Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day 7 Oaxaca: Seminar and Spanish Class
Yesterday officially marks my seventh day in Oaxaca and I can't believe it. Time flies so fast when you busy. I had my first seminar with my professor and it went better than I expected. I was expecting seminar to very boring because my past experiences with three hour classes were super boring. The class was nice because we started with an activity of defining culture and then discussed different subfields of anthropology. One thing I found interesting in our discussion yesterday was when my professor was discussing the concept of culture.  According to my professor "culture powerfully influences cognition, feeling, and self concept. Cultures shape emotions, there are universal ones but some cultures emphasis some emotions not others. For example, women can’t express anger in Latino culture. My professor also mentioned that there are no anger diagnoses in the United States. Intermittent Explosive disorder is the closest to being considered an anger diagnosis. The reason I found this interesting was because I'm a psychology minor and I've never come across any anger disorders in any of my psychology courses. It makes me wonder why the United States doesn't want to come up with any diagnoses because that can lead to a lot of problems for the person. That person may not be able to get a job because of their impulsive personality and have marital problems in the future. Another thing I found interesting was when my professor was talking to the class about how his approaches culture. My professor said "I believe in culture, I think it exists and is an important, if not always conscious, force in shaping social life. We understand culture through lived experience not only an abstract set of ideas." I agree with my professor because when I think about it culture has shaped my social life greatly. I'm Eritrean American and even though I was born and raised in America my actions do reflect both my American and Eritrean side. For example, if I'm out with my friends for dinner and they are ordering lots of greasy fattening foods I'm usually the one who tries to look for the healthiest option on the menu since I was raised eating alot of traditional Eritrean foods. Eritrean food is composed of grains, vegetables, and lean meats and in my opinion is much better than American food.
Besides seminar, I had my first Spanish class yesterday and I really loved it. I'll admit that's where most of my anxiety came from when I arrived to Oaxaca on the first day. I've studied Italian for four years in high school but never took a Spanish class in my life. When my Spanish teacher started teaching me Spanish I managed to understand 80 percent of what he was saying because a lot of the verbs and phrases are very similar. I can't wait to learn more Spanish and I feel that I'm absorbing it more since I hear it everyday from my host mom and around town.

Day 8 in Oaxaca: CORAL
Today has been super busy. I woke up at 8:30 to have desayuno (breakfast) and head out at 9am to get to CORAL at 10am. I'll admit that I do get nervous on the bus only because I hate when the buses end up side by side or when one bus is about to hit the other from behind. I'm sure the drivers are very experienced but its still scary. Me and my classmate Ashwini managed to get to CORAL early and the staff gave us some work to do and discussed our schedules. First we organized the toys and then we got to sit and observe the group therapy session with the child and their parent. Personally, I loved observing the group therapy session because I got to interact with the child and their parent in Spanish and learned about how CORAL helps these children who can't hear practice hearing with their aids. I was hoping to go to the clinic in CORAL to see how they diagnose the children who have hearing problems but it was the first day and the staff wanted us to observe and become well adjusted to CORAL. I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow!

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