What’s it like being back home.

Being back home from 2 months in Mexico, to now in New Zealand and heading back into university, has allowed me to decompress and to really think about what the past 2 months has been like for myself and for the way I want to begin to approach life again. I have learnt a lot about myself these past two months and also a lot about my degree and my intentions moving forward.

Mexico has definitely changed my life in many different ways and has challenged me in many more ways as well.

Before going on this trip, I had really lost the spark and the enthusiasm that I had first year in 2020 towards my degree and was honestly questioning myself and my life decisions. I was at the brink of just being over and done with my studies and was finding every ounce of strength within myself to continue studies. Needless to say, that has definitely changed.

This trip on a personal level has helped me learn a lot about myself, and that I am capable if I really just put my mind to it. That the ideas that I have in my head are relevant, needed and are wanted to be heard especially on an academic note, and that is a result of the wonderful teaching staff and lecturers we encountered. Very encouraging and very much wanted to hear our ideas, they would us often ask questions, and I’m often never afraid of public speaking, but when I have to think about it, and often when I’m put on the spot then that’s where I can struggle, because I normally didn’t have confidence enough in my own ideas. However, the lecturers and teachers had really helped me step out of my comfort zone and made me realize that people are actually interested in what I had to say, and now that I have really grasped onto that idea, I have been more than willing to share my ideas in lectures and classes and has brought out newfound confidence that I thought I lost or didn’t have.

I also learnt a lot about how my degree could be used, and how I can put it into action. Learning a topic every week and then at the end of the week seeing how it could be put into action, and the results that came from putting concepts into action, really showed me on a personal level how my degree could work to change the world, little steps at a time. By seeing how Indigenous communities benefitted from the various workshops in Poverty week, to how Migration isn’t just an issue that happens with Mexicans and the US at the borders. It has given me a new perspective on my degree and what I want to do with my degree moving forward.

The first weeks of classes back at university with my newfound love and determination for my degree has really helped me focus and become more passionate about the content we are learning. It has brought out this newfound confidence and has really shaped a better and more determined version of myself. It has also made the integration from holiday mode to university mode a lot easier, because in reality I had maybe a week break off of intense but fun University work at the Ibero University to beginning university again at Auckland. So, in perspective I haven’t really had a break from my studies, but I feel greatly refreshed and have this eager passion to learn again as I did first year, and that’s all thanks to the trip and the people I have met and encountered in Mexico, who have forever left a lasting impression on myself, and has greatly influenced my passion towards my studies again.

Coming back home, I have learnt just how little people within New Zealand know about the issues happening within our country and that is a goal of mine, to educate and help make more people aware of the issues we are facing here, and taking away that cover that makes New Zealand seem as if there are no issues here, even though there are. To stop normalizing them and begin to educate and eradicate these issues, as that was one of the greatest things I had discovered whilst being away and listening to other people’s perspectives on New Zealand, and the usual statements of “Does New Zealand even have any issues?”, or “We are so privileged, to not have many issues!” whereas that is completely far from the truth, we may be privileged in relation to the intensity of our issues aren’t as great as others, but we still have them and there are also that many don’t know about unless you’ve experienced or wanted to learn about them, because often they aren’t just put in your face like many other issues, but are often never talked about and that needs to change today.

This is a paragraph from a project I was required to do whilst in Mexico, which I think really summarizes what I had learnt on the trip,

“Furthermore, I see how issues such as Migration continues to be a week I will remember. The personal connection formed while learning about Migration in Mexico puts the reasons for Migration into perspective and demonstrates that there are numerous. Like any other topic, we learned that these issues are multidimensional and require a multifaceted approach to understand and address them effectively. This project has explicitly implemented that understanding in my mind, which I am incredibly grateful for. We can use our education and resources to make a positive difference in the world and create a more equal and fairer environment for all people, regardless of their circumstances or cultural backgrounds. It has been an incredibly insightful journey to understand how colonialism and Migration are still very relevant issues in the world today and how our actions can play a huge role in either perpetuating the cycle of oppression or creating pathways to liberation. This project has given me a greater appreciation of the role education and knowledge can have on social justice and our collective ability to foster positive change and create a more equitable future.”

Lastly, I am super grateful to be able to be back home in New Zealand to be with my family and friends especially knowing the devastating weather events they faced in Napier while I was away. I am glad that they are okay, and my heart goes out to those that lost everything, including loved ones during the devastation. My thoughts and prayers with you all.

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