Jayhawks Around the World – Clara Armendariz (Mexico)

Mexico City
Clara Armendariz has enjoyed her time spent abroad, but her favorite place is home in Mexico City. She has lived there for the past 33 years.

Where are you now? How long have you been there? 
I have lived in Mexico City since 1980.

Where else have you lived?
I`ve lived in Spain in Madrid, for two years (1997-1999).

KU degrees?
Doctoral student in Spanish, 1976-1980

Clara Armendariz
Armendariz began her doctoral studies at KU, and drew on what she learned when she finished her dissertation at a university in Spain.

What’s your job title and the name of your company or organization? 
I am a Profesora-Investigadora de la Sección de Estudios de Posgrado — that is a Research Professor of the Graduate Studies Section of UPIICSA (a professional unit) at el Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) de México.

What do you do?
I teach in two of the master`s programs, and occasionally I also teach at a bachelor´s level. Here at the graduate level I teach a class called “Administración y Cultura” and I also have a seminar where I teach the students to improve their ability to write in Spanish, since they are going to write a master thesis. At the bachelor´s level  I teach a course called “Comunicación Profesional” which is also a course to make the students learn more about grammar and in general to improve their writing and their speaking.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy seeing that my students learn what I teach them,  and when they show me their gratefulness for what I did for them.

What do you enjoy most about where you live?
I enjoy living here because Mexico City has a lot to offer and, besides all the metropolitan atmosphere, I have a job here that I love.

What are the biggest differences between where you live now and living in Lawrence, Kansas? 
The biggest difference between Mexico City and Lawrence, Kansas, is the climate. Here in Mexico City the climate is wonderful. Other differences are: the amount of people, consequently the traffic, the queues, the problem to drive in a city like this. But also, there are good things like the amount of good restaurants, cinemas, museums and a lot of other options for things to do.

How has your education from the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences helped you?
When I  studied at KU, after four years, my assistantship ended and I couldn´t stay to write my dissertation, so I returned to Mexico and started working and I didn´t finish my Ph D. So, after 17 years, my husband and I went to Spain to get our doctorates. I thought I was going to do it all over again, but from the two years of courses we were supposed to take, they revalidated me one year for what I studied at KU. Then, after my husband finished the two years of courses, we came back to Mexico to finish writing our doctoral theses. The year of courses that I took in Madrid had nothing to do with the theme of my doctoral thesis, so I wrote it down with the knowledge I had acquired at KU, when I was a doctoral student. I remembered enough of the theories of some of the most important literary critics, after almost 20  years. Of course I read a lot more, but basically I could use the information I already had. When I presented my doctoral exam in Madrid, they congratulated me for the work I had done and for the way my theses was written, and they gave me “Sobresaliente Cum Laude”.

Armendariz enjoys almost all aspects of living in a metropolis like Mexico City, including the food and cultural opportunities. Her only complaint is the traffic.

Favorite place in the world? 
My favorite place in the world is my home, here at Mexico City.

Favorite KU memory?
I have so many memories of KU that it is hard for me to choose one favorite. But I want to say that my staying at KU changed my life forever, not only for the knowledge my professors gave me, but for the persons  I met — some of them are still very close friends of mine. I remember the classes with Dr. Brushwood, with Dr. Doudoroff, with Dr. Woodyard and with all of the rest of the professors of the Spanish & Portuguese Department. All of them taught me something invaluable. I also remember the parties at Brushwood´s, the parties at Woodyard´s  and the Mexican dinners I organized and cooked, along with my friends Isela and Lucía, when I was the President of the Sigma Delta Pi Chapter of KU.

Photo credits: Eneas / Foter / CC BYAri Helminen / Foter / CC BY