Augsburg Dean of Global Education Travels to Mexico with MN Governor Dayton

On Sunday, August 9th, Augsburg College’s Dean of Global Education, Eric Canny, will join Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and a delegation of 36 representatives of Minnesota businesses, agriculture industry, and education institutions on a trade mission to Mexico City and Guadalajara. From the press release, “During their visit, the delegation will meet with high-ranking Mexican business leaders and government officials, explore trade and investment opportunities, and renew common ties between Mexico and Minnesota.”

You can follow the mission on Twitter with #GovTradeMission.

Augsburg College has operated a campus in Cuernavaca, Mexico since 1979.

Summer in Mexico: Photo Edition!

Intern Laura Aguas recently sent some photos of CGEE summer Mexico program.

This first set is of a visit the students took to a unified community, mostly organized by Marta Delgado, an activist and social worker.  There is an image of a park the neighbors helped clean up and restore, as well as a couple of images of the students with Marta. At this Street intersection, Marta asks for her community to help make the neighborhood a better place to live.  She feels the community needs to be organized in order to bring progress; government officials can’t do it alone.

 

This was a visit students took to Darier, a cosmetics company the business/marketing majors attended. The company strives to be environmentally friendly and sustainable. They have a system to separate their hazardous and non hazardous waste, as well as find ways to produce less air and water pollution.

Semester Abroad Student Reflection

From “Mexico: Migration, Globalization and the Environment” student Amanda Moua.

Going back home is something bitter-sweet for me. I am not expecting much return culture-shock, after all I was born and raised in Minnesota. If anything I’ll have developed a small disdain for the capitalistic and materialistic theme going on back home. But overall I am looking forward to being near my family again and being able to fully understand people’s language when I step outside.

Looking back at these past four months, I have slowly begun to realize how lucky I am to have experienced this study abroad opportunity. Being submerged in a whole new culture and language has solidified my love for different cultures and people and my desire to major in international relations. I did not know what to expect when coming to Mexico, but I have definitely made good memories and friends here. I will never forget the hospitality of everyone I have met here and the kindness I received. I want to come back in the future and hopefully I will be able to experience more parts of Mexico.

These pictures are of my favorite excursion. For my biology class we visited and climbed Iztaccihuatl popocatepetl (a volcano). It was a once in a lifetime experience and something I will never forget. The sheer beauty is something in and of itself but my favorite part was when a cloud floated towards us and slowly enveloped us. Now I can understand the phrase “being on cloud 9.” It is something you just want to sit and take in, while it takes you in. One of the best decisions I have made here, was climbing that volcano.

Experience Cuernavaca

This post was written by CGEE staff member Lucy Hardaker, who works at the Minneapolis office at Augsburg College.

When I traveled to Cuernavaca, Mexico this April, I got a glimpse of the life of a CGEE student in Mexico. I landed at the Mexico City airport, where the CGEE driver, Ismael, came to pick me up. He was incredibly friendly, and chatted with me during our 2 hour drive to Cuernavaca, and taught me about Mexico. As a Cuernavaca native, he is very knowledgeable about the region and culture!

For the next two (intensive) days, I observed and participated in the student semester experience. I visited an elementary school where our students intern teaching English, visited a host family, got a tour of the town, participated in class activities, saw guest speakers, and met the students from UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) who spend two weeks with the social work students.

Cuernavaca is a very balanced and accessible city in which to study.  It’s not an overly large or sprawling city, but it is also not too small – it has many great shops, cafes, events, and theaters to keep students busy. It’s not “touristy”, so you can get the full Mexico cultural experience. And perhaps one other wonderful perk – it’s BEAUTIFUL!

Aside from the city being marvelous for a study abroad experience, the staff on site are also wonderful people. Each one brings their own expert knowledge and insight about Mexican culture, the town of Cuernavaca, and their respective academic disciplines. They are all kind-hearted and fun-loving, and I had an absolute blast getting to meet them in person!

Who wouldn’t want this great experience in a cool town with fun people?! Thanks to the entire Cuernavaca team for making my visit memorable.

CGEE-Mexico students visit the childhood home of Sor Juana Inez De La Cruz

Words and photos from CGEE-Mexico Spring student, Tim Bishop.

A few weeks ago, the CGEE crew went to Hacienda Panoaya, the childhood home of Sor Juana Inez De La Cruz. If you don’t know who she is, please look her up – she is a truly spectacular human being and deserves to be known.

We did many things, from touring her house and grounds to getting lost in a maze. My personal favorite was the house of birds, where tiny little flapping-things would flit from ceiling to floor and sit on you.

An amazing experience to say the least.

More Student Photos: Mexico Edition!

These photos are from Augsburg Student, Amy Theurer, as she studies abroad on the Social Work program in Mexico! Find us on our Facebook page to post comments on the social work students’ other blog posts

 

Dr. Ann Lutterman-Aguilar: Mexican Women Fan the Flames of Hope

Dr. Ann Lutterman-Aguilar spoke with approximately 150 people in San Miguel de Allende on International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8.  She was a guest of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
Ann’s talk was entitled “Mexican Women Fan the Flames of Hope.” She talked about the variety of challenges faced by Mexican women, including poverty, unequal access to education, domestic violence, sexual assault, death from illegal abortions, and feminicide.  However, her primary focus was on the hope that can be found among both secular and religious groups within Mexico that are working on all of these issues.
In a country where conservative elements of the Catholic church have had a huge influence on silencing progressive women’s voices, Ann argued that it is especially important to recognize the Catholic feminist groups that are actively organizing on women’s issues, often challenging the hierarchy of the church.  She provided quotes and examples from Mexican women and groups who are using feminist liberation theologies in their struggles. All of them are individuals and groups who have spoken with Augsburg’s CGEE short-term, summer, and semester programs.
The talk was very well received, and Ann was particularly delighted that one of her favorite authors, Sandra Cisneros, was in attendance.  Sandra’s readings are assigned in many CGEE courses!  Ann was incredible honored to speak with Sandra after her presentation.

 

Multiple Truths: Week in Amatlan

The students and I  were able to spend a wonderful week in Amatlán de Quetzalcoatl. Through living in homestays, visiting local organizations, listening to the experiences of local people, and participating in natural healing and spiritual ceremonies, we were able to learn more about aspects of rural life in Mexico. The one thing that I purposefully kept in mind through the whole week was the concept of “multiple truths.” That is, I wanted to engage in every experience by not looking for what was “wrong” or “right,” or not judging or thinking which ideas or beliefs were more “logical” through my lens and perspectives. Instead, I hoped to realize that there are many truths, cultures, and beliefs, so that I could truly appreciate someone’s story. I cannot compare someone’s story, culture, and beliefs to mine or discredit them based on my different beliefs. I personally think that, as social workers and future social workers, we need to engage with clients while acknowledging that there is no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to beliefs, ideas, and actions – just different truths.

The students and I experienced a clash of beliefs when we visited a primary school in Amatlán. One of these experiences was meeting the special needs teacher of the school. She expressed to us that part of her job was debunking the “myths” these children had been culturally and traditionally taught. These “myths” included being healed with a traditional healing ceremony called a “limpia” and the belief in fairies. According to her, people could not be healed with a traditional healing ceremony called a “limpia” and fairies could not exist because one cannot touch them. Her thought was, “what you cannot touch, does not exist.” She went on to state that it is important to debunk these “myths” because if she did not, the children would then need to see a psychiatrist once they got to adulthood. Her statements left me with the following questions and thoughts. When is it – if ever – our role as social workers to debunk someone’s traditions and beliefs?  Can you respect someone’s beliefs while not truly thinking that they could be real or work? For example, if a client comes to us with signs of depression, but believes that this depression could be caused from negative energy or bad spirits, and therefore believes that it could be healed with natural or traditional ways of healing,  is it my responsibility to believe  that their means of healing may result in curing the depression? Or, is it my responsibility as a social worker to go with my western way of thought and schooling and refer them to a mental health provider?

Readers, do you have thoughts on these questions?  Please post in the comments on our Facebook page.