SHS students visit Mexico with IU honors program


Photo contributed by Kaylie Turner

A pyrimad in Mexico called El Castillo. SHS students visited Mexico with the IU honors program.

With the opportunity of visiting other countries, seniors Nathan Bucker and Kaylie Turner left home for the summer with a group of IU honor students. Bucker visited Austria for about five and a half weeks, while Turner visited Merida, Mexico.

Experiencing more than just a change in who they lived with and what they did, the students stayed there speaking only German and Spanish. However, the language barrier didn’t discourage Bucker.

“I was actually really driven to learn the language and not speak English. When I got back I didn’t want to speak English,” Bucker said.

Although the language was different, Bucker says that the whole lifestyle wasn’t as much of a change. He lived with a family that consisted of a brother, sister and dog, which drank a lot of coffee, listened to music and chilled, just like in the U.S., according to Bucker.

He says that the people of Austria drive a lot faster than us, which scared him. Bucker says the 11 hour plane ride back took longer than the ride there but that he would definitely go back, even with them having no air conditioning.

When Turner went to México, the group drove to Chicago, flew from Chicago to Mexico City, then from Mexico City to Merida. She said that the flight from Chicago to Mexico city was very nice, especially since they got a free meal and movies. However, she says the flight from Mexico City to Merida was horrible and rough, but luckily it wasn’t very long.

“It was like a little tin can,” Turner said, when describing the flight from Mexico city to Merida.

She stayed with a host family. The family consisted of a mom, a daughter, who was 30, and nephew, who was 23, and a kid who was four. In Mexico, a typical house contains multiple generations of the family, according to Turner. She stayed there for six weeks and went to school Monday through Friday. Each thursday, Turner and other members of the IU honors program volunteered at at a different school in Mérida, and on Fridays they got to go on excursions to places like Chichén Itzá, Izamal, the beach, the Historical Center and the Museum of the Mayan World.

As they were required to take classes, a few of them were about the culture and language. Turner says that she could understand the language the whole time and it was very fun there.

When asked if she was ever tempted to speak English, Kaylie said, “not really at first, but towards the end when I knew I was about to leave I just really wanted to be done with it.”

One thing she did continuously enjoy though, was the food. The food was what she considered “common mexican food,” but nevertheless found certain foods “very delightful,”

“I would definitely go back. It was a cool experience,” Turner said.  

Her host family even invited her to stay with them anytime. If you want to have a similar experience and learn a lot, sign up for the IU Honors program.