Field report

CARINA'S INTERNSHIP IN MEXICO

On two occasions, we visited families whose children I was looking after in the project at their homes. The children were on fire. The best moment was when a little boy hugged me at the end and said "estoy muy feliz", beaming. That was very touching.

August 2021
Our participant Carina

Carina traveled to Mexico with us for a month this summer and completed an internship in psychology at a children's aid project in Guadalajara during her time in Latin America. In this report, she talks about her time in Mexico, her experiences and adventures in the project and her free time.

CARINA'S PROGRAM:

My preparation time

Since my FSJ in Ecuador, I wanted to do an internship as soon as I had a little more specialist knowledge in psychology. My dream was to do this internship in Latin America. At first I was interested in the internship in Guatemala, but Sophia suggested the project in Mexico. I had some negative preconceptions about Mexico from watching movies, but none of them were confirmed. Nevertheless, I was very nervous during my preparation time. WanderWorld Travel looked after and supported me well during this time and helped me with my preparations. To prepare for my trip to Mexico, I also borrowed travel guides from the library and leafed through them. I also looked for suitable movies and series and watched them before I left. After my trip, I can say that it's much nicer to clear up the clichés from the movies and get my own impression of the country.

The first days

I was warmly welcomed by Ariana. She also made sure that I was picked up safely from the airport. The day after my arrival, she showed me around Guadalajara. I got on really well with her and was able to ask her everything. Becca was also staying in the same hostel. The fact that there were two of us also helped a lot at the beginning. We were picked up on the first day of work and told everything we needed to know about the project. I felt very comfortable and in good hands right from the start.

A day at the Youth Development Project

We started at 9:00 am. At the beginning it was vacation, so the daily routine only really began in the last week. The children come to psychology in small groups or on their own. I was allowed to ride along to the sessions. They play a lot and have fun at the meetings. Sometimes parents also came to therapy with their children. I was allowed to watch and ask questions. Then at 14:00 it was closing time. Every day was different and there were lots of varied tasks.

In the morning, I usually went to the house in the center of town, where children were already playing or talking. It was usually very busy there. The children were given breakfast and the two psychologists and I prepared the sessions in the meantime. Then we went to the classrooms and picked up the children and young people in groups of three. Most of them were very happy to escape the math lessons. During the session, we played a lot, depending on their age, but also talked about emotional issues. When I was there, a block had just started in which they were supposed to learn about regulating emotions. Different groups come to psychology, all of which are made up differently. Sometimes there are three six-year-olds who are just learning to sit still. Sometimes it's teenagers talking about their problems. At lunchtime, there was a hot meal for the children. Sometimes I helped with the serving. In the afternoon, it was mostly desk work, as all the sessions had to be written up. Thanks to the friendly working atmosphere, every day went by quickly and it was always an exciting experience.

My free time in Guadalajara

There is a lot to discover in Guadalajara. The large city offers many delicious restaurants and interesting museums. I enjoyed walking in a large park. I also sometimes did things with the great "bosses" from the project. We spontaneously went out to eat or drove through the city. It's not far to the beach at the weekend.

Tequila is a highlight of the area around Guadalajara. Becca, a friend and I took the bus one weekend to a place where tequila is made. The "Pueblo Magico" is beautifully situated in the mountains. The hills are planted with agave, from which the alcohol is made. We took a guided tour of one of the many distilleries and learned all about the production of Mexico's national drink. Followed by a tasting of course. A colorful fairground is also set up on the village square, where locals and tourists dance and celebrate. A very nice place!

My experience with culture

I fell in love with the open and welcoming nature of the people. I quickly made friends who introduced me to the culture. The experiences with the children in the project were also enriching.

I noticed from the very first conversation at the airport that the people are totally open and welcoming. This was confirmed throughout my stay. For example, new friends invited me directly to their homes or I was simply taken to parties or beautiful places with an "old group of friends". Many were also very interested in German culture, which led to interesting exchanges. I don't remember any cultural difficulties directly. I didn't always understand the Mexican jokes, but it was always explained to me if I accidentally said something ambiguous, which can happen very quickly. On the whole, I found the people in Mexico to be very humorous and I got on very well with them.

My most beautiful moments

On two days, we visited families whose children go to school in the project. We first drove a long way over bumpy roads to the family who live on a hill outside the center. It was lovely how they opened their doors to us. We were able to spend a few pleasant hours with the children and parents. When we arrived, the children and dogs were delighted. Beforehand, I was allowed to prepare games and activities. We split up into groups and each painted "flags" for our team. I led the games and was a bit nervous at first, but everyone, even the moms, was motivated to take part. We then played volleyball in our teams. We then named the strengths of the other team. It was great to see that children, teenagers and adults played together and everyone had a lot of fun. A little five-year-old boy was on fire. When we said goodbye, little Luis gave me a big hug, beamed at me and said that he was very happy. That was one of the best moments!

My favorite place

I was thrilled by the "mercado", as this is where Mexican culture can be discovered. I will never forget the countless food stalls with the busy cooks and waiters. You really can buy anything here. From charging cables to tortilla warmers.

Why I love Latin America

In addition to the warmth of the people, I am fascinated by the diversity. It can be seen in the culture, landscape, flora and fauna. You only have to travel a few hours and you feel like you're in a different world. Different traditional clothing, new dishes, a different climate and even the way people speak changes.

How the trip changed me

I have learned to appreciate some things that I take for granted in Germany. For example, the good drinking water from every tap. Or the fact that there is hot water for showers almost everywhere. All in all, I can now take a more reflective look at everyday life here in "luxury". I also definitely want to take some of the Mexican joie de vivre with me, so that next time I'm stuck in a traffic jam, for example, instead of getting stressed out, I can just turn up the music and sing along. I also feel reassured that I enjoy doing psychological work, especially with children, even in Spanish.

My tips for future participants

The joie de vivre and warmth of the people is something that everyone should experience!

I think an internship in psychology in particular requires good to very good language skills. The work revolved a lot around language, for example expressing emotions. In my opinion, you should therefore have a good command of everyday Spanish so as not to be overwhelmed by too many new terms. If you then bring an open mind and an interest in the culture, you have the perfect prerequisites.

Would you like to find out more about our programs?

THEN COME TO OUR WANDERWORLD CONSULTATION!
Line

TALK TO ...

Sophia, founder of Wanderworld Travel

Lisa, Coordinator & Participant Support 

Amanda, Support and advice before departure

... ABOUT YOUR ADVENTURE !

Here we can plan your trip together and talk about your ideas.

Sign up now for our WanderWorld consultation. We look forward seeing you!

All without obligation and free of charge.