Parker Carruthers ‘18 Quest Feature

Parker travelled to Oaxaca City in Mexico for Language Block this spring, documenting the trip with his stunning photography. He speaks with us about an average day, his most useful Spanish phrase and what he missed most about Squamish. [Photo above by Graham King ]

What is your Question?

What is popular culture, and how is it created?

Where did you travel for Language Block?

I went to Oaxaca City, Mexico. I was down there for roughly four weeks with four friends from Quest.

Tell me about your experience. What was the day-to-day like?

An average day started with an 8 am wake up and breakfast with our host family. Then we’d walk to our school and have class until around noon. Once our classes were finished, we would head home to do our homework before lunch. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day there, so it was generally a couple of courses, with beans and tortillas being staples. Afterwards, we would often take a nap, or work on our Keystones. Then we would go explore the city for a couple hours before having a late dinner with the family and going to bed.

In what ways did immersing yourself in a different culture contribute to learning the language?

I think it was the biggest factor in my learning the language. While the classroom sessions were beneficial, it was the time spent around the table with the family when I really got the opportunity to practice my Spanish. As well, chance encounters with locals were a great way to work on my conversational Spanish.

Any culture shock? What difficulties did you face?

No culture shock, no. Heatstroke, maybe. My only complaint about my time in Oaxaca was that the coffee is not as good.

What was the most useful phrase you learned?

“Vamos a …” which is to say, “we’re going to x place.” It was useful because I could communicate where I wanted to go, and let others know where we would be.

Would you recommend this experience to other Quest students?

I would absolutely recommend Oaxaca to other students. It is a beautiful city with awesome people. The host families are great, and the activities that SOL (University Study Abroad & Spanish Immersion Program) offers are all remarkable opportunities to take in more of the culture.

Good to be back? What’s one thing you missed about Quest?

Very glad to be back. I missed the Squamish rain. I’ve come to love the foggy mornings here. It’s not something that happens very often in that part of Mexico.