Finding Community

Hello there,

While being in another country I came to realize that I wanted to find a community. At first, it wasn’t easy looking for a group of people with anything in common. Finding a friend group, a church group, or even a mentor did not just fall into my hands.

I will say the international student directors and professors at UPAEP try their best to be available in directing and mentoring your experience here. Yet, I ended up finding a community in an unexpected way.

One day, a friend invited me to a young adults retreat near the university, during a three day weekend. It was said to be a life changing experience and an opportunity to find an encounter with God. On the search to meet more people from the area and lacking a home church I figured I should go.The day of the trip, we met youth of 14 – 25 years old, all questioning what the trip was going to entail. Unfortunately, I cannot spoil all the details of the retreat. But with complete honesty I can say it was one of the best experiences I have had. Through this event I was able to strengthen my relationship with God through each moment we had to simply sit in his presence. I reflected on my life with each testimony shared. I made decisions on how to grow in my spirituality through each encounter with those that I came to love there. It was truly breathtaking to meet so many people from different stages in life, choosing to become a family as our journey went on. The leaders of the retreat were so welcoming and supportive regardless of the burdens or mentalities we brought. I was amazed by how young some of them were and how they shared their personal stories and talents to better our experience.

After the retreat we continued building a community  with one another. They invited us to join them in praise and worship and bible study once a week. The family I built with these young adults will not be forgotten upon my arriving back home. I advise any student coming to UPAEP to take the initiative to attend such a powerful experience. The next retreat will take place on November 20th (shown in the flyer below).

Eating in Puebla

Hi again,

Here in Mexico I have gotten a chance to try many new things, particularly new foods. Coming out to Puebla I realized there was so much I had not even heard of. Having Mexican heritage, Mexican cuisine has never seemed foreign to me. Mexico is so big, it is no surprise that Mexican culture and traditions can vary depending on where you are in the country.  It was clear to me that I did not know everything about Mexico. Yet, I was amazed to see that here there were a variety of dishes I had yet to try.

My family comes from northern Mexico, in a state called Coahuila (depicted in the photo below to the right.) Much of the Mexican food I knew of or was used to is not popular here in Puebla, which is closer to southern Mexico (depicted in the photo below to the left).

                    Resultado de imagen para puebla mexico mapa

For instance, in northern Mexico the flour tortilla is very popular, while here in Puebla is it very hard to find a hand made flour tortilla. Being open and willing to try new things has allowed me to eat some delicious dishes during my study abroad. Some of the dishes I had for the first time this semester are:

Mole Poblano– chicken with a dark sauce containing chocolate from Oaxaca and many spices, topped with sesame seeds.

Chiles en Nogadas– a large chile poblano, stuffed with ground meat, covered in white walnut sauce, and topped with pomegranate seeds.

Chalupas– fried corn tortilla topped with red or green salsa, chicken, and cheese.

Tacos Arabes– Tacos with an Arabic influence made with a thicker flourtortilla (somewhat like naan bread) and  grilled meat, usually eaten with a chipotle sauce.

Sweet Potato Candies “Dulces de Camote”– caramelized sweet potato mixed with different fruit juices. Fotos from:

https://noticieros.televisa.com/ultimas-noticias

https://www.tripsavvy.com/what-to-eat-in-puebla-1588810

México Mágico

 

Hello everyone,

Mexico is an amazing country to study abroad in. One of my favorite parts of being here is the opportunity to venture out into other parts of Mexico. The culture is so rich and diverse and traveling is not very expensive. Although it seems impossible to see all of Mexico during this semester, UPAEP does a great job of giving us a chance to see some breathtaking areas. With the university, international student can attend trips to various “Pueblos Mágicos” with the international leaders as guides.

“Los Pueblos Mágicos” (The Magic Towns) was originally a federal campaign to attract more tourist to recognize Mexico for its diverse landscapes and communities among each of its 31 states. 15 years later the people who live in these “pueblos” have continued to value them for their individual history, traditions, and cuisine.  Here are some of the destinations I have been to so far:

  • Toluca, Estado de Mexico: Where we are able to visit the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in the forest.

 

  • Tepoztlan, Morelos: A traditional town where there are more Aztec relics pertaining to the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl.

 

 

 

 

Pyramid of the Sun
  • Teotihuacan, Estado de Mexico: To walk through the pre-hispanic ruins named Teotihuacan (Birthplace of the Gods) of the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, the Pyramid of the Moon, and the Pyramid of the Sun.

 

Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Hola Compañeros,

As I mention in my bio I was not originally looking to come to a university in a large city; now I am very happy I did. Not only because Puebla is a beautiful, lively city and UPAEP is a very welcoming university, but also because of how this experience is helping me mature as a person. For many of us that choose to go to school close to home, being “close to” our families can be a big priority. And once you are in one school for three years you develop strong relationships that you hope will last forever. At least that is how I felt while at Hope College this past semester and I was honestly worried all that would change because of my decision to study abroad.

It didn’t take long for me to realize studying in Mexico would not destroy the relationships I had at home; in fact, it would help me realize that these relationships are very strong. After just my first day here in Mexico I realized my friends and family would always be there for me. Although they didn’t completely understand the challenges I was experiencing of navigating a new place as a foreigner, they have shown me that I will always have their moral support and advice in tough situations. By being intentional in contacting friends and family I have felt less homesick and more motivated to bring stories back with me.