Regina Zvara - 2014 Program Participant

Volunteer Teacher in Temixco, Mexico with local students

In Temixco with my Mexican students.

Why did you apply for an international volunteer program?

I often do volunteer work from a very young age as I like to serve the community that I'm living in. And travelling around Mexico has always been a big dream for me.

Why did you choose Love Volunteers?

I contacted some organizations that offered programmes as “teaching English in Mexico” and I decided to choose Love Volunteers as they were very efficient and helpful, arranged everything for me and were always keeping in touch with me, even during my stay in Mexico. The price was also lower than what other organizations offer.

What was your favorite part about teaching in Temixco?

It was a typical Mexican pueblo, village with the nicest people I've ever met. It was easy to get from one place to another, the buses run very frequently and the taxis are cheap too. Temixco is in the state of Morelos that offers beautiful natural sights and pyramids.

Mayan Pyramids of Chichen Itza in Mexico

Feeling the power of the Mayan Pyramids of Chichen Itza.

What made your teaching experience feel one of a kind?

It was a private school run by a family who lived next door. Maybe this is why the atmosphere of the school was so inviting and the people who work there so supportive. The children love going to that school. They are very open to new people, wanted to know everything about me, my country.

What was the local staff and school like?

As it was a small school, I quickly got to know everyone who worked there. I started every day in the office with a little chit-chat, what to do that day, then had lunch with my fellow teachers and the children at the canteen. It's like a big family, everyone knows everyone and respects their work, be a teacher, cook, or cleaner.

If you could change one thing about your experience in Mexico what would it be?

I wish I had stayed for more weeks.

Describe a day in the life of a teacher in Temixco.

I woke up around 7 a.m. in the morning and had breakfast with my landlady and we talked in Spanish. Usually started at the school at 8 a.m. I taught in five classes, from five to ten year olds. Every day had lunch at the canteen in the schoolyard with other teachers and students.

Finished around 2:30 or 3:00 p.m. If I didn't go to Cuernavaca with my colleague to give classes, I usually popped in Estela's shop or just went around the village and took pictures of the daily life of the locals.

What special activities or things did you do during your time in Mexico that made it special?

Once or twice a week I accompanied the other local English teacher to Cuernavaca, where she has a small language school. I helped her in the decoration to make the place more welcoming. She asked me to take part in some classes as I speak British English and mostly the teachers are from the U.S. I also liked to visit my coordinator's local shop and restaurant where she showed me how to prepare some delicious vegetarian dishes.

View of Taxco, Mexico

Captivating view of the silver town of Taxco, " un pueblo magico" (a magical town) in the mountains.

What was your accommodation like in Mexico?

I was living in the house of a local woman Estela who was also my coordinator. Her home is a bit chaotic, there are always some kinds of work on it. I had the whole upper floor for myself, but not all the windows are glazed for example and when the temperature goes below 15 at night, it can be chilly inside. The water as in whole Mexico is a bit dirty and smelly, but I always had hot water.

How have your experiences in Mexico continued to impact your life?

I travel a lot, have seen many places so far but Mexico was a very special place for me. The Latin culture is very close to me, I love their music, their food, culture, their language, their way of life and thinking. As I mentioned above, I had learned a lot about the country before I travelled there, so I had lots of expectations and didn't want to see them ruined. But in the end I wasn't the least disappointed.

I discovered how strong and brave I am and how easily I can communicate with children. They are so emotional and friendly, so open to new things and people. The nature was so captivating, luckily every weekend I could visit some marvellous place.

Most importantly, I could prove it to myself and to all my friends and family that one should not believe to some pieces of information about a country. What's in the news, what the media tell us are mainly about the negative news, such as drugs, kidnapping, murders and so on. But Mexico has another face too, a very colourful and interesting face that I was lucky enough to get acquainted with.