Although I have only been in Mexico for one month, I have already had an amazing time. It has been one of the best experiences of my life and definitely one of the most unique. I have made a lot of good friends, visited numerous interesting places, vastly improved my Spanish abilities, and learned a lot about myself in the short time that I have been here. I have met a lot of students from all around the world including Columbia, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, France, Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and of course Mexico. Since I did not come here with any of my friends I have been forced to be more outgoing and meet people nearly everywhere that I go.
One of my favorite quotes by the famous physicist Stephen Hawking says, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” Through my experiences in Mexico I feel that I have tested my ability to adapt to change numerous times and in the process improved my ability to do so. These valuable experiences are the ones that will make the greatest impact on me out of all of the things I have learned and will learn in Mexico.
Although I go to class five days a week and learn a lot, I feel that most of my learning has taken place outside of the classroom. Whether it be adapting to cultural differences, speaking Spanish (or trying to), or just spending time with people from Mexico and other countries, I feel that I am constantly learning, which in my mind is the only way to progress in life. According to an old proverb, change is the only constant. So in my opinion, if you aren’t progressing, you are regressing.
For me this trip is the first time that I have done a lot of things. It is the first time I have been out of the country. It was the first time that I have traveled alone (on the way down here). It is the first time that I have been forced to speak Spanish in everyday life. It is the first time that I have lived outside of Arkansas. It is the longest time that I have not seen my family or friends (excluding skype). And it is the first time that I have gone to a private school. Despite all of these differences I have at no point felt anything but optimistic about my experiences and honestly I am yet to feel the least bit homesick (hopefully I haven’t spoken too soon).
In my house I live with five other Mexican University students and my host mother, so I am the only foreigner. Honestly I prefer it that way because I am more immersed in the culture of Mexico. I am able to speak Spanish with everyone in the house which has vastly improved my conversational abilities.
I couldn’t be happier with the entire situation; I love the food, the culture, the locals, the other exchange students, my school, my home situation, and the city. The only thing I don’t like about Mexico is that crossing the street is by far the most dangerous thing because the drivers here are CRAZY. Also, despite the bad reputation that Mexico has received because of the drug violence, Guadalajara has only experienced minimal disturbances, and at no point have I truly felt that I have been in danger from any such violence. As long as I stay in the right areas, Guadalajara is just as safe as Little Rock.