EMMA IN MEXICO
I’m Emma and I work as a drama teacher giving Workshops to children and young adults.
Is in Tuxtla Gutierrez in Southern Mexico and called El Centro Cultural de Jaime Sabines which is local city arts centre, offering a variety of free and low-priced workshops for the community. I gave workshops and also attended contemporary dance workshops and salsa classes there outside of my working hours – great perks to the job!
MY ROLE IN EL CENTRO CULTURAL
I work in the office arranging the workshops and providing information to children and adults with regards to the courses available to them. My chief responsibility, however, is the planning and teaching of my own workshop courses. I run a three-times weekly dramatic improvisation class for teenagers and a drama, English and arts&crafts class twice a week for young children. I also provide conversation lessons in English.
A TYPICAL DAY FOR ME IS…
After a delicious Mexican breakfast, I get into the office at 12pm and spend three hours organizing the day, preparing the day’s workshops. I also do any admin’ that needs to get done and take care of queries and enrolment of courses. Then workshops begin and things get busy: they usually last three hours, which are full-on hours of drama games, activities, storytelling and occasionally some arts and crafts sessions. At the end of my working day, I pop into the next door room and go to my three-times weekly salsa class! Then its usually home with more unbearably tasty Mexican food waiting for me.
WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO WHEN I’M NOT VOLUNTEERING
Living in Chiapas, a jungle/forest/lagoon-filled landscape, every weekend involves a new adventure with friends. We can just get in someone’s car and go to a waterfall, or the natural springs, or some caves with a picnic of tortillas. I also have taken a real interest in folkloric dancing events in the area and the cinema events going on in Tuxtla and San Cristobal. I have also had the opportunity to perform my own stand-up show in Spanish in a café-theatre at the end of the sixth months which was a terrifying yet fantastic experience.
THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT LIVING & VOLUNTEERING IN MEXICO IS…
Realizing to what extent a country and culture can be totally different, and yet really we are all just the same. In Mexico I find that the food, the folklore, the history and the importance of the fiesta are so important and so different to what we know in Britain that as a foreigner, living long-term in a country like Mexico is such an incredible experience.
FROM MY VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT I LEARNT/GAINED
I became more confident in myself, and realized what I could achieve if I put my mind to it and just gave things a go. I “gained” friends, in that the Mexicans and people of other nationalities that I met have become friends for life, a whole family abroad. It opened my eyes to how big, exciting and beautiful the world is and even improved my skills in my specific interests, these being drama and comedy. I also feel the my drama classes and my teaching formed an important part of the cultural exchange that ICYE endeavours to realize, as my students learnt from me, and chiefly, I learnt so much from them.
And I got a tan, which was a huge achievement from my point of view…!