Hello everyone! Thank you for reading my blog and sharing this experience with me! As I mentioned last week, I did not have many expectations for my internship experience. I knew I would have the opportunity to immerse myself into a culture different from my own, but I really did not have any expectations beyond that.
I have a number of goals, but they are centered more around my own personal development and my ability to communicate with others. None of them were centered around the internship program itself or the type of work I have been doing. The reason for this is because I was unsure of what I would be able to do to help. I have a lot of work experience and communication skills, but I really didn’t know how that would be beneficial here, if at all. Now that I have been here for two full weeks, I am glad to say this has changed! I know there are ways that I can help the community and I have expectations for the future.
This week my fellow interns and I spent time researching and exploring the states of Nayarit and Jalisco. Our goal was to navigate these regions and find locations or activities that help promote responsible tourism. I am proud to say that we accomplished our goal and gained a wealth of knowledge along the way. We visited 20 different locations gathering insight and interacting with locals to try and learn as much as possible.
We learned a lot about the needs of the community and how we can help address local issues through responsible tourism. We created an interactive map that contains the locations we visited. The reason for this was to engage tourists and teach them to travel responsibly, instead of staying within the walls of their resort. Responsible tourism provides a fun and exciting experience, while simultaneously empowering the local community on an economical and emotional level.
Throughout our travels, I learned about the five indigenous cultures within the state of Nayarit: Cora, Mexicanero, Huichol, Tepehuano, and Mestizo. I was welcomed into a Huichol family’s home to share a traditional meal of their people and learn about their culture. This was such a heart warming experience I didn’t want to end. I wish I had the chance to stay longer and learn more about the Huichol traditions.
In addition to learning about these five indigenous groups, I also learned a lot about Mexico’s history. The country of Mexico has a terrible past and I am impressed with how far its people have come with the amount of despair they have faced. Mexico won its independence in 1910 and until the year 2000, the indigenous groups were not even included in it’s constitution. These people were ignored. This contributes to the issues they face today and shows just how bad things can be and puts life into perspective. Not to mention, Mexico is ridden with political corruption, poverty, and war conflicts dating all the way back to the Spanish invasion in the 1500s. These issues continue to affect Mexico and its people today. Not all of Mexico contains physical conflict. In fact, a majority of the country is peaceful and trying to mend itself. This is something many people do not understand.
Just because there are areas of the country that continue to be affected by conflicts with the cartels, does not mean that it is a bad place to be. The people of Mexico should never be stereotyped into a single story. I have encountered people all over the region that are more welcoming and more humble than 90% of the people I know back home. What this has taught me is the expectations I should have is to spread the knowledge I have gained during my time here. There are still problems that exist in Mexico both economically and socially.
I may not have a specific solution to fix these issues, but by spreading awareness, I will be able to reach someone who does. I plan to utilize the last two weeks here to learn as much as I can so that I can inform my peers and be able to create some change.