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"My Time in Mérida" by Louisa Carman '21

students at host family dinner in Merida, Mexico

Photo credit: Louisa Carman '21 (Mexico, Ifsa-Butler Merida, spring 2020)

The network of host families in Mérida was truly incredible. This photo was taken during my first week, when one of the other host families invited a couple students over for breakfast. I felt warmly welcomed into everyone's house and still keep in touch with my host family. I especially miss my host mom, Caty, whom I was getting close to through cooking together and and listening to the news or music in the background.

One of my courses was "The Cultural History of the Mayan Area," which explored pre-Hispanic Mayan history. Through this course, I learned about several less visited Mayan archeological sites like Acanceh and visited them on my own. It taught me a lot about the geography and history of archeological study in Yucatán. I was also able to draw connections between my political theory seminar at Swarthmore and my Marxist Anthropology course at UADY (Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán), which included readings about the history of Marxist thought in Mexico and its role in social movements. With this knowledge and the context of my class about the cultural history of the Mayan area, I was able to contextualize some of the conversations local students and others were having about resistance to the Maya Train development project as well as the feminist movement.

This was taken while exploring Mexico City with a close friend who I met during the program. These were some of the best tacos I ever ate! Food was a big part of my experience; all of my local friends wanted to show me their favorite food spots, and I learned how to cook a couple Yucatecan dishes with my host family. 

Photo credit: Louisa Carman '21 (Mexico, Ifsa-Butler Merida, spring 2020)

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