Students Prepare for CLEA in Mexico

Twenty-one NMU students will have a fully immersive experience in Spanish conversation and Mexican culture when they spend a month in Chihuahua this semester through a partnership with URN, Mexico's “Regional University of the North.”


The students are earning 16 Spanish credits this semester – 12 on campus and four in Chihuahua.


"What better place to take the Spanish conversation course than in the heart of Mexico, where you’re surrounded by people who speak it fluently and regularly?" said Tim Compton (Modern Languages and Literatures), who will accompany the group for the first week. "My alma mater offered something like this, but it was only a week-long program. This is modeled after that, but we expanded it. We had to plan ahead in order to facilitate students leaving campus for an extended period during the academic year.”


Amy Orf (Modern Languages and Literatures) is directing the program in Chihuahua. The NMU delegation will stay in a hotel owned by the Mexican university. Compton said the rector of the school worked out an arrangement with a liaison to the country’s indigenous groups. The Tarahumara Indians, who inhabit the Copper Canyon of northern Mexico, will gather with the students to share food and give a performance.

The NMU group plans to establish ties to elementary schools in the area, making presentations about the United States and possibly having one-on-one meetings with students. They will also take in scenic highlights including Copper Canyon and some majestic waterfalls and tour various cultural and historical museums.


“We will be in Mexico during Holy Week and will have a chance to see the festivals,” Compton added.

He said the trip was made possible only because the department added two faculty members in Spanish this year.   


“We hope to do something like this every year, possibly in other locations and ideally for a full semester. But this pilot will be a great experience for the students.”

The group is scheduled to depart April 2 and return May 2.


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Updated: March 14, 2007

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