Getting ready for Mexico

I felt really grateful when I received the email confirming I was selected for the 2014 Peacebuilders’ Fellowship. I am taking the last exams of my LLB in Public Law at the moment, as well as working as a coordinator at Amnesty International in Vitoria-Gasteiz local section. So I must organize myself well in order to have time for everything.

Time has passed quite quickly these last weeks, I successfully passed all my exams (still one left) and performed two campaigns about the freedom of expression in Spain and some cases of tortures in South America and Morocco with Amnesty International. Meanwhile, I have been doing some research about living in Mexico. I am lucky that some good friends of mine had been working in Mexico City in the past, so I gave them a call and we met to have lunch together and exchange views about the trip: how to find affordable accommodation, good restaurants, safe ways of transport…

I travelled to Beijing two years ago to study Human Rights Law at the CUPL and there were a lot of visa requirements. However, travelling to Mexico is easier because there are no visa requirements for EU citizens who stay in Mexico less than 180 days. The only thing I need to do is to show my passport and fill in a form when I arrive to the Mexican airport.

After checking the visa requirements and confirming the duration of the fellowship, I booked my flight tickets online, as always, because it is faster and cheaper. Then, I looked for a good international insurance service.

Another important thing is accommodation, so I got in touch with some people who were renting a room through a Facebook group page and through the Craigslist website. At this point it is very important not to pay any deposit before visiting the room, so what I am going to do is to book a hotel room for my first three days in Mexico City and in that way I will visit the places and choose one.

The three most important things (visa, flight tickets and accommodation) are more or less done and now I can focus myself in finishing the tasks that must be completed for the fellowship requirements. Also, when I have some free time between exams I read news about Mexico and keep updated about water issues in the region.

When I travel abroad I always take a Lonely Planet guide with me. It helped me a lot when I was in China, so I bought the one about Mexico. Another thing to bring with me is medicines. My mates in China and I got really sick because the water and almost everything was so polluted. Bringing medicines for your stomach, hydration, fibe or mosquito repellent could always be useful.

I have such great expectations about this fellowship and am truly happy because I will be working together with Jessica Sanchez and we will meet Dr. Iyer by the end of the fellowship. I am sure we will have a lot to talk about and I am willing to meet both of them. Getting on well with your workmates is very important to me because that will help us achieving good results and doing an effective work. I am lucky that Jessica is such a friendly and lovely person and I am sure we are going to have a good time in Mexico. She is already there and she is helping me in clarifying all my doubts about the trip. She also works in the human rights field, so we have a lot in common. Although we will be separated by a lot of distance, I hope we get in touch with the other fellows and we share our experiences.

I will spend my last day in Spain celebrating I have finished my LLB. I will have lunch with my family and dinner with my friends. The journey to Mexico seems to be pretty long, so I will take something to read and some music with me.

I would like to get to know better the Mexican culture and join their traditions. It might sound strange but I have made one promise to my mum and my granny: to visit the Virgin of Guadalupe and ask her to keep my family healthy. My family is catholic but I am not as religious as them. I believe every religion in the world is good as long as human rights are respected and what I like is to learn the significant values and principles of each one, which can lead me to understand different societies. But returning to the Virgin of Guadalupe, I am doing that because last year Doctors found a tumor inside my mother’s brain and my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately, everything went perfectly and they are healthy and completely recovered now. It has been a difficult time for me and my family, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and now I feel stronger towards live. I think I owe them that visit to the Virgin of Guadalupe and I will be happy to share that moment with all of you.

You can also find me on Twitter (@7Ainhoamartinez) or Facebook ( See you in the next blog entry.


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