What a month in another country taught me
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I Spent A Summer In Mexico

Traveling by myself for the first time

I Spent A Summer In Mexico

I didn't know much about the Mayan people or their culture going into this program, but after spending about a month exposed to their history and way of life I can say that I found a new passion and that is international studies. Before my experience with the Student Diplomacy Corps, all I knew about the Mayans was what I learned in middle school because when studying global history in high school, Mexico was just passed over. So when I checked my acceptance letter and it said I was going to Mexico to study Mayan history I was beyond excited.

When we first got to Mexico I was so nervous because the only things I could understand fluently in Spanish were simple things such as colors, days of the week, and a few random phrases so as imagined, going through customs was a different experience. Once I saw my group leader Stephen and two kids, a rush of comfort came over me as they greeted me with warm hugs as though we knew each other for a long time. Our program started in Mexico City it felt like the crowded streets of New York so I didn't feel homesick or out of my comfort zone just yet.

I remember going to Muso Nacional de Antropologia where we had a scavenger hunt, we were given a packet containing questions about what was inside the museum. Although I couldn't understand the descriptions of the artifacts I could still help my team with some answers because of all the photos and statues surrounding me.

While on the scavenger I came across so many beautiful pictures that I couldn't help but take photos with or of such as the giant Mayan calendar in the middle of the museum. I had to stop looking for answers just to admire the details on it. I also remember going to look at the replica tomb of Lord Pacal and being fascinated and also a little scared because the replica looked real.

The thing that caught my attention looking at the tomb was the amount of emerald and amber in it. I later learned that the Mayans had immense regard for death but also believed that some deaths were nobler than others hence the jewelry in his tomb.

Climbing was also a very big part of our quest like going to Tenochtitlan and climbing the Sun and Moon Pyramids. Although I was too afraid to climb the sun pyramid I went on to climb the moon pyramid and when I saw that view I couldn't believe that this was built by people. Also climbing and walking around the cacao ranch and looking at cacao seeds which were used as Mayan currency and herbs that the Mayans used in their everyday lives and spiritual ceremonies.

After our stay at the ranch, we went to San Cristobal for our host stay. I was nervous to meet the family opening up their home to me and also how we were going to communicate since they only spoke Spanish and I only understood some. I later realized I had other ways of getting close like Jacquee and I would watch movies with Spanish subtitles while Jonathan and I would stay up until 2 a.m. playing games some nights.

I will be forever grateful that I was chosen to be a part of this quest because it showed me that pushing me out of my comfort zone should be something I do more often. This may sound cliché but after this trip, I feel as though I can take anything on and I feel that's crucial since I'll be starting college very soon. I would like to thank Minds Matter and SDC for making all of this possible and believing that I would take full advantage of this opportunity. Finally, thank you to the amazing people I met this summer that made the trip even more unforgettable.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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