||The "Centre Bueno Blog" captures fun in Mexico
RELEASED: November 19, 2009
By Leigh Ivey
DANVILLE, KY—Centre College students who study abroad (and about 85 percent of them do) have countless extraordinary experiences in foreign countries.
And although they may believe that they'll always remember their days abroad, many soon discover that the details grow hazy once the students have returned to the States.
Knowing this, professor of anthropology Dr. Phyllis Passariello and her research assistant Alison McDaniel ’07 had a suggestion for the students currently participating in the Centre-in-Mexico program: create a group blog to record memories from the term.
With McDaniel’s assistance, Passariello is leading the Mexico program, which began in mid-September and will be concluding in early December.
"They thought the blog would be a good way for us to collect our thoughts on the things we've experienced in Mexico," says Louisville native Kara Beer '12. "They knew it would be a really interesting thing for us to look back on because it's basically a collection of stories and memories."
As part of her anthropology courses, Passariello often asks students to keep field journals or personal travel journals.
She also likes them to keep a "group journal, which I have done with groups successfully many times over the years—usually passing around an actual 'group notebook,'" she says.
This term, however, she was interested in creating an online journal instead, and she gives credit to McDaniel for choosing a blog as the medium.
"It was really inspired by student involvement and devotion to Facebook, especially because it's so easy to share photos that way, and Alison's blog idea evolved from that. Every student here in the Merida program has been asked to participate, and all seem to be enjoying it!"
One of these students is Michael Keach '10 of Lexington, Ky., who is already looking forward to re-reading the blog in years to come.
"It facilitates personal reflection during the trip," he says, "and I know I'll really enjoy reading it in the future."
Of course, keeping a blog is also an effective method of recounting stories to a wide audience.
"I really enjoy the blog because it gives me an opportunity to share my experiences with friends and family," Keach says. "I want other people to be excited about traveling abroad because it's been a life-changing experience for me."
And because every Centre student studying in Merida views each experience differently, the blog offers readers a multi-faceted picture of life in Mexico.
"My favorite part about the blog is being able to read entries by the other students," says Sarah Swauger '11 of Fort Thomas, Ky. "We all attend the same classes and go on the same trips, but it's interesting to see how everyone is having their own unique experience down here."
One experience in particular resonates with many of the bloggers, all of whom were interested in different aspects of the same event.
"It was our trip to Oaxaca to participate in Day of the Dead celebrations," Swauger says. "We had the opportunity to travel to a small pueblo and participate in a procession of the Day of the Dead, where people danced around in costumes in the street. We also went to a cemetery and saw people honoring their loved ones by putting offerings of food and flowers on the graves—but the interesting part was that they were also celebrating by throwing small fireworks and dancing."
Beer adds that "several Centre students painted their faces in order to participate more fully in the activities, and this simple action created solidarity between us and the other members of the procession. They spoke no English and most of us spoke little Spanish, yet with a little face paint and the 'spirit of the evening,' we were able to form a special bond."
These experiences—and countless others—are ones that the students hope to cherish forever. And the Centre-in-Mexico students are already grateful that the blog has allowed them to capture memories that may otherwise have been forgotten.
"The blog has been a good tool for remembering the smaller things that have happened this term," Lexington, Ky., native Andy Hagerman '11 says. "Some people write about things that I would've forgotten had I not been able to read the blogs, and it's fun to write about the very cool experiences I've had down here."
To get a glimpse of life through the eyes of the Centre-in-Mexico students, check out the Centre Bueno Blog here.
Have comments, suggestions, or story ideas? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback.
- end -
Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
For news archives go to http://www.centre.edu/web/news/newsarchive.html.
600 W. Walnut Street
Danville, KY 40422