Sitting in the McAllen airport waiting for my flight back to Dallas and then Detroit I am thinking about all of the things we did this week. Between touring the Progreso International Bridge, seeing the ‘Wall’ that supposedly separates the US and Mexico, seeing dozens of women working towards a healthy lifestyle together, and getting to know our amazing colleagues here in Texas I don’t know what was the most influential part of my trip.
The whole trip was a great learning experience. I felt so out of place in Brownsville, our supervisor had to order for me when we went to lunch because I didn’t speak Spanish! It was so interesting to see a place that was so multicultural. Most of the restaurant signs and menus were exclusively in Spanish. Which is so different from anything I have experienced in Michigan, especially Ann Arbor, where English is the only necessary language.
Another learning experience was the type of work I was asked to do. As a student in the Environmental Health Sciences department I have never been asked to evaluate anything for health behavior concepts. I was thrown into a health behavior project, with only basic knowledge of the theories we used. There was definitely a learning curve, but my supervisors were very helpful and willing to answer all of my questions. This experience has taught me that learning on the job is tough, but sometimes necessary.
All in all my trip to Texas was an eye opening experience in more ways than I had imagined. The food, the weather, and the people were all great I had an experience that will last a lifetime.
All photos taken by Grace Christensen