A future starts to come into focus

A future starts to come into focus

Katrina Bradley
I’ve heard there’s been quite the heat wave in the Northeast lately, but I never would have imagined it would be so cold in Mexico! Here in Xalapa the temperature changes constantly throughout the day; in the morning it’s freezing, afternoon it’s sunny, then it rains, then it will be cold again, then it’s hot, then more rain. I definitely should've brought warmer clothes!

The past two weeks have flown by, and I have been quite busy. I have been working very hard on my research project. I had a basic set of questions ready for some of the professors here, but now that I’m here I have had to radically change the format in order for it to better apply to the classes. I interviewed the professor of my Latin American literature written by women class, translating my questions into Spanish as I interviewed her. In addition to interviewing my professor, I also have been reformatting the questionnaires for the students in the class in order for them to better apply to the material taught in the classes.

Last weekend I was invited to attend an economics class at a local high school. One of my friends here teaches a college-level class to non-traditional students, a newly started program funded by the government. Since it’s on Fridays and Saturdays, it allows adults to continue with higher level education courses, while still working full time. My friend also took me to meet some of the professors at a local university where he works part time as a teacher’s assistant. While I was there, I spoke with an economics professor who had earned his master’s degree at the University of Florida. He spoke to me about the major economical problems in Xalapa. The problem is they have the perfect environment to make coffee; they have the fields, the workers, and all of the resources, but the problem is bringing the coffee to the consumer, and attracting the consumer. The other problem he spoke to me about was with all of the youth leaving Mexico. The main question: How do you bring them back to a country with so little to offer?

I had already been looking into the University of Florida for a master’s degree, but I had been unsure of what degree to pursue. After speaking to the professor and observing the economics class, it made me realize I would like to further my education with a degree in International Business instead of Spanish.

This past week the school threw a birthday party for all of the students who have birthdays during the summer session. Since my birthday is on Tuesday (July 13), mine was also celebrated. The school had two piñatas, Mr. Potato Head and Woody, cake, food and gifts for all the birthday students. Also, last week after salsa class we all went out to Bembé, a local salsa club, to practice. However, once we got there we realized the place was full of professionals and our desire to show off our skills quickly diminished!

Amidst all the activities of the past two weeks, we have been sick again. Alex was diagnosed with typhoidal-salmonellosis, and I had to go to the laboratory last Monday to get checked as well. However, it’s not the curse of Montezuma, since we suspect we did not get it in Mexico but in Newark before leaving, and it has definitely been the low point of the trip. Alex has finally been feeling better, but I found out I also have typhoid fever, so I have been extremely sick for the past week. Well, we have less than two more weeks to go, so hopefully I will be feeling better soon in order to enjoy what is left!

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