International Studies & Programs

The city never slept

During the night, the streets would be filled with performers, street venders, and the locals.

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Published: Friday, 26 Apr 2024 Author: Janet Roque-Molina

Janet posing with three friends on a street in MexicoWhen I first chose my major, I had no idea what I wanted to accomplish with my degree and how it would help me in my professional career. I originally chose it for the money it would get me to help maintain my family. It wasn’t until I went on the International Engagement in Mexico (IEM) program when I realized that I wanted to be able to help people through the volunteering experience that I had while I was in Oaxaca.

Seeing the children’s faces lighten up when my group and I first step foot into their school was breath taking. We were only there to paint murals at their school accompanied by some gardening, yet this meant so much to the children in this community. They fed us during lunchtime as a way for them to express their gratitude for how much it meant to them that we were there to make changes to their school. I was given the Colorful sign that reads El Tule in Mexicoopportunity to assist the second-grade class on the first day that we were there, and they were very curious about us. They enjoyed asking us questions of where we were from, our names, and even translate some words from Spanish to English. They stuck around us while we were painting the murals and even gave us small gifts.

During our free time we were given the opportunity to explore the city we stayed in, and I loved every second of it. It was very lively and full of color every day. During the night, the streets would be filled with performers, street venders, and the locals. The city never slept, and the nights were filled with music and people exploring the different stores and stalls.

One thing that I enjoyed most of all was buying traditional clothing from Oaxaca and wearing it throughout the week that I was there. I always enjoyed being able to wear what is from my culture and learn more about all the different traditions there are in it. I was so inspirational to my classmates that I was given the nickname the “outfit girl” because of the clothes that I wore on the first day that we arrived in Oaxaca. Hearing this from my close friends made me so surprised that I was able to make an impact inside our group and become recognized.

I am a first-generation student at MSU, and my parents are from Mexico. I am glad that I was able to visit my parents’ country and get to learn more cultures and traditions that there are inside of Mexico.

Name: Janet Roque-Molina
Status: Freshman
Major: Human Capital & Society
Hometown: Mulberry, Florida
Program: International Engagement in Oaxaca