NSU Hosts US-Mexico Bilateral Forum

   Northern State University’s Academic English Program had special guests from Mexico this semester.
   Twenty-five Mexican students and teachers visited NSU from October 11 to November 4 to participate in a program called “US-Mexican Bilateral Forum,” also known as Mexico’s Proyecta 100,000 Program, during which students took four weeks of English language class sessions.
   This program initially began with an agreement between United States President Barack Obama and President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico in May 2013.
   The vision of these two presidents was to expand opportunities for educational exchanges, scientific research partnerships, as well as cross-border innovation between these two nations.
   The goal of this program is to help both countries develop a 21st century workforce for their mutual economic prosperity and sustainable social development.
   As a whole, the program allows for 100,000 Mexican students to come to the United States and 50,000 U.S students to venture to Mexico by 2018.
   This is not the first time that NSU has had the opportunity to host this program,though.
   This most recent visit in October-November 2016 is the third time that NSU has hosted this event. In November of 2014, Northern State University hosted 45 students and teachers, and in July August of 2016, NSU again hosted 20 participants.
   Every time that NSU hosts students and teachers, the participants are incredibly enthusiastic about both their cultural and academic experiences.
   Previous participants of this thriving program keep in contact with Northern State University and often say that they miss the campus and the program itself.
   Participants have opportunities to take trips to Fargo, ND, and the Black Hills to experience American culture and visit Mount Rushmore, which further represents South Dakota.
   These trips were valuable experience for them, as much as their class time, because the students are eager to improve their English skills and experience the U.S. lifestyle.
   During this particular session, students and teachers from Mexico also had the chance to participate in NSU’s Annual Culture Fest. They had a flash mob and traditional dance performance to display their culture to NSU and the Aberdeen community.
   One of the students participating in the Provecta 100,000 Program, Luis Dominguez, a student from Universidad del Caribe, Cancun, said he was excited to participate in this program because this was his first international trip and the first time experiencing dorm life, along with many other firsts.
   He looked at this experience as a good opportunity to learn English and make friends from various countries. In an effort to improve his English, Dominguez tried to speak English and meet as many friends as possible. He became more familiar with the language through this and the courses, which ran from 9am to 5pm every day of the week.
   Tara Arnsten, Director of the NSU Academic English Program, summed up the program, saying, “Everyone in the Academic English Program has enjoyed having Provecta 100,000 participants here at Northern. The students are an absolute pleasure to teach, and it is a really wonderful experience not just for the students from Mexico, but really for all of the people they interact with while they are here, too.” Arnsen went on to note about this experience that, “We all have the opportunity to learn more about one another and share things about our cultures. Personally, I really appreciate the chance to welcome the Proyecta 100,000 Program to Northern State University and hope that we have the opportunity to do so again in the future.”

Joseph Park

Photo Credit: Brooke Heppner