My Daughter’s Experience in Cuernavaca, Jan.-March 2014
My daughter, Francesca, was fortunate to be chosen to be one of 7 Putney School students to attend the first Study Abroad Program in Mexico, led by Abelardo Almazan-Vazquez. When Frankie left Vermont, she was still basically a kid. When she returned, she was a young woman. The change in her was evident immediately: she had gained a stronger sense of who she is through confrontation with a previously unknown culture. She acquired greater self-confidence and a sense of delight in the variety of the world.
Frankie makes friends easily as a general rule, so she fit into the social life of her new school rather quickly. She found the Mexican students to be extremely warm and friendly. I think it helped that some classes were in English and that she could help her Mexican friends to become more proficient in her own language. But there were also many opportunities for her to speak Spanish, especially at home with her new family. She got along very well with her Spanish mom and enjoyed helping in the kitchen and conversing in the car on the way to school.
Field trips were very much appreciated. Frankie loved the shopping at the markets, climbing the pyramids, and visiting Taxco. The learning opportunities were multiple–not only did she improve her Spanish, but she also got to see how a middle class Mexican family lives (what they eat, the games they play, the music they listen to, how they treat one another).
All in all, though, it was a great experience and we are very grateful to Abelardo Almazan, Rose Olivan, and the Putney School that she was able to attend school in Mexico.
-Carrie, Francesca’s mom.