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My Semester in Guanajuato, Mexico

I have many adventures that I could tell about from my time in Guanajuato, but these are a few of my favorites.

This is a picture of me and my friend Yuka from Japan. We met in Spanish class. It was crazy because we had a mutual friend from Japan that I had met in another study abroad program the semester before! This was just after we had completed a city-wide run for women’s rights together. Well… I wouldn’t exactly call it running. Neither one of us were runners, so we decided to save our lungs and speed walk instead. And then we took a couple wrong turns and ended up skipping about 3k of the race. We got some cute t-shirts though!

These are a couple pictures taken towards the beginning of the semester, when I first met some of my local friends. I was walking around the arts faculty lost during the first week of school, so I asked for directions from the girl all the way on the right. It turned out she wanted to study abroad in Chicago, where I am from, so we got to talking and stayed in contact after that. This is the first time she invited me to hang out with her and her friends. We went down to the dam by my house to hang out and take pictures. We all became friends and hung out every week after that for the entire semester.

This is when I went on a trip with my friends to a town called Real de Catorce. Real de Catorce is a ghost town high up in the mountains with old houses and winding, cobblestone streets. Although it is a popular tourist destination, it didn’t feel overly touristy, and it got pretty empty at night time when the main shops started closing for the day. This photo was taken during a desert jeep tour that I went on with my friends Max and Martin. We got to ride on top of the jeep, which was one of the coolest experiences ever. As the jeep bumped down the mountain trail that lead to the desert, you just had to hang on for dear life. And once we reached the main road, it felt like we were flying.

This is Christmas with my host family. In Mexico, it is traditional to eat a huge meal at midnight on Christmas Eve and open presents afterwards. My host mom prepared an amazing meal including tamales, potato chips and olives, homemade cheesecake, brownies, red wine and hot chocolate. My host mom’s daughter Maria and her husband Carlos came to spend Christmas with us, which was really fun. After we ate as much food as we could possibly fit in, we opened gifts. The next morning on Christmas day we all slept in, ate an amazing breakfast, and watched movies all day.

Meeting new friends when studying abroad, especially in another language, can be intimidating at first. But my best advice is just to go for it. Go to an event even if you don’t know anyone else going, and try talking to someone new. You never know who you might meet, and chances are everyone else is feeling a little nervous too. These pictures were taken at the first welcome party thrown by the international students at a horse ranch just outside of Guanajuato. I didn’t really know anyone when I went, but everyone was so nice. I met friends from Brazil, Colombia, Argentina – even Sweden!

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