Tal Meirson

Tal Meirson

Puebla, Mexico

Spring 2008

Major: Crime, Law, and Justice

Minor: Spanish and International Studies


Upon my return from my study abroad in Puebla, Mexico during Spring 2008, I realized from conversations with my peers and family members that many Americans have a very distorted view of Mexico and its citizens. Illegal immigration in the United States, a hotly debated topic in households across the country, has brought more media attention to Mexico recently. But with all the negative attention on Mexican immigrants in the news, many Americans have developed a misunderstanding of a rich culture that anyone would be lucky to experience.

In Spring 2008, I became that lucky person who was given the opportunity to study abroad in Mexico. As a Spanish minor, I originally applied for the program against the wishes of my parents who felt the education level in Mexico is not as advanced as the United States. A majority of the study abroad students at Penn State go to Europe and for those who want to study Spanish, Spain is the country of choice. I’ve never been one to follow the crowd; thus after much research I made the personal decision to apply for the program in Mexico. Nevertheless, I had many of the same stereotypes about Mexico and Mexicans that many Americans have today. I hoped that in five short months, I could see through these stereotypes and learn to understand the culture.

To enhance my study abroad experience, I decided to spend some of my time in Mexico completing research for my Honors Thesis requirement for the Schreyer Honors College. As a crime, law, and justice major, my thesis examines drug policies and attitudes in the United States and Mexico. While in Mexico, I completed twenty interviews with students at the University in Puebla, trying to learn more about their opinions towards the Mexican drug laws and drug issues in the United States. Speaking with the students not only challenged me academically to carry out independent research in an unfamiliar country and in a foreign language, but also exposed me to some of the stereotypes Mexican students might have of the drug issues in the United States.

With that being said, this is a couple paragraphs from my personal statement that I wrote for the application of the Fulbright Scholarship back to Mexico to complete a specialty in the Prevention of Family Violence at the same University I recently studied at. Obviously my experience was so amazing that I would like to devote another year of my life in Mexico once more. If you would like to share my experiences with me, visit my blog


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