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Student Essays and Photos - Mexico

“I was lucky to have met a great older woman named Doña Luz before the trip who was from the city. We met at the airport in Los Angeles on our way to Oaxaca and I helped ease her nerves and helped with her heavy luggage. She was full Zapotec Indian, but a Mexican National who worked as a maid for a rich family in Los Angeles, and was traveling home for the holiday. I picked her brain about her hometown and her culture and when we arrived at the Oaxaca airport, she introduced me to her daughter and grandson who generously offered me a ride to the Casa Brava, where I was to stay. They embodied the same great and gentle spirit that she had shown me, something familiar of family. I was comfortable communicating with them in both Spanish and English, and I learned a few words in Zapotec as well. This first hand experience was a great introduction to the city.”

—Fernando Perez

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“Oaxaca was a wonderful escape from the ordinary which really allowed me to think about my writing and my process. What I concluded resembled a Wordworth approach to my problem with writing poetry and overcoming writer’s block. Oaxaca led me to discover (or more accurately to accept) that much of my work is reflective, and the experiences that lead to my inspiration are incredibly important. Within my body of work is an attraction to that which is strange or distant, and Mexico reveals its importance both to me and my body of work. This trip to Oaxaca gave me a new connection to the environment of my inspiration as I not only visited important archeological sites, but discovered new cultural phenomenons that I was previously unaware.”

—Jim Dicus

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“Revision is for me an inseparable part of the traveling writer’s experience. Generally speaking when we travel the world is new to us, new like a child’s vision is fresh, and unfamiliar as last night’s dream remembered today at lunch. In the traveler’s experience the foreign is immediately tangible; what seems strange is that you have arrived from somewhere else, now unimaginable. New ways of seeing amplify a new landscape as the displaced writer negotiates the multiple layers of culture, identity, and language that form one’s experience abroad. In Oaxaca, and through Spanish, I discovered a new voice for my poem, a new spoken music and measure, and hopefully, in the weeks to come, new content.”

—Mark Haunschild


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