La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Friday, February 25, 2005

The office that organizes international study at Georgia Tech has asked me to contribute a 500 word essay about my Fulbright experience. Next week, I have to give a presentation on my Fulbright experience during the mid-year Fulbright orientation session. I thought I might brainstorm some ideas here first.

What have I learned?

That students everywhere complain and think they have too much work to do.
That there is always one smartypants student (who isn't always that prepared) in every class, even in Mexico.
That academic departments are dysfunctional everywhere, though the dysfunctions reflect the local culture.
That I really love chilaquiles, and will hate to go back to Atlanta because no restaurant in the entire North Georgia area knows how to properly make them.
That I find Mexican driving habits annoying. How can people be so polite and formal face-to-face, and so ruthless in their cars?
That I miss my dog terribly, and that all Mexican dogs (even Doby, the friendly dog of the building consierge) are ugly in comparison.

But wait, I can't say that....

What can I say?
That I have had much more time to write and get research done while away from Tech. I sent off three papers last fall to journals! I should have 2-3 more ready to go by June!
That my time away from Tech has led me to appreciate my colleagues in International Affairs, and I'm looking forward to being back in their company.
That I plan to be in a better position for my third-year review when I get back to Tech (and I'm hoping for a raise, too!).
That this year abroad has not been without has been more expensive than we planned, and Brian has had to put off school another year. A year abroad would be even more difficult for those with children.
That moving to Mexico would have been even more difficult if we had not lived here before. It helps to go someplace you've already been.

I should probably have something in the list about cultural understanding and sensitivity, yadda yadda, but none of that seems like much of a surprise after living here three years. At this point, I am no longer awed by how nice and friendly Mexicans can be; I am just annoyed when they cut me off on the highway and don't pick up their dogs' droppings. It's not that I don't like Mexico or its people; I love both. It's that after a while, I take for granted the good things and am merely annoyed by the bad.

Now, let's see if I can go write that 500 word essay.

posted by Michelle @ 5:20 PM,


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