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In a Few Words...reflections on the experience

What I learned from this experience was a greater sense of people’s diversity in the world, and our universal love of artistic outlets. Traveling is an excellent means to broaden the scope of artistic appreciation.
- Rebecca Barnett

After traveling to both Miami and Mexico I have found that there are some strong similarities. The similarities are found in humanity’s love for art and beauty. Both locations valued visual and performing arts and it was so wonderful to see people from around the world unite under their common appreciation for art. It is amazing that traveling to new places both opens your eyes to see how different and unique individual cultures can be while simultaneously allowing you to see how humans are somewhat similar everywhere. - Leah Floyd

In Miami I felt a Latino presence, but I did not feel that I had gone anywhere far from home. The culture is distinctly American. The evening activities were fun, including the bars, clubs, and interesting people. There was however a distance to South Beach. People have that big city mentality, and ugly, blatant displays of wealth and excess were a constant theme. - Rebecca Barnett

I have always felt that people should travel the world in order to be educated about it. There is nothing better than first hand experience of different cultures. Mexico was no different. It was a great experience to get to know their culture especially from the point of view of a Latin American who is not Mexican but is always put into the same category with them.
- Eileen Betancourth

Overall Mexicans have a rich and full culture with great music and food. They are ever changing and remain true to their differences. I loved that I was able to immerse myself into their life style for a while and understand how another group of people leads their life. It was also great to prove to myself that Mexicans and Colombians may speak the same language but they are very different. - Eileen Betancourth

Travel has always been a part of my life, and being born in the United States to Colombian parents, Latin-America is another home to me. The idea of going on a trip to Mexico, currently the country of residence of my cousin, seemed like an incredible way to connect with my extended family.
- Cat Plazas

As I prepared to be once again in a Spanish-speaking country, I realized how much the United States has changed. In the Orlando airport, there was no language heard more than Spanish, not even English.
This was surprising even to me. - Cat Plazas

I have to say that, most of all, I was completely surprised by the way that people in Guanajuato presented themselves and simply live their daily lives. It was something so much different than I am normally used to experiencing in my everyday life. For example – people on a whole, as I found, seemed to just generally be much nicer and more relaxed about most things, even during the crowded festival atmosphere. It was something so different from the hustle and bustle of my own daily life that it actually took me a few days to get used to while I was there. - Rob Esparza

I was actually rather surprised by Mexico. I had been to Guatemala and already knew that Latin America is not as primitive as it is usually portrayed, but I was blown away by how nice Guanajuato was. The streets were clean, paved, and well cared-for and everyone was dressed really nicely. Actually, by the standards of Guanajuato, I was severely underdressed and felt like I stuck out even more than I already did. - Elise Holt

I knew Mexico was overwhelmingly Catholic, but I did not think I would see the image of the Virgin Mary as much as I did. She was literally everywhere. What surprised me the most was seeing her all over the walls of the Corralejo tequilera and in shops on the shelves above ceramic genitalia. - Elise Holt

The very little misfortune that we experienced was the rain that caused cancellation of the performance of Romeo and Juliet. The rain was like a horror movie. We hovered close to the buildings and watched the streets fill with rainwater that cascaded down from the stairs from top of the mountain. I was really disappointed to not see the Romeo and Juliet show, because I walked by the area earlier in the day and saw the giant puppets. They were twice the size as me. I was looking forward to seeing their interpretation. - Rebecca Barnett

The pyramids were an unexpected adventure. Because scientists were still discovering new things about it, I left feeling I had witnessed something extraordinary. I felt like I was in a different world because anything like that in the States would be swarming with people, and we had the site all to ourselves.
- Rebecca Barnett

Going to the archaeological ruins, the Plazuelas, was something that I had always dreamed of doing. I know that there are larger and more wide-spread ruins in Mexico, but this was the first time that I had ever gotten to see any type of ancient ruins, at all. Standing among them and getting a feel for what it may have been like when the ruins were actually a city was quite a breathtaking experience. To see the grounds where ancient people once walked and carried out their daily lives was absolutely fascinating for me.  - Rob Esparza

Watching international plays during the trips to Mexico and Miami was very entertaining and interesting, however, experiencing the culture outside of the theatre was also very exciting. The trip to Miami was shorter than the trip to Mexico but still held its fair share of adventure. In our three-day trip we saw three plays, went to many good ethnic restaurants, visited a museum, and experienced shopping in Miami. Although there was a large Hispanic population in Miami, and I could definitely see a difference in culture as compared to the rest of Florida, it still was very American in the small things like the architecture and the clothing people wore. The trip to Miami was good preparation for the total culture change that Mexico would bring. - Leah Floyd

Mexico was amazing. The fact that we stayed in a home really helped all of us get familiar with the city and Mexican customs. In Miami our group stayed in a hotel, and we had to rent a car because Miami is so large and everything is not within walking distance. This differed from Mexico because we stayed in a home located centrally in the town. The central location and home stay familiarized us with the area and I believe that we felt more of insiders than tourists. - Leah Floyd

I got feelings from the players that the Latino population is tired of being second-class citizens in the world. They consider the United States a place they have come to for opportunity. - Rebecca Barnett

The theatre festival was fantastic. I loved that it was more than just a Mexican thing. To see plays from all over the world you could truly see, comprehend, and appreciate everyone’s artistic vision. I loved all the plays I had the pleasure of viewing. Every country that we saw did something very different. Guanajuato truly appreciates theatre, as it is the center of attention during the festival and the several theatres they have are well kept and made to seem very important. - Eileen Betancourth

The new interpretation of classic plays demonstrates a direction that modern theatre is taking. Not only is it important to write and perform new plays, but also it is important to look to the past for inspiration and choose to interpret classic plays and perform them with modern twists. The tying of the past and the present creates timeless stories, making it easier for the present audience to relate. - Leah Floyd

One thing I learned about foreign theatre is that lighting is less about making the actor be seen and is more about creating a mood or specific artistic meaning. In the United States, lighting designs almost always have completely lighting the actors at all times in mind. In lighting designs for the shows from other countries, the focus was on the show as a whole, not just the actors. - Elise Holt

I will be permanently affected by the modern shows: Tempest, Con Belisa and Fausto3. They tied everything I know about modern art together. The three works incorporated all the performing arts at some point: music, dance, and visual art. Interpretations of the texts were all original and imaginative. The musical qualities included minimalism, complex rhythms, tonal ambiguity, and harmonic dissonance. - Rebecca Barnett

Guanajuato is incredibly populous; I could by no means call it merely a town, and yet, it had the heart of one. I think the thing that still makes me smile the most about Guanajuato is the memory of the view from on our host family’s terrace. Seeing Guanajuato like that was an experience for all the senses: the colors delighted my eyes, the music from street performers which could be heard all the way from the roof of this house on a mountain soothed not only my ears, but also my soul, and the smell of so many flavors of food and of life which fed even my very heart with its presence. - Cat Plazas


Caricature by Pedro Durán, Guanajuato, Mexico

 

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