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“Wait, how are you in school?”

 

I like education.

 

Okay, maybe that’s a tiny bit of an understatement.

 

I’m absolutely obsessed and completely fascinated by education with a demeanor that is bordering on creepy and probably comparable to that of a movie-star stalker.

 

I already explained how I ended up coming to Oaxaca in the first place. I also explained how I’m making the most of my education in general.

 

Here’s the skinny: I’m in Oaxaca, Mexico, completing a semester of project-based, highly interdisciplinary classes based in experience and research.

 

But, honestly, what does that even mean? It’s a fair question.

It means the city (and sometimes the countryside) are my classrooms.

It means that while I’m in frequent communications with my professors back in Ohio, I utilize local sources for my research and projects.

It means I’m practicing experiential education to the fullest by doing research, visiting museums, and interviewing locals.

 

So how am I getting credit for it all? Here’s the breakdown of classes:

 

  1. History
Mezcal... learning, and tasting
Mezcal… learning, and tasting

There was a previously existing class called “Latin American History.” The professor of the class and I agreed to adjust the original class from general history of all of Latin America and instead focus on the history of Oaxacan and Mexican food systems (by serendipity, the professor has the same deep interest in food systems as I do), as well as utilize museums and historic sites to enhance my readings.

Examples of assignments I’ve completed:

 

 

  1. Politics

Each week, I dig up between 5-10 articles on a specific subject and complete a summary and analysis on the subject. The subjects typically reflect current events in Mexico such as immigration, drug cartel activity, or Presidente Nieto’s term. The final project will be a paper, which I’ll likely write on the local teacher protests in the Zócolo.

A Banner flying in El Zocolo
A Banner flying in El Zocolo

 

Examples of assignments I’ve completed:

  • Researched news articles both from international points of view and Mexican points of view, including current evens like US presidential candidate Donald Trump’s visit to Mexico in September
  • Interviewed teachers occupying el Zocolo, the central park here in Oaxaca.

 

  1. Indigenous Medicine

This is by far the most research-based class I’m completing. The class is project based, with the final product being a research portfolio of medicinal methods used by traditional healers in Oaxaca versus those used by “typical” doctors in the US.

Examples of assignments I’ve completed:

Interviewing a traditional healer in the outskirts of Oaxaca City
Interviewing a traditional healer in the outskirts of Oaxaca City
  1. Media

This is another class I designed in order to fulfill an art requirement; it also serves as the most creatively based class, engaging in multi-media mini-projects.

I make weekly videos and roughly 2-4 blog posts a week, posting them on The Endless Walkabout. The class also includes reflections on my work and how I can improve as an amateur photographer and writer. It’s outrageously fun, as I have new excuses to interview people, work with multimedia, write, and practice photography.

 

 

This didn’t happen overnight. There was a great deal of planning I did, a sea of paperwork I swam through, and professors (and a Provost…. okay, and a Dean of Students) that needed convincing. That said, I would absolutely do it all over again; this semester has proved incredible for my education and personal development.

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