Water your plans this Saturday?

Okay, okay, so you might be asking “what’s with the title?” It was my best attempt to throw in a little pun about water, sorry to disappoint. Today, our first Saturday here in Querétaro, we were blessed with the opportunity to visit a pool on campus that is used for hydrotherapy. This type of therapy is used to make patients more aware of their movements with the help of the resistance to the water. Some are able to learn to walk again, or even simply stand, as the “floatability,” as they called it, allows them to have less impact and stress from the force of gravity and bearing full weight. After our night salsa dancing and being on our feet touring the city, this hydrotherapy came as a very relaxing activity. We all partnered up and were taught different techniques to testing and mixing different movements to achieve ultimate relaxation. I’d even go so far as to say some of us were on the brink of taking a nice snooze in the warm pool for how relaxed we became.


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After taking a long dip in the pool, we had the privilege of attending a lecture and laboratory session on traditional Mexican medicine. In the theory, or lecture, portion of the day, we were taught about various infusions, ointments, and even masks that can aid in detoxing and healing various illnesses or wounds. After this, we headed over to the laboratory where we were able to make and test out a few traditional medicines.

The first thing we made was a facial mask consisting of clay and water boiled with dried chamomile stalks. The clay and chamomile each have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that help to reduce inflammation, promote circulation, and assist in reducing acne. We applied this clay mask to our faces and allowed it to dry to test out this traditional remedy. It essentially looked like we stuck our faces in mud, but let me tell you, our faces were smooth as a baby’s bottom!

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In testing out various traditional medicines, we were able to make an infusion of lavender and mint leaves to create a calming and soothing herbal tea. The lavender allows the mind and body to relax, while the mint helps to invigorate and allow digestion to be more effective and smooth. Lastly, we made a traditional ointment out of several ingredients I am sorry to admit I was not able to retain (also they did not translate to English). However, these two plants combined with a type of bark had various antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects, which promote circulation and healing of damaged tissue. So, if any of us have a run in with any mosquitos or sharp objects we should be set with some nice ointment to promote healing!

Overall, today was very eye-opening to various aspects of culture and the incorporation of cultural remedies into medicine. Medicine here in Mexico has many traditional influences, so it was neat to see how these are still used and concocted today–and also to see how beneficial they can be!

Peace and Blessings for a wonderful Sunday.

It’s been neat to see how God is working here and throughout the people with whom we come into contact, and a verse I read today reminded me of just that:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” -Acts 1:8

God does not call us simply to be content in our faith in the places we are comfortable, but to go out and spread His love and word to the ends of the earth to all with whom we cross paths. So, I challenge you to go be a witness! Show others through words and more importantly, through actions, just what the good news is about!

much love,



More Similar Than We Think

Hola a todos!

Today we had our first completely free day, with no plans or activities scheduled. I’m thankful that with our free time, our group prefers adventure to just sitting around! In the morning we found our way to a big park called La Alameda, where we walked the paths through beautiful trees, flowers, and grass in the middle of the big city, played on the playground, and relaxed in the shade by the fountain. After this we found a café downtown in the Centro, where we had a delicious lunch and spent a few hours catching up on homework. Later we explored some more of the Centro, ending up at a delicious gelato shop.

IMG_4052[1]What has struck me the most so far in my time in Querétaro has not been the differences I have seen, but rather the similarities. I think it is easy to assume that life is completely different in a different country. Some of the more obvious aspects, like the language and the culture, are different than those of the United States, and so we overlook the fact that people everywhere are more alike than they are different. The opportunity we have these three weeks of living with host families lets us see how much we have in common with people of this different culture. The five of us students are all living with nursing students from Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, the university Hope partners with for this program. My host sister, Isa, gets up early every morning to go to “prácticas,” or what we nursing students from Hope call clinicals. I can definitely identify with the struggle of those early mornings! It has been cool to learn from her what she is learning in her studies, and to compare that to my classes and practicums at Hope. Yes there are differences, but in the end we are both going to be nurses!

On the first day I met my host sister and her mom, they said they had heard that Hope was a Christian school, and wondered if that meant we were Christians also. Right from the start, it was incredibly comforting to me to know that my family here in Mexico is ultimately exactly the same as I am, in that we both look to Christ for life here on earth and life eternal in heaven. All the beautiful churches and cathedrals we have toured the past few days in Querétaro have reminded me of the supremacy of Christ, and that he is above any divide there might be between humans-divides of country, of culture, of language, of denomination, of political views. What an incredible opportunity he has given us to get to know, learn from, and encourage our brothers and sisters here in Querétaro!

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9


Adventuring in Querétaro

This morning we had an official tour of “El Centro.” The architecture is so interesting throughout Querétaro. The central part of town is very colonial style and is rich in history. There are many museums, cathedrals, and theaters. All the cathedrals in the central part are beautiful and many have detailed, golden ornamental decorations on the wall. Today we visited the Convento de Santa Clara. Murals are also a very popular form of art here and can be seen throughout different churches, museum/historical buildings and throughout the city. One of my favorite things about the city are all the gardens and plazas with fountains. The trees are well-kept everywhere and the city is very clean in most parts. Below is a picture of the Jardin Guerrero (the Warrior Garden).


After our tour of the city, we ate at a Mexican style restaurant and did homework in a coffee shop. We found a cute coffee shop called Express Café Arte. It feels sort of normal to do homework there like being in JP’s Coffee Shop back home. I’m surprised at how comfortable and well-adjusted I feel in the city. We walk everywhere or my host family drives us to where we need to be so, so far I haven’t had to take a bus. I am getting to know the street names and felt quite accomplished to make it home without their help today!

After just three days here I can tell that the culture is very family oriented. Aunts and uncles have been over in the evening the past two nights for Mother’s Day and one of my host sister’s birthday. My host family is so welcoming and makes us feel like part of the family! They are all so patient with me when I speak Spanish and I really am starting to feel like part of the family. Tonight we went to visit the brother of my host family at his house. We took his dog for a walk and ate desserts while we watched a soccer game. Food and family go together here! I’m trying so many new things even if it doesn’t sound like something I’d like. Today I tried piña con chili (pineapple with a spice mixture of chili, salt, and lime sprinkled on top). It’s actually quite delicious, trust me! The desserts we ate tonight were a key lime pie sort of dessert and a jello dessert with a tiny bit of some type of sweet syrupy liquor poured over the top (No worries folks! I’ve had my 21st birthday, but you might find it interesting to know that the legal drinking age in México is 18). I can’t wait for tomorrow and all that it holds, my host sister is taking us do a discoteca (a nightclub) to dance!


Scavenger Hunt: Museo Regional

One of the assignments for this course is that each student take a selfie at an historical site in Querétaro. I’ve provided them with a list, and I will post their photos as they submit them to me. Each student needs to “find” twelve sites from the list.

Here’s the group at the Museo Regional de Querétaro:


Click here for a website with information about the museum.


A Free Day

Hi everyone 🙂

After a long day of traveling yesterday, it felt good to stretch out our legs and explore the beautiful city of Querétaro! We spent our day today getting accustomed to the University and the historical part of the city.

In the morning our group reunited at the “Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro,” the partner school of Hope College that allows us to have this experience in Mexico. With an orientation led by some of the staff members, we learned about the university. It has an excellent health sciences program (including nursing, physical therapy, and athletic training), and our group was able to tour their many different labs and facilities. One of my pictures shows the nursing lab with a practice mannequin, which actually reminded me a lot of the nursing lab at Hope.IMG_20160511_105656875_HDR

After our tour at the University, our group walked towards “El Centro,” the historic part of Querétaro. The vibrant cobblestone streets are tiny and packed with stores and cafes. Suddenly they open up to beautiful plazas with statues and fountains, and there are many cathedrals too. We also saw a really neat view of some 200 year-old aqueducts. I really enjoyed exploring this part of the city because it held so much character.


Our group split up and we spent the rest of our evening with our host families. I went to a taco restaurant owned by a friend of the family, and also spent some time hanging out with my host mom and her baby niece. Family is very important here and you can see how close-knit the members are to each other. My family has been so welcoming and kind; I’m surprised at how well-adjusted I already feel after only two days.

That’s all for now! It’s been quite an adventure already and I’m excited to see what the rest of this week holds!


First Day in Queretaro


Much of our day today was spent traveling from Hope College to Queretaro, Mexico. Our first flight left around 8am and our connecting flight near 11am.

Before meeting our host families we went to a small resturant which sold Elotes. Elotes are corn on the cob that is cooked over an open flame and then spread with mayonnaise, cheese, lemon, and pepper – it tasted so much better then I’m sure it sounds!!

We then went to the university, that partners with Hope, to meet our host families! I atleast, was a little nervous but they could not have been friendlier. I already feel welcomed into their family. Today was El Día de Los Madres (Mother’s Day) so we had a big celebration at the house. A lot of my host families extended family came over and there was a lot of food — all of which tasted very good!

After dinner my host family took us around the city just to show us around. We stopped at “El Acueducto, which is an archway that extends over 3 kilometers (google it, it’s beautiful). Currently under each archway is temporary outdoor art exhibit which is composed of many animal-focused sculptures. All the sculptures were made from paper mache and are quite extravagant.

I was quite worried that I would arrive and my Spanish wouldn’t be good enough to be able to converse with everyone but I feel very comfortable talking. My host family isn’t bothered if I ask them to repeat something or if they need to talk a little slower. It seems like my Spanish isn’t too bad because they appear to understand what I am saying. Everyone seems to be very patient with us, which is very comforting.

So far Queretaro is a beautiful town and I’ve loved touring around to different parts and getting to know my host family! Sorry I don’t have any pictures yet. Hopefully many to come soon!!


Health and Healing in Comparative Perspective: U.S. and Mexico

This course compares the development of the healing professions, the economics of the modern health sector, and practices of health and healing in the U.S. and Mexico. Students spend three weeks in Querétaro, Mexico in health clinics and hospitals under the supervision of either the School of Nursing of the Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro (UAQ) and a member of Hope’s Nursing Faculty. During this time, students live with a host family, practice Spanish­language skills, and travel on guided excursions outside of Querétaro. Students taking the course for credit as Cultural Heritage II deepen their understanding of the rich traditions supporting contemporary perspectives on health and healing and learn how to incorporate history, literature, creative writing, and spirituality into a reflective healing practice. Students taking the course for credit as a Senior Seminar write a life view paper that develops their perspective on health, healing, faith, and calling. For all students, time spent in Mexico challenges pre­existing beliefs and opinions concerning the human body, its wellbeing, and the role that society and individuals play in health and healing.