My name is Jennifer Glancey, I’m from the UK and I’m on a gap year before studying Law with Spanish at University. When looking into experiences and programs to do in my gap year, I came across Adelante Abroad and I knew it was the perfect program for me. Adelante’s program allowed me to do three things that were very valuable to me: moving abroad and exploring a different country, improving my Spanish speaking ability, and gaining real legal work experience that would give me an advantage later when I go on to study and work in law. Out of all the options for countries available – Oaxaca, Mexico excited me the most. I knew it was a culturally rich city and before I had even left I made a long list of food I wanted to try and places I needed to visit!
As my plane landed in Mexico, I felt quite nervous as I was slowly realising that I was actually going to be spending the next three months in a country I’d never visited. I was also worried about the fact that I had been taught Spanish from Spain and was less familiar with Latin-American Spanish. However, once the local coordinator, Carlos, picked me up from the airport I felt so much more relaxed. He told me about the history of Oaxaca, showed me around the city, and is always happy to help me with any questions I have. I then met the three other Adelante candidates that I would be living with, we clicked instantly and have spent a lot of time together exploring the city and going out for dinner.
On the first Monday, we started attending the Becari Spanish language school where we had lessons for 4 hours in the morning. The teachers were incredibly helpful and were great in encouraging us to speak only in Spanish during lessons. They also accommodated for the different way I had been taught Spanish and helped me learn the new Latin American words that I needed. We also began taking salsa classes twice a week at the school. I would absolutely not describe myself as a good dancer, but I still end up laughing and exhausted after every lesson! After the first week, the language school organized a trip to Monte Albán – which reminds me a bit of Macchu Picchu and it had the most incredible views and was full of information about the vast history of the ancient civilizations.
One of my favorite aspects of being here is just experiencing the city. Everything I need is within walking distance and I love walking through the streets and seeing the various colourful houses and decorations. Additionally, the food markets have quickly become some of my favourite places! I have been able to try fruits that I have never had before such as star fruit, dragon fruit, guava, red bananas and so much more.
I have just started my law internship where I am working for a local non-profit organization called Litigio Estragético Indígena that is focused on protecting the land and rights of indigenous people. I could not wait to start this internship as human rights law has been a huge interest of mine and I am extremely happy now that I have started. The lawyers that I work with have been so friendly from the very beginning and are constantly offering me new exciting opportunities that will make my time here so much more meaningful. I feel extremely connected to this city after reading through the cases that they are doing – such as rescuing the local Atoyac river.
I have been overwhelmed by how kind, friendly, and welcoming everyone here has been. I definitely made the right choice by joining this Oaxaca program and I already know that it will be a struggle to have to say goodbye and leave this place that has quickly felt like home.