Lauren Cummins - Program Participant

Why did you decide to study abroad?

I wanted to study abroad because I had previous experience traveling with my family and knew from those trips that I grow a lot through travel. I figured that studying abroad would magnify this growth, as I would not just be visiting a place as a tourist, but truly living in a place and learning more about what life is like for the people there.

Why did you choose the Mexico CGE programs?

I was a social work major interested in working with Spanish speakers in the future, so studying social work in Mexico through CGE was clearly a perfect fit!

What made your program so interesting?

The social work program in Mexico through CGE made everything personal. For every classroom lesson it seemed, we had the opportunity to listen to a firsthand account of someone who had experienced whatever we were learning about. This made the information stick. I will always remember what I learned in Mexico, about Mexico, the experience of Mexican people, and about my own country and myself.

What is the best thing about your program that future participants need to know?

The best thing about the program I participated in was probably the homestay. It was such a unique opportunity to form relationships with people I would not have had the chance to meet otherwise. It provided a very real and personal look into Mexican culture and, for the first time, allowed me to feel like I was truly participating in it.

Now that you’re home, how has study abroad impacted your life?

Now that I am home, I am much more globally aware. I try to keep informed about what is going on in Mexico, and all over the world. I read the news differently, keeping in mind the perspective of the news source instead of just accepting everything it is saying as truth. I have a different view of my own country as well. There are things about the United States that I feel a lot of anger and shame about, such as NAFTA. Then there are other things about my country that I have a new appreciation for, like the relative safety of even large cities here.

Overall, I think my experience in Mexico has opened my eyes to a more accurate vision of what the world is like, and what my role should be in standing in solidarity with those who are struggling to make a good life in this world.