While many Mexicans are heading north to Minneapolis, Augsburg students Courtnie Higgins and Sarah Mueller have headed south for a semester at Augsburg´s Center for Global Education (CGE) campus in Minneapolis’ newest sister-city, Cuernavaca, Mexico.
For Higgins (pictured right), the decision to study abroad in Mexico came quite easily. “I wanted to experience a new language and culture. In particular, I wanted to deepen my understanding of the complexities in the relationship between the United States and Mexico. To me, this was an opportunity to immerse myself in a different way of life that Mexico could offer that other countries in Europe couldn’t.” The decision came with a bit more difficulty for Mueller (pictured left). “I never thought I wanted to study abroad, but the experience has proved to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. It makes you see the world and your place in it differently.”
Both students found that their first month abroad has challenged the notion of the traditional classroom as they have met with migrants and activists along the U.S.-Mexico border, stayed with families in a Nahua indigenous community, and have taken their evolving Spanish language skills outside the classroom and into local organizations and historic sites. As they move into their second month of the program, some students will begin internships and independent studies, while all the students in the program are looking forward to more exchanges with community members at the grassroots level as well as moving in with families throughout Cuernavaca for a 5-week homestay.
When asked about the financial implications of study abroad, Higgins replied, “If we’re already paying for a semester at Augsburg, why not study abroad through a program that won’t cost any more and can provide the experience of a lifetime?” Augsburg students who participate in CGE programs receive an automatic $500 scholarship for airfare and pay the same amount that they would pay for a semester on-campus. Additional scholarships are also available.
The October 1 deadline to study abroad for the spring semester is quickly approaching. The Center for Global Education in Mexico is offering two programs for the coming semester, “Social Work in the Latin American Context” and “Migration and Globalization: Engaging Our Communities.” Applications can be downloaded from http://www.augsburg.edy/global/spa/spa-applic.html or picked up at Murphy Place. In addition to applying to CGE, students must apply to the Augsburg Abroad office for college approval. Information on applying can be obtained at a Group Advising meeting in Murphy Place or at http://www.augsburg.edu/augsburgabroad/
To keep up with Courtnie, Sarah, and the other students on the “Crossing Borders” program, read their blog at http://www.crossingborders08.blogspot.com/
Story by Julie Rogers, Center for Global Education intern, Cuernavaca, Mexico