See. Reflect. Act.

This is a guest blog post from Augsburg College student, and recipient of the Mary Witt Scholarship, Samantha C. During spring break 2017, Samantha was able to join the short-term program “Food, Justice & Sustainability in Mexico”. Thank you for the reflection!


See. Reflect. Act. We visited the women of Luz Y Libertad halfway through our trip and spent only a few hours with them and reflecting on those conversations, yet these three words sum up my all of my experiences in Mexico. Each organization and community member we spoke with all lived and worked by these words whether or not they did so intentionally: they saw problems in their community, brainstormed creative ways to address those problems and made their solutions a reality. When I think back specifically to our visit with Luz Y Libertad, they spoke of seeing the need of providing the women of their community with agency. Selling handmade crafts and cooking are the most common and accessible means of income that women can provide for their families, and the women at Luz Y Libertad decided to help empower their fellow community members to do so. They shared with us different struggles that they’ve faced as women in their community, and something that was deeply related to each individual struggle was the struggle of poverty. They spoke both of global issues influencing their financial stability like NAFTA, as well as personal experiences like domestic abuse, and while both are valid, I’d like to spend more time focusing on those personal experiences, as I feel that relates more directly to my vocation and requires reflection beneath the surface.

Continue reading “See. Reflect. Act.”

My Opportunity in Mexico

This is a guest blog post from Augsburg student, and Mary Witt Scholarship recipient, Nikol G. Nikol was able to go on the short term study abroad program, “Food, Justice & Sustainability in Mexico”, during spring break 2017. Thanks for sharing your reflections with us!

I had the opportunity to experience Mexico in a study abroad for 9 days with the Food, Justice and Sustainability class.  I went as an independent study student, but I was lucky enough to be allowed to tag along with this awesome group.  This trip was amazing and was a life changing experience for me.  I have been to Mexico before on vacation with my family, but this experience was different.  This visit I wasn’t there to hangout on the beach or sit by the pool.  This time, I got to meet some amazing people.  People that changed my thinking, and who changed me as a person.  I would like to introduce you to a few of those people. Continue reading “My Opportunity in Mexico”

Auggies Spring Break in Mexico

Augsburg students got the chance to explore Mexico on the 2017 spring break program, “Food, Justice, and Sustainability in Mexico”. Photos from faculty member Ann Lutterman-Aguilar.

From the program brochure:

Environmental Justice and social change take on a local and global perspective in this course that starts in the US, travels to Mexico over spring break, and returns to Augsburg to continue the learning. Continue reading “Auggies Spring Break in Mexico”

Cuernavaca Corner: Our Favorite Cafes


Coffee shop sign

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.

Bons Café

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”

CGEE Faculty Present at National Conference

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!

Students sitting outside along balcony
Ann Lutterman Aguilar leads students in reflection; Cuernavaca, Mexico

What is Day of the Dead?

This blog post was written by our International Resident Assistant in Mexico, Amber Ramirez. 

Mexican Sugar Skulls

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?”

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!