¡Viva México! Students visit Cuernavaca over February break

February 12, 2009 — by Abhishek Venkatarmana
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Science teacher Jill McIntyre, Spanish teacher Arnaldo Rodriguex and students climb down a pyramid in Cuernavaca last year.

For Spanish teacher Arnaldo Rodriguex, culture is not something that can be just taught through books and lectures. So for the 25th year in a row, Rodriguex will be leading a group of 48 Spanish students to Cuernavaca, Mexico, for a one week study abroad program that he hopes will allow the students to completely “immerse themselves in the Mexican culture.”

“You can only learn so much from the textbooks or from the internet,” said Rodriguex, “but when you’re actually there and you see it, smell it, touch it and experience it, you get a better understanding of the Mexican people and their culture and language.”

The students left for Mexico on Feb. 12 and will be returning on Feb. 22. The trip, which was offered to students in Spanish 3 and above, will allow students to live with a local family, attend classes during the morning and participate in activities during the rest of the day.

Some of the activities include sight seeing, salsa dancing, games with local high school students, going to the mall and spending time with the local families with whom the students will be living.

“By staying with the families, students are able to learn more about the way the people of Mexico actually live,” said Rodriguex. “They eat the same foods, do the same activities and just experience how people live in Mexico.”

Rodriguez first learned about this program when he went to Mexico more than 2 decades ago and visited Universidad Internacional, the same university at which the students will be studying during the trip.

“One year I went to Mexico and I went to this school and I really liked it,” said Rodriguex. ‘I thought it would be a good place to take the Spanish learning students to have a total immersion experience of the Mexican Culture.”

The trip has received great praise over the years. Many students have enjoyed it and have recommended it to other students.

“A lot of my friends told me that the trip was one of their favorite parts of high school,” said junior Nihal Ruparel, who is currently attending the trip, “so I knew it was something that I couldn’t miss.”

Although he has gone on the same trip for a quarter-century, Rodriguex said he always enjoys it.

“My favorite part about this trip is the joy of seeing my students having a wonderful time,” said Rodriguex. “It seems that across the board they enjoy the activities, the learning that takes place, and the experience of living in Mexico.”

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