ASC Study in Mexico Program offers immersion in Spanish language

(10-21-2010)

The birthplace of Diego Rivera, Guanajuato, Mexico, is rich in history, culture and art. The colorful city bursts with tourists with a taste for great food and an appreciation of the city's rich architecture. The Adams State College Study in Mexico Program celebrates the character of the city and offers opportunities for a diversity of students to immerse themselves in the Spanish language and Mexican culture.

Natalie Wells, Adams State '10 graduate and Home Health aide, said her desire to study Spanish and the Mexican culture inspired her to sign up for the Study in Mexico Program. During the summer Adams State College students travel to Guanajuato, Mexico, and spend two weeks to four weeks living with Mexican families, attending the Instituto Miguel de Cervantes, and experiencing the culture first-hand.

  Paul Gilbert, Sarah Fox, Natalie Wells, and Megan Young McPartland, join two other Americans in learning how to make chile rellenos.

Paul Gilbert, Sarah Fox, Natalie Wells, and Megan Young McPartland, join two other Americans in learning how to make chile rellenos.

"The classes were great and my Spanish improved a lot in just two weeks," said Wells. The Instituto Miguel de Cervantes provides all levels of Spanish classes, from beginner to advanced. Classes are held from 9 a.m. until noon Monday through Friday, with the option of private afternoon classes for an extra charge. Participants must demonstrate at least a beginning level of Spanish proficiency and must be 18 years of age or older.

Dr. Grace Young, Adams State professor of sociology, organizes the annual event. She said the city itself is reason to attend the program. "The city is amazing, tunnels, stone footbridges, museums, charming squares, it has it all." The Instituto has been in operation since 1981. "Students are always satisfied with their education and delighted with the extracurricular activities including dance lessons, visits to museums, hikes, and weekend excursions to nearby artisan sites and archaeological ruins."

Students stay with host families where meals and a room are provided. "It is considered an honor to host the students," Young said. "The families go out of their way to make you feel welcome." Wells agreed, "I loved staying with the family. They were very hospitable and friendly and made delicious Mexican food."

Depending on the length of stay, participants are eligible to receive four credits in Spanish and three credits in sociology, at the bachelor's or graduate level, from Adams State. "The intense study of Spanish improves all participants' skills," Young said. She travels with the group to help ease the transition into Mexican culture. In the spring a one-credit course, the Foreign Study Experience, is offered to help participants prepare for the experience. The class will meet for one weekend in the spring 2011 to discuss issues such as culture shock, acquiring passports, and how to get the most out of the experience.

Despite the unrest of other parts of Mexico, Guanajuato felt "very safe" to Wells. "I really loved walking around town every afternoon. Everything was so close together."

For more information regarding the summer 2011 program contact Young at 719-587-7142.