Skip to Main ContentCOE HomeSDSU Home

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

COE Abroad: Soaking up the Language, Culture and Home Cooking of Oaxaca

Graduate student Ed'd Bhagwandeen in Mexico


My name is Ed'd Bhagwandeen and I’m in the Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education’s Critical Literacy and Social Justice master’s program. I went to Oaxaca with credential and MA students this past June. It was my first extended study abroad experience.

I think the most meaningful part of my study abroad coursework was developing relationships with people while I was there. We were placed with host families in the neighborhoods surrounding the Universidad Autonoma Benito Juarez Oaxaca (UABJO), and I knew I had won the lottery when I met my host mom and she gave me a hug that literally took my breath away. It turns out that hugs and (really great) home cooked meals aside, my host family would end up contributing so much to my research project by sharing their stories and connections in the community and the state of Oaxaca. 
I also appreciated professors who didn’t flinch at showing some of the difficult sociopolitical realities of the country even today.                      —Ed'd Bhagwandeen
When I wasn’t sharing time with my host family (and it was hard to pull away), I was engrossed in classes on prehispanic culture and mythology or small group language workshops taught by the UABJO’s facultad de idiomas. On the whole, the classes felt like part of the never-ending feeling of bienvenida, giving us a glimpse of the cultures that have shaped the region of Oaxaca over the centuries. But I also appreciated professors who didn’t flinch at showing some of the difficult sociopolitical realities of the country even today.

Since I have been taking courses online for the last year, it was refreshing not to have to log-on to Blackboard to interact with colleagues. Too often online discussion board requirements mean only pro forma exchanges among students, but traveling with folks is always a great way to get to know them. Meeting for café was an opportunity to exchange notes, debrief and sharpen our research-knives based on interests and experiences of peers.