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Puebla, Mexico: Spanish Language and Mexican Culture (Summer)
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Amber Bortner

Liberal Arts Major: Spanish
Other Major: Hospitality Management
Hometown: Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania

What was the best part of your experience?

The best part of the experience was living with a Mexican family. It was not only useful to practice speaking Spanish everyday, but they were able to share different colloquial sayings that are not taught in university courses. They also introduced me to poblano culture, especially gastronomy and music. By having this immersive cultural experience, I was able to interact with different people rather than just in an academic setting. I met extended family, including children and teenagers, during weekly family dinners and saw the importance of family in Mexican households as I have learned in my classes.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I took 3 courses including Visual Cultures, Translation and Mexican History. They count for 9 credits which is very helpful for counting towards the major. They not only improved my Spanish comprehension skills, but also allowed me to analyze cultural aspects of Mexico. We took several field trips to prehispanic ruins, had a cooking class, learned how to salsa, and went on a gastronomy tour. A local professor taught the Mexican history course, and he was able to tell us the history of Mexico and what life is like in Puebla today. This immersive way of learning helped me learn more in a short amount of time.

How will this experience impact your career goals?

My main goal that I achieved through this experience is to become a global thinker. In a world as diverse as ours, it is necessary to be inclusive and understanding of all people and cultures. My ultimate career goal is to work in a Spanish-speaking country. Through this program, I have developed strong communication skills and cultural knowledge. This experience paired with my continued education to receive a Spanish major will give me the confidence and skills I need to make this happen. I have lived in a Spanish-speaking setting and was able to communicate in a conversational manner, and my next goal is to speak Spanish in a professional setting.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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