Without a doubt one of the best things I’ve done in my time at York was travelling abroad on the 2018 International Study Centre (ISC) trip to Mexico with the Centre for Global Programs. Around 20 students jetted off to Querétaro to spend two weeks participating in a huge range of activities. This included visits and classes at the host university, which were all done especially for us, and taught in English.
Mexican Culture and Indentity
Over the course of the fortnight, I got some fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The focus of the trip was Culture and Identity, so class topics included festivals, international business and salsa dancing! There was even the chance to take some Spanish language classes at York before we went.
Our time outside the classroom was filled with exciting activities. I visited some of the most amazing cities I’ve ever seen (a special mention to Guanajuato, a hilly town with some incredibly vibrant buildings). We went to Frida Kahlo’s house, which is now a museum to her life and art; we did a tour of a monastery; and perhaps my favourite was visiting the Teotihuacán Pyramids. Our last few days were spent in Mexico City, experiencing the dynamic city life of the capital.
That said, we also got plenty of free time to walk around places ourselves, visiting markets, churches and restaurants. I really enjoyed this because, although I study Spanish, I’d never been to a Spanish speaking country before. I got to put into practice everything I’d been learning!
Another great aspect of the summer school was getting to meet lots of new people – anyone and everyone who studies at York can apply to go, no matter what subject you studied, or what year you were in. Both undergraduates and postgraduate students went. The Centre for Global Programs organised a pizza social for us in advance, so we got the chance to get to know each other before going.
Is this for me?
Although I’d heard about the trips, I’d not considered applying because I didn’t think I’d be able to afford it. Then I read that scholarships were available. When filling out the application form for the ISC (it was just a few questions about why I wanted to go and what benefit I thought it might have to me), if you wanted to be considered for the scholarship, you just had to fill in an extra couple of questions, and thanks to some generous alumni donations, I was able to go on the trip for a fraction of what it would have cost.
International Study Centres
There are a few International Study Centres every year, and they take place during the summer holidays. There’s lots of other options for places to go, and it changes each year; other past trips include the USA, India, Ghana and South Africa. The one I went on had a culture and identity theme but others have different focuses, like history and politics.
I’d never even heard of these trips before my lecturers were encouraging us to apply. I’m so happy I did, as I learned so much and got to experience so many wonderful things.