No. 10: October in Querétaro (weeks 7-10)

October 23, 2008. Querétaro.

Street sceneBecause the last three updates focused on our travels, I thought it good to share what we’ve been doing here in Querétaro, our new home. The first three weeks of October have been full indeed, with a number of enriching activities.

Classes at the university continue to go extremely well. As we near the end of week 10, students have all taken exams, written multiple essays, and given oral presentations to their peers and professors.

Art class, sculpturesIn Art class, students had their first experience working with a live model. This time, however, rather than sketching or painting the nude, we worked with clay. Though seemingly impossible at first, the students’ sculptures turned out magnificently. They also began work on their “visual portfolios,” a wood box to house their art projects. First, they constructed the box itself—cutting, sanding, and gluing. Next, they prepared and attached a canvas to the cover, on which they will Museo eventually paint a self-portrait.

In Dance, students began work on the cumbia and salsa, while continuing to practice and refine the indigenous conchero dance and the folkloric jarabe tapatío, which they will present shortly to all the señoras and their friends. In History, we continue our study of the colonial era and Mexican Independence, and we had a fieldtrip to Querétaro’s Museo de la Restauración. In the Engaging Cultures seminar, students explored issues of social class and gender through readings, observations, and interviews.

Ardon familyOutside of class, students continue to enjoy the city, their families, and their new friends. A highlight of the month was a delightful meal at the Ardón’s, the parents of Westmont Scholar-in-Residence Araceli Ardón. Professor Ardón’s daughter, Ana Paula, has become an “adopted” member of our group, and we very much enjoyed our time at their home. Indeed, the Ardón’s generosity and hospitality have made us all feel “at Juaneshome” here in Querétaro.

About half the group also saw Colombian rock star Juanes during his “La Vida World Tour,” named by Billboard as one of the five most essential tours for 2008. Though it was chilly in the stadium, the music and dancing kept us warm.

To see what we’ve been up to, view the slideshow below (set to the music of Juanes):