Archive for January, 2011

Summer Spotlight: My Summer Workation in Mexico

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

As part of the Summer Workation Celebrating Summer Contest, we will be featuring a number of Summer Spotlights. These Summer Spotlights will feature some of the exciting things teachers have done and can do during the summer months. We hope that these posts can help teachers learn about some of the summer jobs and opportunities available to them. This spotlight features Summer Workation’s own Lisa Broom. Lisa learned about the Mexican education system while taking an intensive Spanish language course.


Cuernavaca, Mexico is located in Central Mexico, about an hour south of Mexico City. A year round temperature of eighty degrees as well as its proximity to both famous ruins and beautiful beaches made this site a very attractive choice when I weighed my options of where to spend my summer. However, Cuernavaca’s main draw for me was an intensive Spanish language course combined with a seminar for educators that explored the Mexican education system.

For four weeks, I attended a small language school, studying advanced Spanish conversation and grammar for four hours a day. In the afternoons, I also participated in a seminar conducted in Spanish on education in Mexico. Topics included the history of Mexico’s educational system, current laws and statistics, curricula, classroom practices, and comparisons of public and private schools. As part of the program, I also had the opportunity to visit an urban elementary school and observe several classes.

While I was attending classes I lived with a host family. My homestay was set up through the school at which I was studying. I lived with a single woman and her daughter, who had recently graduated high school. My family cooked my meals, showed me things to do in the city and also traveled outside of Cuernavaca with me. Living with a family helped me to acclimate to the new location and culture quickly, and gave me access to experiences I may not have been able to find on my own. During long conversations over meals where I was able to eat homemade local cuisine, I learned about the political and economic climate of the community. My host sister introduced me to restaurants, parks and markets. My family not only provided me with friendship and support, but also a critical connection to the local culture.


Studying and living in Mexico gave me the chance to pursue personal interests as well as grow professionally. I majored in International Studies in college and have always loved learning about different cultures and places. Using my summer break to live and travel outside the U.S. reenergized and refreshed me for the next school year. It also helped me to develop as a teacher. As a bilingual elementary teacher in Houston, Texas, I teach students whose families have recently immigrated to the United States from Latin America. I communicate with most of my students’ parents in Spanish. My classes and conversations with my host family gave me practice that helped me to better communicate with parents when I returned. The course I took on education in Mexico enhanced my communication and relationships with parents because I better understood the system that they knew, and could identify the aspects of my school’s education system that they needed the most help navigating. During my observations at a dual-language school, I learned new techniques to use with English language learners. Studying in Mexico gave me an opportunity to combine personal and professional interests in order to have an enjoyable and productive summer.

Leave a comment by February 27, 2010 to enter the Celebrating Summer Contest!

  • What do you think about this Summer Spotlight?
  • Have you participated in a similar experience?
  • What would your ideal summer growth opportunity be (e.g., volunteer work, study/travel abroad, internship/externship, fellowship)?

Kicking off Summer 2011

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Hi Workationers,

Summer is only a few months away. We have been working on some big changes over the last few months that we will be rolling out over the next week.

– The Summer Workation team