Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis


International Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Ageeth Sluis


Two years ago, I began researching where I wanted to study abroad. I desired a country that spoke Spanish, which I had studied since the age of six, and that would be relevant to my life in the United States. For these reasons, I chose Mexico, a place that, because of it' s geographical proximity and economy, has strong relations with my own nation. As a student of International Studies and Anthropology, I also sought a program that would allow me to interact with locals outside of a classroom setting. I decided on SIT World Learning and its program "Sustainable Development and Social Change," based in the city of Oaxaca de Juarez. During my three months in Oaxaca, I learned about climate change, neoliberalism, and migration, all of which are gravely affecting the indigenous communities of Oaxaca. But with the majority of the lectures, I felt that the message was too pessimistic, that Mexicans were fighting an impossible battle against the world's hegemonic powers. My yearning to find a brighter viewpoint led to me spend the last month of my stay conducting an independent study project in the community of Teotitlan del Valle.