This is the final post for a most successful experience abroad for service and study in the Yucatan Peninsula. Grupo 2016 was a marvelous, productive group of women of great promise. They were not only pursuing majors and minors in Spanish but were studying or had studied in other areas such as medicine, criminology, English, Spanish teaching, Social Work, and Family Practice. Each brought a unique world vision and professional goals but at the end, were unified in their desire to become bilingual, biliterate, and tricultural.
Success in reaching linguistic goals is evidenced by the improvement in ranking in language proficiency. Every one of the participants improved in their linguistic category from Intermediate Low to either Intermediate High or higher to Advanced! That is numeric evidence revealed by an assessment administered by an outside evaluator. That profound success can not be denied. Congratulations to all!
The self and scholastic knowledge is evaluated by the journal that has been submitted for grading. It is part of the assessment in both the Conversation class and the Mayan History class. If informal, personal comments made during the experience abroad including the personal speeches made at the “graduation” event on Friday are any indication of what those diaries contain, there has been unimaginable personal and scholastic growth. Felicidades!
One would expect some improved understanding of the Mexican and American cultures but this service/study abroad experience offers an opportunity to enter into the Mayan culture as well. Students, before departure, had already written a formative research paper concerning some aspect of the Mayan culture. They continued their research during their month abroad and will now submit their revised research as a summative paper. These women are virtually “experts” in certain aspects of the Maya civilization. Their questions and wonderments were intriguing as we were able to visit eight different archeological sites throughout the Yucatan Peninsula.
Some of the things we will miss:
(1) Mexican families and their endearing and unique hospitality and courtesy to all
(2) JaCob our Mayan chauffeur, who stole our hearts with his sense of service and elegance
(3) Wonderful, wonderful food like these fish tacos
(4) Incessant stories in the van as we reported on personal experiences with our families
(5) the awareness that we were becoming a sisterhood, like a family, of caring individuals who were changing and evolving and becoming something else: bilingual, biliterate, and tricultural.
Gracias Grupo 2016!!!!!