Work Hard and Embrace the Struggles at Poturo Michoacán México

Working at CECYTEM-EMSAD has been an honor because I have grown and matured as a student and woman. I am very thankful for this great opportunity to work at this organization and have an amazing group of individuals working and supporting me. Although I have sacrificed many things while here, it has been worth it; seeing the smiles from my students and being thanked by the mothers of children with special needs for helping their children progress is the best gift I could ever ask for. Being around the Purépecha Mexican community has made me appreciate my culture and heritage that I come from. I love working at CECYTEM-EMSAD and hope to one day in my near future return and continue the work and change I have initiated at this organization and community.

“Clinic Rooms at CECYTEM-EMSAD”

I believe that I am on the right track on accomplishing my defined learning goals that I established before arriving at my internship. My academic goal is to use my Health: Science, Society and Policy major knowledge in order to help progress the health and education of this community. I also intend to improve my presentation skills through teaching English to children as well as educating teens about sexual and reproductive health. This includes holding workshops on various health topics at the clinic and nearby towns. I am really proud of the progress I have made toward this goal because I feel very confident speaking in front of large groups of children as well as adults all by myself. At first it was a bit difficult, but now I am used to the type of work and no longer feel scared, embarrassed or nervous.  This is the skill for which I am most proud and grateful.

 “Workshop on the Theme of Pregnancy”

My career goal is to establish an Occupational Therapeutic Learning Center for special needs children as well as a clinic for teens in order to help progress the medical and educational knowledge of this community. I think that I am on a good path in achieving this goal because through the weekly committee meetings with the faculty each week, I am learning how to better operate an organization, giving me the fundamental skills in understanding how to manage a business. Being around staff members that are so welcoming and understanding helps me to comprehend that in order to capture an intern’s attention, supervisors and staff must engage and challenge the interns in order to demonstrate if in fact they are ready to take on the responsibility of managing a whole team or event on their own. As I have learned through this experience, I must work hard and embrace struggle.

 “Patient Beds at CECYTEM-EMSAD’s Community Clinic”

My personal goal is to build a stronger connection with this community as well as build my skills of working with special needs children by operating different cases and offering them services such as speech, occupational therapy and behavioral therapy in order to help better the lives of the children and these families. I am working on three cases that have children with special needs. The parents love the way that I motivate their children and they tell me that they see drastic progress in the way that their children behave and act. By holding the weekly workshops of various medical themes, such as family nutrition, disabilities, psychology/stress, pregnancy, methods of protection from sexual reproduction, I am able to build a stronger connection with the population and help them adopt better health styles.

“Teaching English to Elementary Students at CECYTEM-EMSAD”

“Teaching English to Middle School Students at CECYTEM-EMSAD”

The thing that I am most proud of is teaching English to the students at the local school. Within these four weeks my students are already writing and reading English.  As I walk around the village I hear them singing the ABC’s and counting. This shows me that my students are learning and I am making the classes fun. I hope that they continue to have an enjoyable time in my classes and that at the end of my internship they will be able to have basic conversations in English. This would show me that I am creating change in the lives of these students.

“Having Class Outside with my Awesome Students”

I am very grateful that I was selected as a recipient for the WOW Social Justice because this is an unforgettable experience. It is awesome to go to another country and see the difference in culture and lifestyles because one appreciates the little things in life that one once considered insignificant. As a result of this internship, I am building many academic and life skills that will help me become a better student and woman in life. I am improving my participation, confidence, and most importantly I am no longer nervous or scared to speak in front of an audience or ask questions. I would not been able to improve on all of these weaknesses if it were not for this internship. This work has giving me the opportunity to become a better person and has supported me in my path to help me in my academics, future career plans, and other campus involvements. I am no longer a follower, but a leader that is ready to take upon any challenge.

Experience the Unimaginable at CECYTEM-EMSAD Poturo Michoacán México

Working at CECYTEM-EMSAD has been one of the most gratifying experiences in my entire life. At the organization, I completed many tasks that required great patience, responsibility, determination and hard work. I taught English to Elementary, Middle and High school students. I would also teach teens about sexual and reproductive health at the school. Half of the time I would teach English and the other half I would utilize it to educate teens about sexual health. At the end of my internship, I organized a graduation for all of my students and provided food, drinks and banners for their completion of my English courses. We sang songs, recited poems, did plays and had a wonderful time. Parents told me that they wished that I would never leave the organization. I loved hearing this because it made me feel that I completed my job and created a difference in the lives of so many individuals.

“Preparing Cotton Balls for Next Patients’ Vaccination”

At the clinic I would take patient vitals and help distribute medication. I was also in charge of organizing all medication and make sure that all the medicine was not expired. I also held weekly workshops on various health topics at the clinic and neighboring rural towns. I worked on three family cases involving special needs children. I provided them with OT, Speech, PE, and ABA/Behavioral therapy in order to help their children progress. The doctor was very patient with me. I learned how to take shots, measure a mother’s stomach and hear a baby’s heartbeat. I also learned how to do a small incision in a woman’s’ arm to implant an “implanon,” a type of contraceptive.

I am very proud of the work I put into this organization. As a result of my interaction with the population, the staff of CECYTEM-EMSAD has a better understanding of how to work with, talk to and better connect with this Mexican-Purépecha community. My academic, career and personal goals were achieved. I was even able to connect and understand my culture and heritage better, creating a stronger bond with my family and their cultural ties.

This internship opened my eyes to many career opportunities and helped me grow as a student and woman. Working at CECYTEM-EMSAD made me into a leader and inspired me to take on great responsibility. I had to keep myself very organized and manage my time wisely. This whole community depended on me to help them improve their health and education. I never thought that working with a community in such a rural society would be so difficult, but the experience was so gratifying and beautiful to watch.

Now that my time at my internship has come to an end, I am very interested in continuing to take HSSP and Business courses that deal with underprivileged communities and the struggles these societies face. I came to understand many of this town’s philosophies, missions, economy, education and health care. Through personal interactions, I have insight into the people who make up this community, more than I could ever achieve from reading about their lives in a textbook. By completing this successful internship, I want to one day return to work with my host organization again. I also want to work for the government or another company in Mexico to better understand the politics and economy of this country. This would help me in my career because if I apply for a job in the United States, I will be a more experienced individual for having the ability of understand the standards of life, health, medicine, economy of a different country.

“Taking a Horse to CEYCTEM-EMSAD”

One piece of advice that I would give a student who wants to work at my host organization is not to be afraid to take risks and ask questions. Speak up and stand up for what you believe in. If some one does decide to work at CECYTEM-EMSAD, they must be fluent in Spanish as none of the personnel speak English.

Someone who is interested in education, psychology, medicine, business, special education, or becoming a therapist should look into this internship. This internship is the best place for anyone who wants to explore more career paths. All the personnel are extraordinary, and my supervisor is the most considerate and best individual I have met.

“Graduated Students”

Yes, my ideals, philosophies and concepts of social justice have been challenged while working in Poturo, Michoacán México. I used to think that one person could not make a difference in an underprivileged community, but I was completely wrong. To my surprise, I learned that one person could not only make a difference, but also change a society as a whole. Being in charge of so many tasks at the organization made me become a more effective problem solver and citizen because I coordinated many tasks at a time, managed various teams and most importantly I worked with over 200 community members. I learned to appreciate the little things in life that I have because they can be the most valuable items in life.


The Chaotic Life of an Intern at CECYTEM-EMSAD in Poturo Michoacán, México

CECYTEM-EMSAD is an organization located in the rural town of Poturo Michoacán, México. The weather is incredibly insane because one day we have temperatures of over 108 degrees Fahrenheit with 80% humidity, while other days there is non-stop rain with severe thunder and lightning. It is very incredible to see the differences in culture and customs that this Mexican community practices and for me to learn about their intercultural roots. Although, I walk a distance of about an hour and fifteen minutes every day to get to my internship site despite rain or shine, this experience provides me with further insight into the struggles and challenges these families face while living in impoverished conditions. They have very limited access to health care and education, and the nearest hospital is located about six hours on bus from the town.
This is the Logo of the Government Funding CECYTEM-EMSAD

CECYTEM-EMSAD is affiliated with the Secretaría de Educación Gobierno del Estado of Michoacán Mexico, meaning that this agency’s funding is provided directly from the government. They obtain a limited budget, but despite this challenge the organization tries to deliver the best quality health care and education that they can. The mission of this organization is to educate and provide health care assistance to people in need. The town’s population is 500 people, and all of them live in impoverished conditions.  I spend a lot of time exploring the village and visiting families at their homes, which allows me to see the real living conditions of these families and assists me in adjusting the services and programs I am providing to this population to fit their lifestyles.

Most of the work that this organization does is provide very basic health care to children, teens, and adults. They also provide schooling for children and teens. However, this town is not technologically advanced and the organization itself does not have any new type of innovate medical or educational instruments that can provide better health and educational outcome for this population. At CECYTEM-EMSAD I form part of the organization’s committee and they consider me as the “right-hand” for this organization. They believe that as a foreigner I have been exposed to more experiences and have a well-rounded background both from my previous volunteer experiences and education that I can help alter this organization and help them obtain better health and educational outcomes.

I am the first intern for this organization, and I have various internship responsibilities at this site. First and foremost, the main goal of this internship, as discussed with my supervisor, is to develop activities and deliver services that strengthen the health and educational outcomes of this community. This will ultimately help solve health and educational disparities and strengthen the intercultural ties in Poturo. That said, I am working directly with the community doctor as his nurse assistant and take patient vitals as well as provide information sessions about psychological, nutrition and special needs for the healthy development of the children that attend the clinic. A large portion of the population that I am working with includes mothers with special needs children. Currently, I have three cases in progress. I am working individually with these mothers, providing support by by helping them understand better their child’s developmental disabilities. I also provide therapy to the children such as Speech, Occupational, Gym, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and other therapies.

I am also interning at the school and working directly with 126 teens. I am teaching them English and also speaking to them about sexual and preventative health care. I use very interactive activities and games to help these students learn and comprehend all the material I am presenting them with. Because school is almost over, my supervisor and I spoke and I will be delivering these services in small groups and individually, which is going to be closely supervised by my supervisor.

Entering the Town of Poturo and its Rural Location
Entering the Town of Poturo and its Rural Location

I found out about this internship through the help of my cousin. Last summer I had been searching about internships abroad and thought that Mexico would be the greatest place to intern because there is a lot of disparities when it comes to medical assistance and education. I got in contact with my supervisor in October and from there on we stayed in contact until now. He was a great support system and seems to trust me in all the cases and services I am delivering from the help of his organization to the people.

My first week was very chaotic and unforgettable. When I first saw the village and the clinic and school I was going to working at I could not believe it. There was sand and dirt everywhere and the suns rays beating down on my bare skin. Cows, horses, chickens, and other animals freely walking around, I was completely astonished. I saw the living conditions of these people and could not believe how they could survive in these conditions. I arrived late Monday night and on Tuesday June 17, 2014, my supervisor took me to the school introduced me to the staff and my work began.
The Town of Poturo Michoacán

I have made many new connections with the staff and students at the town. I can see that they see me as a new support system. I have also gained a lot of trust in the mothers that come to the clinic and I hope to work with many others. This is a very patriarchal society, and some of my views are questioned. However, I make sure that they understand that I did not come to change their customs, but rather open the door to new information and opportunities.

The biggest expectation that I hope to gain from this internship is altering the health and educational lives of many individuals. I want let them know about their rights, resources and integrate a new ideas into their system. I want to build a strong medical and social model in this community and let them know that although they can continue to visit their village “curandera,” they now have better access to health and information due to the implementation of my various services and programs, I began with collaboration with CECYTEM-EMSAD.