Monday, June 14, 2010


First day in Guadalajara. The picture below shows all of my group in front of the place where they will be diligently learning Spanish and all sorts of other good subjects through the CEPE of the University of Guadalajara. As usual, today was a busy and exhausting first day. We started off the day at 9:00am, though I decided to walk to the CEPE, and so I was out the door by 8:00am (it takes me about 40 minutes to walk briskly from my place to the CEPE). We began with a brief orientation during which the wonderful staff of the CEPE went over all the essentials with the students, then the students were subjected to their oral language examination and course placement meetings with the CEPE professors, then we ventured out as a group to get acquainted with the area of Guadalajara around the CEPE. I'm glad I ventured forth with the students because there were some important changes to the way Mexico does certain things that I'm glad I discovered on the first day. I learned (and so did the students), that Mexican banks are no longer permitted to exchange dollars for pesos. There are now specific money changing businesses (called Casas de Cambio) where currency exchanges have to take place. And while there are plenty of bank branches around, there are much fewer Casas de Cambio around. So, we found the closest Casa de Cambio and did a little money changing. Good information to have. We next learned that setting up a cell phone in Mexico requires not only buying a new chip to insert in the phone, but also going through a new process of mandatory cell phone registration with the Mexican government. Another important thing to know. After our little stroll, we made it back to the CEPE where we were treated to a welcoming lunch of delicious tacos, agua de jamaica (or horchata), and some live mariachi music. By the time that was over, and I had visited with all my Mexican friends and colleagues from the CEPE, I headed back to my own little room at the Casa Internacional and did some program related work there until now. For the rest of the evening, I'll be relaxing and reading. So ends the first of many days in Guadalajara. The picture below is the Tulane student group on the program, standing in front of the CEPE, right after our morning orientation and right before we went on our excursion.

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