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Parent Review of CGEE

Parent Review: Study Abroad to Cuba, with West Chester University & Augsburg CGEE

The following was submitted by parents of a student participant who went on a custom faculty-led program to Cuba in March 2024. 

What an amazing, life changing experience it was for our daughter who participated in CGEE’s 10 day Study Abroad trip to Cuba (March, 2024). Continue reading “Parent Review of CGEE”

Now Hiring: Resident Assistant (Mexico)

International Resident Assistant (“IRA”) in Mexico (Fellow), Fellowship Job Description for 2024-2025

Summary of Job Description:  The purpose of this one-year stipend fellowship is to promote a healthy living/learning environment for semester students and participants in short-term educational seminars at Augsburg CGEE in Mexico.  In addition, the primary responsibilities of the fellow are to assist study abroad students (mostly coming from the U.S.A.) with medical and emotional issues and to help them develop intercultural and global competencies, as well as to assist in the operation of all educational programs. The IRA will also be expected to produce social media that can help promote these programs and help with administrative tasks.

Length and dates of this stipend fellowship position: *August 15, 2024 – August 21, 2025 (*The starting and ending dates are slightly flexible.)

Continue reading “Now Hiring: Resident Assistant (Mexico)”

Embracing New Experiences and Personal Growth

This is a guest blog post from our student social media ambassador, Jaida. Currently studying abroad on the semester program, “New Activisms, Human Rights and Social Justice” that travels to Guatemala and Costa Rica. This semester the itinerary also included a visit to Chiapas, Mexico. 

[Q:] Do you have any advice for the next incoming group of study abroad students?

[A:] My primary advice for the upcoming group of students is Continue reading “Embracing New Experiences and Personal Growth”

Field Note from Amatlán: Women for Women

This is a guest blog post from our student social media ambassador, Lorpu, from Augsburg University. Currently studying abroad on the semester program, “Communication and Media Studies: Migration & Social Change in Mexico”. This is an adaption from an assignment, shared with permission.

 On a Sunday in September, we met with a very confident and knowledgeable lady named Fabiola in Amatlán. She has one daughter and a fun fact about herself was that she is a dancer. Fabiola is a cofounder of the group called Women for Women in the town of Amatlán and other surrounding towns. Before she talked about her group and what they do, the first made a prayer asking the guardian to make everyone comfortable and to be able to understand and take away something from what she was going to tell us. That was interesting to hear.

According to Fabiola, Women for Women is an organized group of indigenous women that came together to unite and talk about their stories, struggles and other things that women go through and create a sisterhood. She said that she has also met with indigenous women from Peru, Ecuador, and the United States. Fabiola talked about how for a while she only saw herself as a woman from Tepoxalin, but travelling and being among different group of women made her realized that she was different. Another interesting thing that she said was that she is not married, and not being married made her work a little easier for her, because she doesn’t have an extra obligation to a man apart from being a mom. She also said that some of the women that she works with are not married neither. She also said that being in their group, she recognized that most the of the women had something in common. The thing that they all had a common was that they have all experienced some form of abuse, sexism, and racism. They had different kinds of violence in different ways. She also said that they don’t hate men even though they have experienced some type of violence from men. She said they are not what you would call “modern day” feminist. She said that they support their men and work beside them to stop violence. She said that their goal is to live free of violence and take full control of their lives.


Unraveling Threads: A Reflection on My Theology Journey

This is a guest blog post from our student social media ambassador, Jaida. Currently studying abroad on the semester program, “New Activisms, Human Rights and Social Justice” that travels to Guatemala and Costa Rica. This semester the itinerary also included a visit to Chiapas, Mexico. 

Unraveling Threads: A Reflection on My Theology Journey

waterfalls in longo maiEmbarking on this theology class, I felt like a curious explorer setting foot on uncharted territory. As someone who had never delved into the realm of theology before, I was both excited and apprehensive. Little did I know that this academic journey would unfold into a profound exploration of the intricate relationship between culture and religion. Each class became a thread, weaving together the tapestry of my understanding. The layers of insight gained were not just intellectual, but deeply spiritual, opening my eyes to the profound ways in which beliefs and traditions shape our world.

One of the most captivating revelations of this class was witnessing the organic fusion of culture and religion. Through the daily reflections in my theology of liberation class, I began to recognize the delicate dance between the two. The stories shared here illuminated the way beliefs and practices became interwoven with cultural norms, creating a harmonious blend that echoed through generations. It was fascinating to observe how rituals, traditions, and even language were infused with spiritual significance, forming an inseparable bond between culture and faith for some societies.

What struck me profoundly was the idea of generational imprints within cultures and religions. It became evident how beliefs passed down through generations leave indelible marks, shaping not just individuals but entire communities. This intricate web of intergenerational influence highlighted the enduring power of traditions. In my reflections, I found myself tracing back the origins of certain customs within my own home, connecting the dots between ancient rituals and modern practices. Understanding these interconnected legacies deepened my appreciation for the rich tapestry of human spirituality.

As I reflect on my journey through this class, I find myself inspired to weave my own theological narrative. It’s not merely an academic exercise but a soul-stirring exploration of my beliefs in the context of the broader world. This class has opened my eyes to the beauty of theological diversity and the ways in which our beliefs, when shared and understood, can create bridges between cultures, fostering empathy, respect, and unity.

Student Ambassador Post: Creating Memories, Family, and Friends Abroad!

This is a guest blog post from our student social media ambassador, Lorpu, from Augsburg University. Currently studying abroad on the semester program, “Communication and Media Studies: Migration & Social Change in Mexico”.

students smiling in the vanOne of my fears of studying abroad in Mexico was the fear of being lonely. I was coming to a country where I didn’t know anyone. I couldn’t speak the language, and I was not sure if my two years of Spanish classes in college was going to work for me. I knew that there were students from my college coming as well, but at that moment, I had never met anyone of them. I had a lot of anxiety about things not going well. I reached out to Ann, the director here in Mexico to talk to her about some of my concerns about studying abroad, and she was kind enough to connect me with a student that had study abroad here in Mexico the previous semester. The student was very kind as well and she reassured me that everything was going to be okay once I arrive in Mexico.

My time here in Mexico has been amazing. The students here that I am studying abroad with are amazing. Maddy, Angelica, Bella, Savannah, Henry, Antonio, Towns, and Tori have all made my study abroad experience an amazing experience so far. It is great to have people that you can talk and relate to in other ways given that you all are going to the same experience. We have all been taking care of each other in ways that we know how to. For example, when I had some stomach issue during our trip to Amatlan, one of the students Angelica made me some tea and kept checking on me to make sure I was doing good. The same happens for other students as well. When someone is going somewhere cool, they extend the invitation to everyone in the group. We are like a family here.

students on the river

The staff here at Casa Augsburg are more than amazing. Ruti our RA is amazing. She goes above and beyond to meet our needs. She takes everyone needs very seriously. I can say that I feel comfortable going to her about my needs. I am sure the other students feel the same way. Ann and the other professors have been amazing as well. Sometimes everyone has lunch together after class and just talk about what is going on at the moment. Everyone has been respectful of each other’s boundaries. We haven’t had a problem with that. The staff are open to questions that we have, and they are always more than happy to answer them. Having lunch together with everyone and talking has been one of my favorite parts of my study abroad experience.

My both my host parents in Amatlan and Cuernavaca is amazing people. My host parents in Amatlan were what I would call “cool” they had tacos stand at night and we would go there to play cards and board games with my host sister and host brother. They even told us to invite our friends to the stand. We invited our friends, and they had an amazing time. One of my favorites parts of the homestay was walking our host brother to school in the morning and picking him up after school. My host parents here in Cuernavaca are great people as well. My host mom makes sure that my dietary needs are met, and she encourages me to ask for things when I need them. My host dad is amazing as well along with my host sister. We have been to their family gatherings, and I had a great time meeting the extended family. I love both families.


smiling student with host family in mexicoIn conclusion, I am having a great time in Cuernavaca Mexico! The people are very welcoming, and I have never been made to feel like I don’t belong. A word that I have used a lot in this post is “amazing” because that is the only way that I know how to describe my experience. There are days that can be a little hard because I get home sick sometimes, but I am enjoying the experience at the same time. I am making new friends and family here and it feels great to have that community of people who are supportive and loving.

“Inside Biden’s Cuba Policy” Film Screening & Discussion with Cuban Journalist

Augsburg CGEE invites everyone to join award-winning Cuban journalist and filmmaker, Liz Oliva Fernández, for a screening and Q&A of two new Belly of the Beast documentaries on Thursday, November 2nd from 2 – 4:00 p.m. in Kennedy Center Room 303A. Continue reading ““Inside Biden’s Cuba Policy” Film Screening & Discussion with Cuban Journalist”

Student Ambassador Post: Friends Along the Journey

This is a guest blog post from our student social media ambassador, Jaida. Currently studying abroad on the semester program, “New Activisms, Human Rights and Social Justice” that travels to Guatemala and Costa Rica. This semester the itinerary also included a visit to Chiapas, Mexico. 

Hey there, it’s Jaida checking in from San Jose, Costa Rica! I can’t believe I’m already halfway through my semester with the CGEE Central American program. Reflecting on my journey so far, I can confidently say that I’ve not only expanded my academic knowledge about the region but also experienced tremendous personal growth, especially in my interpersonal relationships.

Group of 7 college students in front of a volcanoBack home, I was comfortably nestled in my circle of friends, but studying abroad in a foreign country with just six other people challenged me in ways I hadn’t anticipated. At first, I felt overwhelmed by the small size of our group, doubting my ability to form genuine connections amidst unfamiliar faces. Hearing stories from others about lifelong friendships forged during their study abroad experiences, I skeptically brushed them off, thinking it was just an exaggeration.

As it turns out, I was mistaken. I realize now that I was clinging onto the safety net of my existing friendships, hesitant to step out of my comfort zone. It took time, shared meals, laughter, and numerous adventures, but eventually, we found our rhythm and became a tight-knit community. Our shared experiences, whether visiting a mass grave or learning from human rights organizations, have transformed our surroundings into an extended classroom.

The beauty of our bond lies in our collective journey. We’ve navigated the challenges of adapting to a new culture and language together, which has only strengthened our friendship. Our interactions have moved beyond the confines of the traditional classroom, expanding into the vibrant communities we’ve explored. The shared learning and growth within this unique setting have made our connections all the more profound.

I’ve come to appreciate the importance of embracing the unfamiliar and allowing myself to be vulnerable. In doing so, I’ve discovered an unexpected family in this faraway land. Our little group has become a support system, a source of inspiration, and a network of friendships that I believe will last a lifetime. I’ve learned that genuine connections can sprout from the most unexpected places, and I am grateful for the enriching experience of being part of this incredible community.

Thank you, Augsburg, for giving me the ability to learn more about what friendship and community means to me. Here’s to more shared adventures and meaningful connections in the second half of my semester abroad!

Student Ambassador Post: First Weeks in Northern Ireland

This is a guest blog post from our student social media ambassador, Kathryn. Currently studying abroad on the semester program, “Conflict, Peace, and Transition in Northern Ireland” at our newest location in Derry-Londonderry.

Hello everyone! My name is Kathryn, it is my third week here in Northern Ireland and I am having such an amazing and fulfilling experience. We spent the first week exploring the coast and getting familiar with the culture. The scenery is so breathtaking and the locals are so friendly! Continue reading “Student Ambassador Post: First Weeks in Northern Ireland”