Mérida, Yucatán — A dozen honors students from Illinois State University made the city their textbook.
Students in the “City as Text” experience learn about a location through a series of pre-trip meetings, called “Honors Exploration,” before coming down and seeing the thngs firsthand.
So before even arriving, they had a firm grasp of the region’s economy, politics, art, geography, education system and psychology of Mérida and the Yucatán.
“My favorite part of the trip was visiting the Mayan ruins. We went to Uxmal and got to climb up one of the pyramids, and it was one of the coolest experiences of my life,” said sophomore Jennifer Wrzala
In eight days, they enjoyed everything from hiking through ancient Mayan ruins and visiting a biosphere reserve, interacting with other college students in Mérida, to kayaking through a tangle of mangroves.
Students on the trip participated in a blend of academic and social encounters, treated to several guest lectures to provide important background and context for the sites they were going to experience in person, covering topics such as the history of Mérida, discrimination, and the archeology of the Yucatán.
“By being surrounded by other determined and focused honors students, I was urged to think critically and to be open-minded during truly new experiences,” senior Sarah Greenberg said.
“One thing I never thought I would do is try all the different types of food. I’m usually an extremely picky eater, so trying all different types of meat, beans, Mexican style desserts, and salsas/sauces was a whole new experience for me,” said sophomore Jennifer Wrzala.
Source: Indiana State University