Every year I like to plan a site visit to a new location. It’s important as an advisor to evaluate programs in-person and to flex those travel muscles! Site visits offer unparalleled insight into potential gap year opportunities. Plus, let’s be honest, it’s a lot of fun too!

I chose to visit Oaxaca because it is a beautiful, safe city that I had received good feedback about from some of my gap year students. It is also not too far from home, which as a crucial factor since my husband Tom and I had a special guest on this trip – our nine-month-old daughter, Nora. Mexico was her first passport stamp and she proved to be a champion traveler.

When not enjoying the seemingly endless array of cultural opportunities (museums, cooking classes, day trips to ruins) I was able to meet with representatives from several partner organizations. I sat in on language classes, ate lunch with host families and witnessed mission-driven non-profits in action. Not only can I vouch for Oaxaca as a delightful family-friendly destination, it’s also perfect for a gap year student keen on the arts and Spanish language.

Here are a few pictures from my visit:

Oaxaca street scene
Nora befriends a friendly Oaxacan boy
Carlos, founder of the HUB Oaxaca, discusses NGOs in the region

Oaxaca boasts a vibrant arts and food scene 
An example of student accommodation 
Art class for a group of Spanish language learners

Jack with his doting host mom
Known for its beautiful textiles, Oaxaca abounds with talented weavers

One of the talented local weavers!