International Internships

I have now officially completed two international internships. Granted the first one was in Bolivia last year and was more mission-oriented, but by all technicalities it was an internship as well.

However, this summer I was in Querétaro, Mexico interning with Babilon Language Coaching.

A lot of people told me I was absolutely crazy for not only taking an unpaid internship, but taking an internship that I would have to pay for. I had to pay tuition to the university (Tec de Monterrey) not to mention my housing costs and plane ticket.

I’d argue though that it was absolutely worth it. 

I’m majoring in International Studies (with a focus in Latin America and concentration in International Politics – lengthy major title, no?) and linguistics of Spanish. There is nothing I want more than to work internationally and I don’t exactly see a better way to get my foot in the door than actually going to work in a foreign country.

Going to Querétaro, I applied through the Tec and they matched me with an internship. I kind of wish that they’d given me a list of companies that accept foreign interns just so I could check them out myself, but regardless I got matched with a company that honestly helped me acquire new skills.

Before Babilon I’d never translated anything more than just casual conversations. Now I can translate non-disclosure documents, no competition contracts, and employment contracts. Of course I have room for improvement as far as the way the documents flow, but when checking back over what I’d written my supervisor told me she’d only seen one section of the document that had been a bit rough translation-wise.

Of course an internship always means doing a bit of work that is just busy work, but at any entry-level job or internship, what can you expect? 

I certainly wasn’t expecting to actually be so involved in translating documents that people legitimately needed. I’m really happy to have done that.

As far as what I’m going to do when I graduate…I have no idea. 

Right now I know I love to be around people and feel like what I’m doing is actually making a difference to somebody. I think in the upcoming months I will start to look for jobs in Querétaro.

I know that Tec de Monterrey offers internships in their international office where you can go for x amount of time and they cover your living expenses (housing and food) but other than that you’re on your own. I’m wondering if it would be insane to take another [somewhat] unpaid internship upon graduation? But at the same time I would have just turned 23 by the time I finished that internship so I’m not sure if I see the rush of jumping into employment in the US when I’m not even exactly sure of what I want to do.

Thoughts?

 

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Dating bad airlines.

Sometimes, a delayed flight feels like less of a hassle and more like your boyfriend or girlfriend was keeping a big secret from you.

Today I am due to fly out to Querétaro to begin my internship. It starts Monday so I’d have the whole weekend between me and Monday to relax and see some friends.

My flight out of CLT was supposed to leave at 8:30 am. Right now it’s past 9 and I’m sitting in my living room, so obviously that didn’t happen.

Last night I checked that my flight was on time. Everything was good. And I know this next sequence of events is due to weather and FAA regulations saying crew must get 8 hours of sleep etc etc, but it still stressed me out nonetheless.

At 2:26 am (as I was peacefully sleeping) I received an e-mail saying “We apologize for this interruption in your travel plans. We are in the process of rebooking you for the best available flight.”

I didn’t see this.

At 5:30 am (when I was still asleep) I get a call saying “Your flight time has been changed. You are confirmed on a flight from Atlanta at 5:57 pm arriving to Monterrey, Mexico at 7:51 pm.”

The problem?

My flight from Monterrey to Querétaro leaves at 8:15 pm.

Did my airline REALLY think that 24 minutes (assuming we arrive AT 7:51 PM ON THE DOT) is enough time to A) fight my way off a crowded plane B) go through immigration C) get my checked luggage D) go through customs E) recheck my bag F) go back through security and G) make it to my gate in time to board?

-__- Even if Mexico isn’t like the US (in the sense that if the country is your final destination, you have to pick up and recheck your luggage even if that state isn’t your final destination) and you remove steps C, E, and F…pffffff. NO WAY.

Not to mention that even though the airline offered to book alternate flights for free, there were no other flights from Monterrey to Querétaro today. The best I could have gotten would have been tomorrow morning. I’m not really feeling sleeping in the Monterrey airport, nor do I think it’s the best idea to venture out to find a hotel since shootings are relatively common in Monterrey. Not in hotels, but just in general. I know I wouldn’t be a target, but you never know if you’d get caught in the crossfire.

This is where my relationship analogy comes in. If my airline had just called me at 2:30 am (yes, disturbing my sleep, but making me aware of the need to change my flight) then I wouldn’t be upset. Instead, they were sneaking around trying to fix it and ultimately couldn’t, thus leaving me to freak out.

Luckily, I was able to get my airline to cover my new ticket (sucks to suck, airline, haha) so I am leaving CLT at 2:30 today and will only have one layover and then arrive and hour and a half earlier than planned to Querétaro.  🙂

Ohh the joys of traveling.

Would you prefer that your airline leave your sleep undisturbed throughout the night if they knew your flight would be delayed to the point of missing your connection? I guess the question is would you rather deal with it as soon as possible or just wait til later?

Stuff like that stresses me out so I prefer to get it over with, but I know some people don’t mind waiting since the outcome is usually the same.

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anyone out there have some good traveling tips?

hi guys, I just got back from Mexico on Monday (boooo 😦 😦 take me back!) and my friend and I are officially crazy.

We’ve decided (tentatively, of course) that we want to take a year and travel the world together, if possible.

See the problem is I graduate in May of 2014 and he will graduate in April of 2015. This would give me time to work for a year and earn money, but I am wondering if any of you have particular tips or suggestions for jobs that you can do for a year or other ways (such as fundraising, not anything sketchy haha) to earn money to travel.

I am looking into the possibility of nannying full-time for that year. I’ve been a nanny for years so I’m definitely qualified. I’m a nanny now. Just part time cos of school. 

So anyways, I guess here are my questions and I’m hoping you guys can help (even though I don’t have tons of followers yet, just a bunch of awesome people)

1. What would you recommend doing to earn the money to travel the world? I will have approximately a year where I can work full-time and earn money, but keep in mind I will have to make other payments such as food/gas/rent. 

2. Unless I move back home with my parents. Should I live with them for a year to save several thousand dollars? I’d only 23 by the time I left, so it’s not like I’d be a middle-aged person who never made any attempt to leave, living in their basement only playing video games. I’d be working and stuff.

3. Has anyone ever traveled the world? How much did it cost approximately? My friend and I want to go to South America, Japan, Russia, and several other parts of Europe (I just mentioned Russia specifically cos that’s the only for-sure). 

4. Are there any resources I should look into for tips on traveling? (i.e any Lonely Planet guides or anything??) 

 

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Actually going to Mexico

I know I am an absentee blogger when school is in and it’s quite awful, but I try not to bore you guys with the details of my mundane day to day life.

But in 8 days I am headed to Mexico again so I think that’s pretty exciting. Because I will see my friend, Oscar, whom of which I wrote about in my last post.

I am going back to LA FERIA DE SAN MARCOS! And I promise this time I will take more pictures than last year to share with you guys.

Also I have officially secured an internship in Mexico this year and I will share more information on that as the time gets closer. But basically I’ll be in Mexico for six weeks this summer, interning and then going to travel around a bit and see friends.

Tonight however, I am going to my first ever MMA class to try and relieve some of the stress that my exams are causing me. I am very excited about it! 😀

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Serendipitous Friendships

You know how you have a lot of friends whom of which you can’t remember exactly how you met? You know that somewhere along the way you clicked and have since maintained a bond.

I can’t remember exactly how I met most of my friends. But with Oscar that’s not the case. And I apologize if I’ve talked about this before, but I think our friendship is awesome.

When I first went down to Aguascalientes in December of 2011, I accompanied my friend Ally to her first day of class in January. No one spoke to me, partly because no one thought I spoke Spanish (Ally used to live in the US so we always spoke English together) and partly because people were too busy staring at me in confusion.

Towards the end of the day Ally briefly left to go speak to her friend and I stood there, in the middle if the hallway at the university, rather awkwardly. And then this kid comes up to me and starts talking to me. 

We spoke very briefly and I remember being kind of sad that I wouldn’t get to ever see him again, since I wouldn’t be coming back to Ally’s school. 

And I didn’t go back. I moved down to Queretaro for study abroad and visited Ally again in February, but after her school got out for the weekend. Then randomly in March, I went back to visit Ally and went to school with her again. We got invited to a carne asada and I got to hang out with Oscar again. 

ImageHe’s in between the guy in the blue shirt and the girl in the coral and black in the first row where people are standing. I’m the only gringa, hahaha.

He taught me how to dance to banda, which is a type of Mexican music that has its roots in polka. It’s very popular, especially at the fair, which I will be going to next month. 

That was the last time I saw him while I was studying abroad.

This last time when I went back to Mexico, he KNEW I was going to be in Puerto Vallarta. He also knew he would be in Vallarta with his family, but he didn’t tell me until the day I got there. He says he didn’t want to tell me he’d be there in case it would be impossible that we’d see each other, but I still think it was pretty awesome and a great surprise.

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He left Vallarta before I did, but I went to Aguascalientes a few days later and we hung out there too.

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Idk.

I just think the story of our friendship is really cool. Because in January of 2012 I thought I’d never see him again and I’ve seen him several times since, not to mention that I’ll see him in 26 days. 😀

 

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A Fantastic Journey through Finland via Fotos

do you like my alliteration? Even though I had to spell photos the Spanish way?

I thought so. 😛

Tampere, Finland

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(Overview of the city)

Image(Me and Jutta standing on a frozen over lake – Näsijärvi.)

Lapland (Levi, Finland)

Image(Seidi, Jutta, me – all at After Ski)

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(me obviously being a professional snowboarder – so professional that the first time I went down the hill I had to hold the instructors hands for dear life, hahaha)

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(look ma, no hands!)

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(we felt so badass and I loved it. SNOWBOARDING IS SO AWESOME!!)

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(Did someone order a pizza?)

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Ice-swimming in Finland

So I realized I am a terrible person cos I haven’t updated my blog since…well let’s not talk about that. ANYWAYS, between now and the last time I updated my blog, I went to Finland.

And I want to start off by telling you guys about the last big activity I did.

Which was ice-swimming.

In case you’re wondering what ice-swimming is, well, it’s exactly what it sounds like.

You go to a frozen over lake where they maintain a hole meant for swimming. The temperature is 33 F (+1 C) and it feels like DEATH. 

This is how we do itttttttttt (yes, Backstreet Boys reference) 

First we arrive to ice-swimming place and pay 7 euros, because you have to pay money to do this (I know, I thought I’d be getting paid to do it haha) and you go sit in the sauna. Normally the sauna is 185 F and more (+85 C) but alas THIS sauna was not hot enough at all.

Then you run down to the lake, go down the stairs, get in, get out, run back to sauna. 

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The first picture is me getting in the water, the second is me getting back out.

It was SOOOOOOOOOO COLD.

I mean honestly when I stepped in the water my thought was literally “I am certainly going to have a heart attack.” 

I thought I was going to need a defibrillator.

I just imagined my body on the snow, my friends around me going “CLEAR!” and shocking me with those paddles of said defibrillator.

Anyways, I’m a very dramatic person.

There is a picture up to my neck in the water but it is a highly unflattering picture of my face so I’m resisting putting it up right now, but I was clinging to the railing for dear life because even though I swam varsity in high school, I was POSITIVE that I would have drowned had I let go of the railing.

Rather than “and in that moment I swear we were infinite” it was a “and in that moment I swear I was going to drown/freeze to death/turn into an ice cube and sink to the bottom of this lake even though ice floats” kind of moment.

But don’t worry! I survived it and I have lots more to tell about Finland and Mexico! Probably going to Mexico in ~7 weeks!

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from Mexico with Love

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Today I got the letter that Oscar sent me. 🙂 I wrote him a letter on the plane back to the US and I guess now we’ve started a letter exchange thing. It’s so old-fashioned and cute and makes me happy. 🙂 

Because getting something in the mail really is the best.

I promise I’ll talk more about my trip soon!! 

 

 

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28 Days Later

or like…12 days later. same thing. kinda.

Sorry but can’t say I didn’t warn you guys that “tomorrow”  can mean any time within the calendar year. :X 

Can I start with some good news?

I WILL BE INTERNING IN MEXICO THIS SUMMER!! CHICKA CHICKA YEEEEAH. I didn’t really talk about it a lot cos I didn’t wanna jinx it but I just got my acceptance letter! 😀 😀 😀 😀

I’m so pumped!! I was honestly worried cos the summer after junior year is often seen as crucial for internships but because of my sister’s graduation plus the baller cruise we’re going on as her graduation gift, I won’t be available during much of June. Luckily for me, my internship is flexible and can start in July because that’s when I’m available so I will still get this awesome opportunity.

I’ll reveal more details later.

Anyways! So Aguascalientes and Querétaro.

I headed back to Aguascalientes alone and 2 days before Pichis because I was tired of being with my friends alone seeing as they were a couple and that got really old really fast, but I still love them haha. 

I stayed in the Marriott Aguascalientes for two nights before I went to stay with Alex the other two but let me tell you:

That hotel is BALLER. Look at the view from the penthouse balcony area:
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I took that Thursday night after I spent the whole day with Óscar. Óscar, being the amazing person he is came to my hotel at 11 am Thursday to spend the whole day with me so I wouldn’t be alone since I got to Aguas a day before planned.

He gave me a walking tour of the whole downtown area, which was awesome because I’ve been there bunches of times but normally at night so I don’t know a lot about it. We walked quite literally for 10 hours. I couldn’t feel my hips by the time I got back to the hotel.

This was my favorite statue in the Jardin San Marcos
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Can you tell I like Instagram? haha

Well, on Friday I went to Alex’s and went to his basketball practice with him and Nancy. Nancy and I clicked right away and it was nice not to be the only girl hanging out with the bball team. That night Alex, Nancy, Óscar and I went to a club….called Dobby and it was awesome. I forgot my camera per usual. :X But my friend, Monica, and her boyfriend met up with us there and we all had a blast. 

The next day we threw a party in Alex’s house. 
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My class is about to start so I have to go but I only stayed in Mexico a full three days after this so I’ll talk about that next time I blog. 🙂 

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La werita takes Mexico.

Hi guys! Soo when I said “I’ll write about it tomorrow” after all my frustration…well, apparently “tomorrow” meant “in a few days.” Oops. Sorry. I have been sucked into American Horror Story and Pretty Little Liars was on last night and and and…yeah. I’ve run out of excuses.

But okay! So let me try and write about the full trip, but if it’s too long I’ll divvy this into two posts.

You guys already heard about my flight fiasco where everything got all cray.

So anyways, on my flight to Guadalajara I met this woman and her beautiful baby girl on my flight, her and her husband’s story is really devastating and I’m really hoping they can be together here.

Okay, let me get my thoughts together for a second..sorry, I just did Insanity so I’m dying a little bit, haha.

Man I wish WordPress would have saved my post when I first wrote it, it was awesome. -__-

Pero así es la vida. C’est la vie. Whatevs.

I arrived to Guadalajara around 8 pm when I was supposed to arrive at 4:30 pm. I took a taxi to the bus station (270 FREAKING PESOS, PEOPLE! That was more than my bus ticket to Puerto Vallarta FIVE HOURS AWAY) and the whole time the taxi driver was trying to convince me to let him drive me to Vallarta for a small fee of $300 USD. Yeah right. I’m a poor college student.

Unfortunately the bus did not leave Guadalajara until 11:00 pm so I just chilled in the station for a while being the only gringa there. Blah blah blah bus bus bus and I arrived in Vallarta at 5 am. Lovely. Nothing like sleeping on a bus that is zipping at a scary-fast speed through the mountains of Mexico.

Pichis (real name, Ricardo) and Amy’s dad picked me up and we all went back to the house, Amy greeted me all super excited squealing and whatnot and then we promptly went to bed cos I’d been traveling for 20 hours. We actually woke up early the next day so Pichis, Amy, and I hopped on the bus to go to Punta de Mita in Nayarit which is the state next to Jalisco.

We all suck at surfing, but it’s so much fun so I really didn’t care. I could spend all day in the water. Anything related to the water, I love it. Except maybe fishing. That comes off as a bit boring to me, haha.

Once we got back to Vallarta, I had a bazillion missed calls and texts on my American phone. I left my phone in the house all day turned on airplane mode but I had to check it to tell my parents I was still alive so that’s how that all popped up. 

It was a really pleasant surprise though – my friend Óscar was in Vallarta too! He knew I was coming to Vallarta and he knew HE was going with HIS family, but he didn’t tell me until I got there. 

So Saturday we all met up (me, Pichis, Óscar, Amy, and Óscar’s cousin, Omar) to just chill at a restaurant on the beach, eat, swim, fight the giant waves of the Pacific.
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And in the evening we all met up AGAIN to go danciiiiing. I love dancing. 😀 We went to La Vaquita and Mandala. I suck at taking pictures though so I don’t have a lot. I honestly need a photographer to follow me around so I have documentation of what I do in my life.

ImageIn La Vaquita 

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The next day Óscar and his family had to return home sooo it was just me, Amy, and Pichis again.

Word to the wise – don’t hang out with a couple. It will drive you nuts. I love Pichis AND I love Amy but sometimes I just wanted to stab my eyeballs with a spoon.

Apart from that, my time there was awesome. We went to Nayarit again with Amy’s [almost] entire family to Rancho Grande Los Pinos and spent the whole day swimming and picnicking and lying in the sun (well, I was in the sun, there rest were in the shade haha). We’re opposites – I want to be darker and Amy wants to be lighter.  I also finished “Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness” which was awesome. 

Here’s a picture of the place we went to, courtesy of their website, haha.
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Also if you’re wondering why I titled this post “la werita takes Mexico” it’s just cos I felt like it. And all my friends call me wera/werita/gringa (or more properly spelled güera/güerita, buttttt I have been heavily influenced by my friends in the way that I write in Spanish haha).

I feel like my vacation sounds boring in retrospect but I promise it was awesome – I just don’t do touristy things while I’m there cos I’m with my friends and I’ve done the whole tourist shtick before when I studied abroad in Mexico.

Oooh! New Years! Okay New Years will be my stopping point then I’ll fill you guys in on the rest of my trip.

We spent New Years with Amy’s whole family and it was so much fun. We spent the night dancing at her cousin’s house and eating grapes (at midnight you have to eat some grapes and for every grape make 2 wishes or something like that, it made no sense to me haha) and tamaleeeeees and champagne! And I already showed you guys the photos from that. 🙂 

Next up will be my trip to Aguascalientes and Querétaro so I should talk about that tomorrow…or you know, in a few days. haha 🙂

 

 

 

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