Thursday, September 19, 2019

Counseling students and faculty to sharpen their skills in Mexico

Counseling students and faculty to sharpen their skills in Mexico

COEHD professors Derek Robertson and Heather Trepal with Elias Zambrano during a visit to Oaxaca, Mexico in 2016.

(June 6, 2017) -- A group of faculty and students from The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Education and Human Development’s (COEHD) Department of Counseling will travel to Mexico this month to learn how to become better counseling professionals.

For nearly two weeks, the group, which will include both school counseling and clinical mental health counseling students, will immerse themselves in the languages and culture of Oaxaca, Mexico, in order to learn about the different ways that potential future clients might experience the world.

“Through a partnership with the Ollin Tlahtoalli Center for Mexican Languages and Cultures, the students will study the Spanish language and attend lectures and activities to help them learn more about the different cultures that exist in Oaxaca,” said Derek Robertson, assistant professor in the UTSA Department of Counseling.

These lectures, Robertson said, will teach the students about indigenous food, languages and cultures, current issues facing children in Oaxaca, and education in rural indigenous villages.

“I think we are most excited about the opportunities for our students to interact with and learn from some of the Zapotec people that we will be visiting in the villages surrounding Oaxaca,” said Robertson. “Our host has a project to help Zapotec children learn and retain their language and culture, and we will attend one of their groups.”

The COEHD students will also have the opportunity to visit local cultural and archaeological sites, such as the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca, Santo Domingo Church, Hierve el Agua and Monte Alban.

“We will also meet with a Zapotec indigenous healer,” said Robertson. “This will help our students appreciate the different ways that people conceptualize health, mental health and healing.”

The trip will take place from June 11-23 and is the first study abroad trip the department has offered.

“We are hoping that by providing an opportunity to immerse themselves in a different culture, our students will begin to see their own culture in ways that they may not have before,” said Robertson. “Hopefully they will begin to see that many of their ideas about ‘the way things work’ or ‘the way things ought to be’ are not universal.”

- Jo Ann Jones


Learn more about the UTSA Deartment of Counseling.

Learn more about the UTSA M.Ed. in School Counseling program.

Learn more about the UTSA M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.

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