Hi there! My name is Madi and I am going into my senior year at Western Oregon University. I am studying education and after graduating, plan to become an elementary teacher in a dual language program, teaching in both Spanish and English. That was one of my biggest reasons for choosing to study abroad and for choosing the Querétaro Language and Culture Program. I wanted to improve my Spanish and learn more about other cultures, specifically Mexican culture. My trip has been amazing so far and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
I took 3 classes while I was studying abroad, all at the Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro. I took advanced writing, advanced communication, and Mexican civilization. I was amazed at how much I learned and how much my Spanish improved in just 5 weeks. My writing class was the first class of the day. Here, we got to study Spanish grammar, writing rules and create compositions about our time in México, and about Mexican culture. We got to learn about traditional holidays, school systems, muralism and so much more. The communication class was a safe place to just practice speaking. I felt comfortable to make mistakes and I learned a lot from them. We also got to learn a lot about Mexican culture through this class too. We spoke with our host families about Mexican traditions, foods, families and then came and discussed in class. In my last class, Mexican civilization, we got to study prehispanic cultures, the colonial period and the geography of México.
One of my favorite parts of the program was my host family. I got to stay with a host mom named Rosario, who is one of the sweetest women I have ever met, and also an amazing chef! I got to meet her two daughters and her son, and play with her grandkids. They really made me feel like a part of their family and helped me feel at ease being so far away from my own. Rosario also made me some amazing food. I got to learn a lot about traditional Mexican food and ate too many enchiladas and gorditas to count.
After classes, I would head to cafes with friends to work on homework and hang out. Our favorite spot in town was Maco Cafe, near Jardin Guerrero. It was a super cute little cafe with a giant fig tree growing inside. There is a large picnic table in the middle that became our table everyday around 1:30. If you’re ever in Querétaro, make sure to check it out! Going to restaurants and cafes around town was a great way to immerse ourselves in Spanish and meet locals. We became friends with some of the staff at Maco and started hanging out with them after they got off and after we finished our homework.
My favorite part of the program was how much of the country we were able to see. We took trips the first couple of weekends and then a couple of friends and I planned our own trips for the last three weekends. I got to visit Bernal, Ciudad de México, Guanajuato, Morelia, and the Sierra Gorda. Each of the places I got to visit showed me a new part of México and I’m so grateful for each one of them. In Bernal, we climbed the Peña and got to see an amazing view from the summit. In Ciudad de México, we visited museums with our Mexican civilization professor and got to make connections to what we were learning. In Guanajuato, I got to explore the colorful streets, visit museums, and eat some delicious tortas. In Morelia, I ate in a super cute cafe and got to visit a museum where a couple of paintings done by my friend’s grandfather are housed. And finally, in the Sierra Gorda we got to hike through the amazing Rio Escanela and jump from rocks and bridges into the refreshing water. I’m not sure I could pick a favorite if I had to, because each one was such a unique and amazing experience.
These past 5 weeks have been such an amazing time, and I have grown so much as a person and as a Spanish speaker. I am so excited to come back and visit the people I met and the place that I made my second home. ¡Hasta luego Querétaro!