Yes, I am actually working, 25 hours per week I’ll have you know… even if this blog hasn’t represented that part of my year abroad so much!
To rectify this, I thought I’d explain what I’m doing here in Mexico on a day to day basis. I’m currently working as a Language Assistant at the Anglo Foundation in Mexico City, in the Florida branch. My job role is to run conversation and culture clubs, and to help teachers in class if needed. I also run a facebook page page promoting these clubs and also British culture – as it turns out Mexicans know nothing about the UK except Downton Abbey and the elusive Teatime. You can check it out if you want to see more about my work.
So here’s a typical week for me:
On Mondays I start work at 10am, but it’s a quiet day normally as I have no clubs and teachers don’t normally need me in classes. I normally take this time to prepare resources for the week ahead. I finish work at 3pm, and head home on the pesero (see picture), which is a small bus which doesn’t have set stops. You just hail it off the street and then either press the button when you want to get off (if there is one), or you shout to the driver. Drivers normally play excessively loud and bassy banda music and drive like maniacs, and more often than not the bus is falling apart and/or help together with zip-ties, but at 4 pesos a ride (like 15p) it’s an effective form of transport.
In the evening I normally go to a Zumba class at the gym. Gyms here are surprisingly expensive (like £40/50 per month), but luckily I found a smashing deal on Mexican Groupon so I paid like £40 for a 6 month membership, including classes and a personal trainer!
Tuesdays I start work at 8am, bright and early, which means waking up at 6am, #fml. But the work day goes quickly as I’m quite busy. I normally help in teachers’ classes, (e.g. by giving a presentation on cheese rolling in Gloucester), I run a culture club (e.g. about British geography, history, film, festivals…), I then have a conversation club (general conversation practice activities based on topics e.g. health, media, environment…). I finally finish work at 1pm, and generally I go home, catch up on laundry and Yarp stuff, then at about 5pm I head to the gym for a work out with the trainer and then a step class (so 80s).
On Wednesdays I work in the evenings, giving me the morning free to explore the city. I normally see some friends, go to a museum, go to Coyoacan centre or just sleep. Work starts at 4pm, and Wednesdays are my “club days”. I have a culture club, conversation club and also a film club, so that keeps me and my loyal students busy! Sadly by the time I finish work at 9pm the last pesero is long gone, so I have to get a different bus and then walk, meaning I don’t get home until like 10pm, very hungry and sleepy!
Not much time for sleep though, as it’s up again at 6am for work at 8am. No clubs today, just helping teachers and planning my clubs for the following week (making presentations, games, other resources etc). I finish at 1pm, head home for lunch, then I normally go do something with friends. Thursday is our “going-out night”, and we normally go to Mama Rumba or Pata Negra, bars in La Roma/Condessa which offer salsa classes (Pata Negra offers free classes on Saturdays). My salsa skills are definitely improving, but there’s a heck of a way still to go! 💃💃💃
Finally it’s Friday! I have the mornings off (to recover from the night before haha), and then I start work at 3pm. On Fridays, my Anglo is full of kids’ classes, which I love, so I’m normally in popular demand, though I do have one regular class I love going to, Mexican kids are so chill and so easy just to chat to. I finish work at 8pm, and head home, or if I’m going on a weekend away, I’ll get ready/go to that!
These, as mentioned above, are either spent travelling, exploring Mexico City, or as this weekend was, working on my Yarp.
While I’m talking about realism, I know a lot of other YA blogs recently have been talking about being honest. And when they do, it’s normally bad things: homesickness, loneliness, language barriers etc. I have to admit that I have been incredibly lucky on my YA to have been blessed with such amazing friends (British, Internationals and Mexicans alike) and I think those who know how much of a #keenbean I am won’t be surprised that I’m really trying my best to make the most of my time here, and I think that’s the key to why my first 2.5 months here (yes only 2.5 months so far!!) have been so much more than I could have ever wished for.
My advice to anyone on they YA is to stay positive about everything. Say yes to everything. Look for the silver lining. You’ve only got one friend? YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND!! In a different country and culture, that’s amazing 😀 You’re not improving your language as much as hoped? Well you’ve learnt how to say “go f*ck yo momma” and “Hibiscus”, and you would probably never have learnt those at uni. Sorry, this has kind of turned into an end of term reflection, whoops! (I’m not deleting it in the hope that most of you will have stopped reading by now 😅) I’ve now started my Xmas holidays so the first chunk of the YA is officially DONE!
I hope this has given a more realistic view of my year abroad, and hopefully it’s useful for any potential future LAs. If you’re thinking of going to Mexico on your YA, specifically Mexico City, don’t be scared. Feel free to contact me with any questions! I love this city and my life here, and I can’t imagine having a better year abroad anywhere else! 😍
Besos mexicanos xoxox