Awaiting the start of the vote count in the Tepoztlan, Mexico. SFU International studies student Joey Mitchell was one of the international electoral observers invited to Mexico.

International Studies, Undergraduate

Field School Notes: International Studies

November 01, 2018

From SFU News...

This past summer, dozens of SFU students have chosen the world as their classroom as they study abroad at one of seven SFU field schools, ranging from archaeology in Portugal to humanities in Prague.

Joey Mitchell, an international studies student had the opportunity to travel to Mexico to observe the recent election.

This last summer, in mid-May, I was checking my email before going on a bike ride around Stanley Park, and read a short email inviting me to apply to participate as an international observer in the upcoming Mexican elections.

I had work and other commitments, and couldn’t just go to Mexico on a whim. Then, another part of me began to think, ‘you are engaged in politics, a good student, and this is an opportunity you will not get again. Why not apply?’

Just over a month later, I was standing on a rooftop in Tepoztlán, a town just south of Mexico City, listening to the sounds of the birds in the forest and admiring the cliffs above me.

Tepoztlan from the top of Tepozteco pyramid, an Aztec monument in the hills above the town

On June 25th, I travelled to Mexico City to train act as an observer for the elections. Training included an afternoon of lectures on how to observe as well as what irregularities to watch out for during the voting process, like unsealed ballot boxes and people distributing money near voting stations.

On election day, July 1st, I saw an extremely passionate, engaged community of people mobilize to change their country’s political trajectory. The outpour of passion and emotion I saw as the election results came in is something I will never forget.