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Teaching English in Queretaro, Mexico


Friday - 28 Dec 2001
Minneapolis , MN - U. S. A.

I'm still at home as I write this first chapter. I want to tell you why I decided to do this, and how I got it going.

I set up this journal mainly as a way to keep friends at home up on what I'm doing. Because of that, I haven't said much in the way of introducing myself. There's a little on that subject on my biography page. I'm posting this picture of me though. It represents where I'm coming from and what I'll be leaving behind, if only temporarily, by going to Mexico. It was taken at a party at Matt and Sharon's house in St. Paul (thanks Jarrin). I'm going to miss hanging out with my friends here at home at parties like that. Whether or not I enjoy the time in Mexico will depend almost entirely, I think, on how well I do at making friends there.

I have traveled a lot in my life, and this will not be nearly as far away from home as some other places I have been. My first trip out of the country, not counting the family road trip long ago which took us through Canada briefly, was to the Dominican Republic. I was in high school at the time. I had lots of fun, mainly because I was traveling with a big group of friends. So this will be my second exposure to Latin culture, but this time I will be more immersed, and I will understand at least some of the language. I know that Mexico is a poor country, but I haven't really thought about it that much, because I know it can't be as bad as the Dominican Republic.

Senegal, Africa, is the next trip I took out of the country. I was a sophomore in college at that time. That was amazing and I won't go into it anymore in here. If this trip works out anywhere near as well as that did, I will have a great time. I was there for three months- the same amount of time I will be in Mexico. Three months really isn't much when you're at home, but it goes by much more slowly when traveling. Spending time away can change your perspective and help you start a new period in your life. In one respect I'm hoping that happens. But I don't want to lose touch with the friends I've made over the past year or two, and that is the main reason I'm doing this journal.

I spent three months in Besancon, France, when I was a senior in college. I really didn't enjoy that very much. I didn't know anyone I went there with, and I didn't make friends very well. I'm going to have to be careful not to have a similar experience with this trip.

Compared to other places I've been, then, Mexico is pretty close really, both culturally and geographically. When I get nervous, I think about the fact that I could, hypothetically, take a greyhound bus all the way home from Queretaro. That makes it seem pretty easy.

I decided I wanted to do this because I just wasn't finding a fulfilling job here in town, and I figured it was time to get going on my ESL certification. I'm applying to start school at the University of Minnesota this summer (which is one of the reasons I am only staying a short time in Mexico.) But before spending all of that money on school, I thought I had better try the job first. I was starting to get restless anyway having lived in one town consistently for over 2 years. I decided Mexico would be a good place, because any ESL teacher in America will end up working with lots of Mexicans, and it would help to be familiar with the culture and, of course, the language. All of these Mexicans come to the USA, why shouldn't I go check out where they're from? Its right there next to us! There are other reasons I'm going, too: the weather is warmer, I love Mexican food, and senioritas are hot.

A quick note on the senioritas- I'm not planning on doing any more than looking. There are lots of reasons for this. I'm shy and passive with women even by Minnesota standards, so put me next to a pack of macho Latinos and I'll be practically invisible. Furthermore, my impression is that women tend to marry quite young in Mexico, so the concept of casual dating probably isn't common. And when people go out, the whole family gets involved. Now that I really think about it, the fact that the senioritas are so hot is a bad thing, and I hereby remove it from my list of reasons why I want to go.

So anyway, once I had decided to do this, I searched around for a way to get set up. I eventually found this website:

That's who I am going through, and so far I have been very impressed. I have been in Email contact with the local representative, Luis, who is a really cool guy- I look forward to meeting him face to face. He is the guy who is setting me up with a job and a place to stay. I still don't know where or with whom I'll be living, but the place I'll be working is called Professional Language Institute. Their website is here:

Luis offered to pick me up at the airport in Mexico City when I arrive, put me up at his Mom's house there for the night, and drive me to Queretaro (2 hours away) the next day. I'm very happy that I won't have to take the bus, and that I'll have someone with me the first day to show me around.

By the way, I got a great price on a flight to Mexico City through the STA Travel Agency. They specialize in student travel. I'm not a student anymore, but they got me a good fare anyway based on the fact that I'm going to be working as a teacher. If you are traveling and you are eligible for either an ISIC or an ITIC card (International Student/Teacher Identity Card) check them out.

I was hoping to prepare a lesson plan and such before going. Departure is two weeks away as I write this, and I have yet to do that. Like speaking Spanish, I'm hoping to figure most of that out when I get there. (I have been making a token effort to learn Spanish, in my defense. I have language tapes in my car and flash cards in my cube at work, both of which I whip out every so often.) Its just that I've had lots of other things to take care of. I've had to figure out where to store my stuff (including my car), I've had to deal with insurance, I'm applying to school, and I have to be moved out of my apartment in a few days. Also, I have been recording a CD of orignal music which I promised myself I would finish before I leave. (I did!) Oh- and I had to get a shot. Hepatitis A never helped anyone to enjoy a trip to another country.

I don't know if I will be able to post photos from Mexico. I received a digital camera for Christmas (thanks Mom and Dad!) but I will have to see what kind of computer access I have down there. Most likely it will be at internet Cafes, who may or may not let me install the software neccessary to upload photos from my camera. (And they most definitely will have difficulty understanding me as I try to ask them about it in broken Spanish!)

Tyan and I enjoying margaritas at my party

Goodbye party

I had a big goodbye party before leaving. Lots of people came, so I guess that means I have a lot of friends. Thanks guys! It had a Latin theme, so we drank Margaritas and Corona, and played Samba de Amigo. I had a great time, and Im looking forward to having another party when I come home.

More friends who came to the party

Samba de Amigo

Starting out
  Joseph M. - Bio and Journals
  Teaching English in Queretaro, Mexico - Intro Average Rating of 128 Viewers
Chapters of Teaching English in Queretaro, Mexico
  Starting out
  More pictures, etc.
  A typical day
  An interesting weekend
  Museum Photos
  Another weekend
  The Awful Truth
  San Miguel de Allende
  Adios Joseph
  The best part

Happy Trails to You

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