I’m writing this blog as our first week in Mexico draws to a close. To say that it’s been unreal so far would be an understatement.
We packed so much into this week (and yet there’s still many more places I want to explore when I come back in the future 😉), so I’m just going to chat about my highlights and some observations.
Week one took place in the bustling capital, Mexico City…
Given that this is a global business course, we were staying in the commercial and very modern district of Santa Fe. From our hotel room, the view was skyscrapers and city lights (pictured on the left). On our second full day of being here, we were taken on a tour around the city. This was such a valuable experience as it showed us all the different sides to Mexico City. We got to see residential areas—both wealthier and lower-income, the city centre, a taste of some historical buildings, and so on. Without this experience, my perception of Mexico City could have been very quite warped and insular.
A highlight activity from this week was going out to Xochimilco for a ride along the canals in trajineras (brightly coloured gondola-esque boats). You could bring your own food and drinks onboard, and we blared Mexican music from a speaker (of course turning it down when Mariachi bands floated past!!). All sorts of people floated past us, from Mexicans to tourists, from wild birthday parties to family fun, and even vendors selling food, drinks, and souvenirs from their boats.
I studied Spanish throughout high school and take it at uni, too. I was well aware that I’m nowhere fluent, but I was very interested to put my Spanish to the test and see how it would hold up. I’m finding that I can read quite well and string some only-slightly-erroneous sentences together. However, what I’m finding most difficult is listening to Mexicans speaking Spanish to me. I’m sure it’s plenty obvious from my accent and imperfect Spanish that I’m not a fluent speaker, yet in most interactions I’ve had, they all continue to speak super fast to me! Also, many food and retail workers wear masks, which does not help with my struggle, either.
Another incredible highlight was Chapultepec Castle, located in the middle of a forest in the middle of the city. Honestly, I’m just going to insert a bunch of pictures, because they really speak for themselves.
Finally, to top off the week, we visited Teotihuacán, an ancient pyramid site. We had an incredible guide, Tona, who welcomed us into his ancestral space, invited us participate in beautiful ancient rituals, and let us in on various secrets and marvels about the pyramids we would never have known about otherwise.
And yes, amongst all this, we’ve been attending lectures and site visits (to PepsiCo!), and doing a couple wee assignments. Our two papers, “Doing Business in Mexico” and “Enterprise, Culture & Business in the World” are introducing us to Mexico’s business environment and practices, as well as more general theories of global trade. Though I cannot complain when the campus looks like this: !!
Signing off now to rest up for the big week ahead in Querétaro, hasta luego 👋