Faculty traveled to Mexico over break


Faculty members pose together during one of their tours. Printed with permission of Gustavo Godoy.

Sofia Heller

Seventeen faculty members immersed themselves in Mexican history and culture in Mexico City, traveling to museums, staying at a hacienda and exploring the streets of the city June 13-19.

The trip was sponsored by the Gunter Gross Global Fund and supported by Harvard-Westlake families for the Faculty Summer Fellowship, which allows faculty members to broaden their global perspective.

Middle school Spanish teacher Anamaria Ayala and upper school history teacher Ken Neisser were the faculty leads.

“There is nothing like experiencing another culture with colleagues who are eager to learn and who, during the trip, become a lot more than your trip buddies,” Ayala said.

Assistant to the Head of the Upper School Michelle Bracken said her favorite part of the trip was being able to spend time with her colleagues in a different environment and experience another culture as a group.

“One of the great things out of it was that there were several middle school teachers I didn’t know, and there were certainly people on the trip who I hadn’t really talked to that much,” Bracken said.

Faculty have the opportunity to apply to go on the fellowship trips, and then a committee chooses from the applicants, Bracken said. The highest priority goes to faculty who have not gone on a fellowship trip in the past, she said.

Last year’s Faculty Summer Fellowship allowed faculty to take a trip to Israel, and the year before to Korea, where they stayed with host families.

The faculty spent time at an anthropology museum and also rode horses at the hacienda they stayed at outside of Mexico City.

Jeremy Michaelson, an upper school English teacher who went on the trip, said he has always been interested in Mexico City lived up to his high expectations.

“Mexico City seems to be enjoying a renaissance as a young, dynamic, creative place,” Michaelson said in an email. “Mexico City lived up to the billing. The museums, the street life, the art everywhere you look–I would go back in a heartbeat.”