences in unique contexts and explore the different ways study abroad programs can be run.

Now that I’m home and I’ve had time to reflect, I can say wholeheartedly that CGEE in Central America was the defining experience of my undergrad time and the most impressive program I’ve been on. I’m thoroughly convinced that this program lives up to its ideals and mission statements in so many different areas, ranging from support for the students to careful interaction with all the communities it touches. I have been on several other study abroad programs, in Europe, China, and South Africa, and nowhere else have I felt so supported and also so encouraged to step outside my comfort zone and open myself to opportunities and challenges that could forever change my perspective.  Continue reading “A Note of Thanks”

Southern Africa Fall 2016: Week 1 Reflections

This is an excerpt from the student-assigned blog for our Southern Africa semester, which can be found here

Week One: Reflections on the Motherland

by Chiara White-Mink, Clark University & Anne-Claire Merkle-Scotland, Clark University

Apartheid ended 22 years ago when the first democratic elections were held in 1994, the same year I was born. For a nation that experienced so much horror in throughout apartheid these elections marked a new era of possibility and prosperity. That hope was shared throughout the world, when the message of a newly united nation travelled half-way across the world to the classrooms and schools I attended. However as residents and students in the United States, we should be well aware that change, especially social change, may take years and even generations to truly happen. Therefore, we were exposed to the realities of post-apartheid South Africa and the continuously growing economic challenges and disparities faced by South Africans, particularly the black citizens still facing severe effects from Apartheid.

Continue reading “Southern Africa Fall 2016: Week 1 Reflections”

Cuernavaca Corner: Cool Treats edition


Cuernavaca Corner: Ice Cream
Cuernavaca Corner: Ice Cream

Every week we are going to be sharing some of our favorite places in Cuernavaca with you! We will be giving you the inside look on all the fun places to go in Cuernavaca, Mexico while you study abroad! Today’s Cuernavaca Corner was written by Brittney Westgard, alumni of our Social Work program and current volunteer in Mexico. Brittney is an Augsburg College Alumni.

Continue reading “Cuernavaca Corner: Cool Treats edition”

Seven reasons all Social Work students should study abroad with CGEE Mexico

This post was written by Brittney Westward, alumni of our Social Work program! Currently back in Mexico, volunteering with the CGEE students in Cuernavaca. 


Here are my top seven reasons why all Social Work students should study abroad with CGEE Mexico:

(1) To expand your network of social workers.

Continue reading “Seven reasons all Social Work students should study abroad with CGEE Mexico”

Celebrating Pride in Mexico

CGEE-Mexico joins LGBT Pride Parade in Cuernavaca on August 27. Photos courtesy of Ann Lutterman-Aguilar.

Mexico City Orientation Week

Welcome to Mexico, CGEE Fall 2016 students!

CGEE-Mexico students spend part of orientation for fall semester in Mexico City.  They loved their visit to the important cultural-religious site of the Basillica de la Virgen de Guadalupe.

Basilica of Guadalupe
Students visit Basilica of Guadalupe














Basilicas in Mexico City
Modern Basillica in front of older ones.














Virgin of Guadalupe
Virgin of Guadalupe













Students learn at mural
Students learn about Mexican history from Armando Lopez at Diego Rivera mural in Cuernavaca