Participate in Paradise
May 23, 2009
By BreAnna Haessler
May 18, 2009 rolled around and our journalism class met for the first time. It was our first official class meeting before we headed to Cozumel, Mexico for a two-week study abroad class learning about international media. After our two days of class at school getting to know each other and learning more about our new home for two weeks the time came to board a plane to Mexico. This was a big feat for our class to finally be on our way to Mexico. It was only the Friday before we left that the CDC travel warning was lifted and we were cleared to go by the University of Nebraska. It was a relief to all of us to have our tickets in hand with the destination Mexico stamped on them.
Upon arriving in Mexico we were greeted with warm smiles, people taking our temperature, the smell of the ocean, and hot humid air. After receiving our luggage and going through customs all 11 of us piled in a van with our 22 checked bags and 11 carry-ones and were off to our hotel. We settled in and then once again met as a class this time around tables looking out at the ocean. I thought that class with people that you just met in a foreign country was going to be hard, but I quickly found out that I had so much in common with several of the girls. We talked about our plans for the day and the days to follow. We all got a chance to relax and explore our surroundings. We all met back together in the lobby to walk to dinner at Otates, a local authentic restaurant away from the tourist-zone. There are not restaurants like this in Nebraska. When you walked up everything is outside, with plastic tables and chairs. The food was excellent and the service was great. While we were there we met with Sherri our connection to the turtle salvation program, and Aaron our translator for the week. After the first day of traveling and observing the culture I thought it was going to be a roller coaster of experiences we were about to encounter.
The next day we met at the Government building, Palacio Municipal, as a class to go over the plans again and discuss how each of us was feeling so far. Since it was only our second day of being on the island we had a day to explore and relax. All of us jumped on the chance to spend a day at the beach. We all negotiated a taxi driver to take all ten of us to the beach for 28 U.S. dollars. We spent the day at the beach relaxing, swimming, parasailing and getting to know our new best friends for the next two weeks. After a long tiring day of being in the sun we all came back and got ready to walk to the Spanish English Academy for salsa lessons. While the students were in class we were able to learn some steps to the salsa. Unfortunately it was extremely hot and the teachers were way better than any of us. After the students were done with class we were able to converse with them about what they thought about living on the island. It was very interesting and fun to interact using my Spanish and talking to people my own age. The night ended early for most of us because of the lack of sleep we had received the previous two nights.
The experience so far for me has been great. I really enjoy talking and getting to know the locals as well as my classmates. If there were to be one thing that sticks out to me so far about advertising and international media in Cozumel it is that everything is connection based. The way to be successful is all about whom you know and getting your business known by word of mouth. The funds for advertising aren't there so people rely on word of mouth to grow his or her business.