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Proyecta 100,000 Bridges Mexican and American Cultures

On October 23, the Intensive English Program (IEP) at NC State welcomed 15 Mexican students participating in the Proyecta 100,000 initiative funded by the Mexican government.

Proyecta students take a tour of NC State’s campus.

These students have been studying in the IEP for the past four weeks to strengthen their academic English skills and participate in a wide-range of activities introducing them to NC State and life in North Carolina. On November 2, they were invited to visit the Mexican consulate in Raleigh to speak with Ms. Remedios Gómez Arnau, the Consul General and Ms. Mónica Colín, the Consul for Community, Political, Economic, and Cultural Affairs.

This cohort of Proyecta students hail from three Mexican universities: Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa, Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, and Universidad de Colima. The students are currently studying disciplines such as interior design, business, psychology, and pharmacology.

Proyecta 100,000 has the goal of sending 100,000 Mexican students to the United States for language and other short-term study by 2018.  Recipients of this Mexican scholarship are placed at institutions of higher education across the entire United States. This initiative complements former President Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative to promoted higher education exchange between the two countries.

This is the second Proyecta cohort hosted by the IEP. The first cohort arrived in summer 2016.

Students enjoy a Thanksgiving meal.

Proyecta Perspectives:

Carlos Robles
Computer science major, Universidad de Colima

Why did you decide to participate in the Proyecta program?

There was a chance to study abroad, and I wanted to become familiar with the education system in the United States. Secondly, I wanted to improve my English, because in the future, I want to complete my master’s degree here in the U.S. in computer science. I find it interesting to learn about education systems outside of Mexico, because they are so different, specifically in research and academics. Hunt Library is a good library for research.

What have you learned while you were here?

I had to learn how to manage my time. It’s very different from Mexico. Here, the time is very limited. You go to many classes in a short amount of time, so you have to be very careful with your time. I think America has a different meaning of time than Mexico, so I had to adapt. I already speak English, but it is exciting to get to know more about America’s culture; I went to a hockey game, a soccer game, and an American football game.

How do you think this experience will help you in your academic or professional career?

I am now more familiar with with America’s university grading system, the university culture and their form of living on campus. In Mexico, I don’t live on campus. I live at home with my parents, so it’s a very different experience. Also, the teachers here have helped me to develop more skills, like research and note-taking skills, that I can use back home.

Abraham Romero
International business major, Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas

What have you learned while you were here?

[Outside of] academics, classrooms, and different customs and traditions, I’ve learned how we are all humans in the same world. I’ve also learned how to write, how to spell, how to listen, and how improve my English. I know that this kind of program will improve my curriculum at my home university as well.

What has been your favorite part of this experience?

Students explore a corn maze before Halloween.

I can’t tell what is my favorite thing from this program. Maybe this will sound ridiculous, but even the leaves on the ground from the trees are beautiful. From my experience here at the university, to being downtown, talking to many types of people, not just U.S. citizens, has all been nice. I’ve met people from China and Saudi Arabia; it’s been wonderful.  

How do you think this experience will help you in your academic or professional career?

It will help so much because I know things that I didn’t know before. Now I know how to be a researcher in English. I know how to research a little in Spanish, but it’s so different in English. It will also help me to communicate to other people all around the world with different customs and traditions, because I am here learning English and people all around the world know English. I am learning how to treat people and how to express to people. English is just the bridge. When you cross the bridge, there are other parts of a country’s culture that you have to know.

Alma Judith Acosta Garcia
International trade major, Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa

Why did you decide to participate in the Proyecta program?

I am very interested in international environments. I chose the [international trade] major because you can get in touch with different countries and cultures. I’ve heard that the United States has a good education system, so I thought it would be a good opportunity. I’ve never been to the United States before, but I’ve lived in other countries before. I’ve studied in Germany. When I arrived in Raleigh, the buildings, the weather and the trees were similar to Germany.

What have you learned while you were here?

Academically, I’ve learned how to write essays in a much more correct and professional way. I used to think I was good. Now, I see into a whole new window of a way to write. Personally, I’ve learned that life goes too fast, but I’m impressed by it. I’m impressed by this university.

How do you think this experience will help you in your academic or professional career?

I think I’m more open, because even when I visit other countries, like here, I get the chance to see how other students are. I am more confident, I am more open, I express more easily, I write, I speak better, and I can understand the difference between speaking informally and formally. The diversity impressed me. There are a lot of people here from all over the world. I don’t see that in Mexico or Germany. It’s like every part of the world is here; you usually only see that in airports.