Kayla King - Querétaro, Mexico
I had a difficult time deciding what aspect of my study abroad semester in Querétaro, Mexico to describe here because I loved all of it so much that it is nearly impossible to pick a favorite moment. Mexico has so much to offer and anyone who rules it out as a study abroad option because of its close proximity to the United States would be foolish. The culture there is rich and the people are loving. Because of them I really grew as a Person, and I can honestly say that my semester in Mexico was an amazing Experience that I would repeat time and time again if given the opportunity.
My host family welcomed me in to their home no questions asked and we grew to love each other as real family. My host mom introduced me to her friends as her "hija", or daughter, and some would reply that this was not true, to which she said that I was her daughter in spirit and she had adopted me into the family. We shared many unforgettable moments full of laughter and tears that I will never forget .
The city of Querétaro was gorgeous and rich in history and the university I attended offered many cultural experiences such as dance classes, courses in culture, international student trips, and an irreplaceable opportunity to learn and appreciate the Spanish language. But I didn't just travel with the university, I also traveled with friends that I made while abroad - some natives, some from the United States, and others from all over the world, including India, Australia, France, and Bolivia. One particular trip packed full of adventure and great memories was during Holy Week, which is their Spring Break.
I decided to hop on a bus and go south for the week with a few friends. First, we went to Palenque in the state of Chiapas where we climbed ancient Mayan ruins, explored our way through a jungle, bargained with the street vendors, tasted rich foods, and swam underneath a waterfall. After a few days there we carried on toward Oaxaca, a place that I had read about in my Spanish textbooks since early high school. There, we met fascinating people, danced in the "zócalo", (town square), and saw a fossilized waterfall - of which there are only two in the entire world. While there I also witnessed the Holy Week parades each night and was amazed by the grandeur of it all. These were things that I had learned about for years and I was now actually seeing them in real life.
For me, Mexico is where history, textbooks, and ultimately, learning came alive. Studying abroad is an incredible opportunity that one should not pass up I, for one, am so glad that Central Michigan University allowed me the chance to enhance my learning, my ability to speak Spanish, and my love for life by letting me spend a semester in Mexico.