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Gissel Brito:
Motivation in Campeche, Mexico

Sept. 11, 2013

Gissel Brito is a sophomore from Hart, Mich., who is majoring in human resource management. As a freshman, she traveled to Mexico for a spring break study abroad experience.

I traveled to Campeche, Mexico for the week of Spring Break during March. This study abroad program’s main goal was to visit one of the sixteen agency sites in the cities of Puebla, Merida, Oaxaca and Campeche and help non-profit agencies that aid handicapped children and adults, orphaned children, disadvantaged children and teenagers.

These agencies aid these individuals by offering before and after school services, provide snacks and lunch as well as house some individuals due to their inability to find suitable shelter.

During this week, I was faced with very strong feelings of incompetency and anger. Seeing the conditions these individuals lived and will keep living in is shocking. It definitely has pushed me to strive for the best I can be and take advantage of the opportunities I have for me and for them.

Going to Mexico as a young Latina college student from the United States seemed to make more of an impression than I thought. The struggle for Mexican students to pursue a decent higher education, especially females, was ever apparent. It’s almost as the system limits their possible success.

Working along children from the ages 2-14 years, motivate and inspired me to pursue a degree in order to one day do something so that those kids are also presented with the opportunities to continue their education and fulfill their remarkable potential.

I was so very saddened to realize that those kids were not their country’s priority and that they were going to face some heart-wrenching life choices that could drive them to different paths in which they could be driven back to poverty. I entered MSU with an undeclared major and living this experience has undeniably pushed me down the road higher education administration.

During my short visit, I fell in love all over again with the Mexican culture and its beautiful people. I am Mexican-American and seeing my roots is truly a humbling and almost an unexplainable feeling. It also made me realize how much I lack the ability to successfully and fluently communicate in Spanish. It reminded how important it was to speak Spanish and not to forget about my native language.

Taking this study abroad to Mexico during spring break has really impacted me positively and I know it has helped me grow profoundly.