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    Rebecca Feuka (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor - Michigan)
    Mexico, Semester(2014)


    "I learned to have more confidence in my Spanish abilities. This experience was definitely worthwhile in that I gained humility, confidence, encouragement, constructive criticism, and the motivation to continue in my studies. I certainly faced challenges but when I overcame them I felt inspired to seek bigger and better adventures. ? ? ? ? ? In Oaxaca, my site director always responded promptly to my questions and concerns. She lives in Oaxaca and is available by phone, email, or can meet with you in person. When I came to her about certain academic problems, she accompanied me for professional and emotional support when I met with the teacher. My director helped explain the situation and propose solutions. Together, the three of us resolved the matter quickly and effectively. My director is bilingual in Spanish and English but when dealing with my university, she often gave me the option to resolve my own problems because she knew I spoke Spanish and that I had come to practice it. I really appreciated that. If I was ever uncomfortable, though, she was more than happy to step in. My director organized many fun group activities but wasn't overbearing. She gave us lots of opportunity to explore independently and I enjoyed that. * Housing: How satisfied were you with your living arrangements? ? ? ? ? ? My homestay in Oaxaca was unlike any I have ever had. My host mom was retired and thus dedicated herself completely to the care of her students and her home. At one point we had as many as seven other girls living in the home but I never felt neglected. My host mom prepared three meals for us every day, took us out to restaurants, walked us to school our first day, and gave us maps to get familiar with the city. The most important and memorable part of my living situation, however, were the conversations at mealtimes. My host mom made it a game that if we spoke anything but Spanish at the table, we received "punishments." These were always fun, though, and might require that we tell a joke or story in Spanish, do a dance, or play charades. I was even invited to family events like birthday parties that made me feel included in a genuine, completely comfortable manner. Out of all the students I grew particularly close to my host mom because she came to me when she couldn't download pictures to her computer, when she didn't have her glasses to read small print, or she needed an interpreter to understand a student who didn't know much Spanish. Sol intuitively placed me with the perfect host family. "