I traveled to Queretaro Mexico for the second time in spring 2006 semester. I enrolled directly through the Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro and was there four months. There was much more effort needed to enroll directly, but it was worth it to have another fantastic experience studying in Mexico. I was able to experience a broader range of classes at a higher academic level this year because of the Spanish knowledge I gained during my previous study abroad experience. I took classes in political science, sociology, fine arts, and literature—all of which were fair, yet challenging.
The city was just as beautiful as I remembered it and the culture still fascinates me. I was met with welcome arms by old friends and the host family I stayed with last year. I also made many new friends, American and Mexican. Altogether it was more enjoyable to explore different regions of the country and get to know the culture more in depth. Everyday is a learning experience, no matter if it is shopping in the market or going to class.
I had a unique experience this year because I lived with friends that I had made before instead of with a host family. This was a great decision because I was able to learn more about everyday living in Mexico. Before my mother prepared all of my meals for me, but this year I learned where to shop and how to make different authentic meals. Though I still have much to learn about cooking Mexican dishes, I went from being almost helpless in what to do, to being completely confident that I could take care of myself. I felt like I got a more realistic inside experience.
I would encourage anyone to study abroad in Mexico or in any other country because I learned so much in both of my experiences abroad and many of those lessons can’t be taught in a classroom. Language skills are strengthened by necessity and cultural knowledge is obtained through everyday living. This type of trip teaches a person more about their area of study, but at the same time it teaches them about themselves.