Six months ago, I physically embarked on an incredible journey. It’s truly astonishing to think about how six months prior to this very second, I was on a plane to Oaxaca, Mexico. I was drawn to Oaxaca for many reasons. Spending the past eight years in Austin, Texas, I was exposed to stereotypes and ideas about Mexico and its people that I truly wanted to examine with my own eyes, ears, and heart. When GIEU offered me the position to travel to Mexico, I jumped on the opportunity. Aspiring to become a ground-level international health worker, I believe that opening one’s mind to multiple perspectives is essential; GIEU’s acceptance unveiled yet another outlet of thinking for my mind to comprehend. In Oaxaca, the molded expectations I had of Mexico were completely unravelled. Arriving in the wet season, the lush green landscape was the most obvious distinction from my preconceived idea that Mexico was barren and desert-like. The emphasis on family and pride in cultural lineage was one that I had not expected. Staying in Oaxaca (Mexico’s most indigenously diverse state) I found it fascinating to observe how different ideals and traditions interacted with each other to form a beautifully chaotic solidarity in society. While I succeeded in obtaining a perception separate from the one I had been exposed to in Texas, I also gained experiences I had not previously considered. My appreciation for the arts has grown phenomenally, as well as my inspiration to become multi-lingual. Six months ago today I physically embarked on an incredible journey. But the physical journey was not the beginning. The mental journey that commenced with the first GIEU meeting is one that has empowered greater recognition of my identity and one that I hope to continue throughout my life.
For more information on the Oaxaca, Mexico Program, visit the CGIS website.