Chagua Camacho (BIS ’15)

Has Lived in:
Mexico City

Coursework in the sciences; as a consulting teaching movement to kids

Professional Goal:
Advanced degree in neuropsychology or kinesthesiology.

Favorite Lecture: Eduardo Duran's "Healing the Soul Wound: Indigenous People and the Colonial Template"

Little-Known Fact About You: I'm a very melancholy and nostalgic person.

I'm a capoeira, who believes strongly in the universal rights of children.

I want to teach adults to understand themselves so that they can better understand kids.

I have taught movement to more than 100 Latino, African American, and special needs kids; designed my own program; worked as a consultant; and recognizing the an urgent need for physical development programs in the Bay Area's diverse communities, co-founded Project Commotion, a nonprofit community space where children, families and educators can learn together through movement, sensory experiences, and play.

My Path to CIIS:  People always challenged me because I had no letters after my name. It was if my experience and knowledge didn't matter. I realized that I needed the letters and a title.

I was working three jobs, taking classes in San Francisco, earning my AA in child development, and fighting Prop 227 (its effect almost eliminated "bilingual" classes in public schools).

The BAC Difference:  I studied to be an economist in Mexico City, just short of graduation. University was very, very traditional. For example, you could never question the professor. CIIS had something different: We were encouraged to speak our minds-to address issues with respect. I never experienced that before in Mexico-or in the U.S.

Also BAC's unique curriculum. Along with the program's academic rigor, there was a kindness, openness, and nurturing of differences.

Transformative Learning: Faculty member Brynn Saito allowed me to make mistakes and overcome my fear of writing. That was priceless.

The learning about my role, and the role of self, in society was fantastic. I can apply so much of what I have learned to the kids I work with.

My Learning Community: They are my extended family. The sharing and exchanging of ideas can be tough emotionally-and a great reality-check. It was amazing how we in the cohort all read the same article, come together with our many perspectives and agree to disagree-with respect. I'm often too intense and direct. I learned from this community in a beautiful way, and changed as a parent and partner

Two other books that had a great impact on me were "Decolonizing Your Diet," by Luz Calvo and Catriona Esquibel, who presented in our class; and Benedict Anderson's book on nationalism "Imagined Communities."

In the end, what it all comes down to is, I just want a smile from the kids.

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