Adventures in Mexico

People have often told me I’m the perfect “Quest student”, at least in regards to classes. I came to Quest not knowing what I wanted to do and managed to actually take all sixteen foundation classes in the first two years. Up until this point there was only one thing missing: studying abroad. Though I don’t know the exact percentage, many Quest students study abroad in some capacity. Whether it’s for an experiential learning, to learn a language, or as an official exchange with one of our partner schools. This past month I’ve had the opportunity to study Spanish in the city of Oaxaca in Mexico. I arrived on the 22nd of November with my friends from Quest, Krishni and Georgia.

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Our first day in Oaxaca overlooking the city

One of the coolest parts of the program we’re doing is the opportunity to get immersed in the culture and the language. Instead of renting out rooms and only speaking Spanish at school, we are in a home stay program where our host families only speak Spanish.

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Home sweet home, my humble abode

It’s hard to describe each and every thing we’ve done so far so I’ll start by describing a typical day. Each and every weekday Georgia and I wake up before 8 and come downstairs for breakfast at exactly 8:15. Our host mom Alma cuts up fresh fruit for us and we eat fruit, cereal, and usually yogurt. We walk to school and pick up Krishni from her house on the way. At the language school we have grammar class from 9 till 10:45 and then we have conversation class from 11:15 till 1.

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This is what our school looks like! Notable differences from Quest include sun and palm trees
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Krishni getting her Spanish on in class one day

After class ends we have intercambios. An intercambio is a program where we are assigned a local person who is learning English at the school. We spend about an hour with them speaking English and Spanish and can go wherever/do whatever we want. Last week my intercambio Luis took me to a nearby town to show me a famous park. It’s awesome to learn Spanish outside of the classroom and get a chance to see the sights with local Oaxacans. The rest of the day consists of a giant lunch (simply called “Comida” here) with our host families followed by some down time. In the afternoon we often walk into the center of town to explore and simply soak in the sights.

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This is the beautiful church of Santo Domingo located at the heart of the city

Outside of the classroom we got the chance to go explore nearby areas for the past two weekends. The first weekend we went to some ancient ruins in a town called Mitla. After that we went to Tule where we saw an absolutely huge tree and ate a delicious lunch.

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This tree is actually massive

The following weekend we went to a world famous archaeological sight called Monte Alban. These ancient ruins were truly stunning and we spent hours exploring each building.

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Monte Alban rests on the flat top of a mountain and was a Zapotec city thousands of years ago

It’s hard to believe but our last day of class is already just around the corner on December 17th. After that we are taking off for the beach for a few days (Puerto Escondido) before finally flying home on the 23rd right before Christmas. It’s truly been an incredible time so far and I’m so thankful that I got the experience to study another language in a country that actually speaks it.

Adios,

Daniel

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