I am currently abroad on an internship in Bucerias, Mexico. Prior to my departure, I spent weeks preparing for the position with my fellow interns from NIU. We learned all about responsible tourism and how we can use tourism to help the local community and reduce the negative social, economic, and environmental impacts of normal tourism.
Before coming on this internship I did not know what I was getting myself into or what to expect out of the internship. However, the thing that I was looking forward to the most was getting to embrace a new culture completely different from my own. I wanted to be able to gain a new perspective and break down preconceived notions I had about the people of Mexico because I know there is more than what the mainstream media provides us with. Often we find ourselves clinging to one story not knowing that there are numerous untold stories and this causes us to pass judgments that are incorrect. I have made it my goal to educate myself on these untold stories throughout the area and really immerse myself into their community. In addition, I also have a number of other goals that are personal, professional, and educational.
- To further develop my interpersonal skills when working with a diverse group and being able to communicate with them effectively by the end of my 4-week internship.
- To immerse myself in the local culture and gain a better understanding of what it is like to be a part of their community by the conclusion of my internship.
- At the beginning of the internship I want to evaluate my personal values and then at the end of the internship reevaluate and see how I have grown.
- To develop an understanding of the financial responsibilities within an international organization like Human Connections and learn how they maintain sustainability to continue operating within the first 3 weeks of my internship.
- To see if I am capable of being away from home for long periods of time and if working abroad for an employer is something I can manage by the conclusion of the internship.
- To apply ideologies of social entrepreneurship that I have learned within the classroom to the real world throughout my 4-week internship
- To expand my overall knowledge of the social space and learn how I can apply it to my career goals by the conclusion of my internship.
- To be able to communicate with locals in Spanish by the end of my 4-week internship
I have only been in Bucerias for four days and my experience has already gone beyond my expectations. We have gotten the chance to take a local bus up to Sayulita and visit the surfer community. We were also taken on a boat tour through an animal sanctuary in Puerto Vallarta where we got learn about all of the indigenous species in the area and see a number of them such as crocodiles, crabs, birds, and various types of mangroves.
My favorite activity so far was the cultural tour. Human Connections took us on one of their cultural tours where we got to meet some of the local community and indigenous people throughout the area. The time we spent with them really changed my perspective and made me realize that there are far worse things happening in this world than the trivial things we as Americans worry about back home. Just hearing the stories of where they came from to where they are now was literally jaw dropping in some cases. This tour alone has already broke down all the stereotypes that had been embedded into my brain before the trip. It was truly an eye opening experience and I look forward to the next three weeks and everything it has to offer.