In cooperation with the International Partnership for Service-Learning, APPLES is pleased to provide an opportunity for students to spend a summer in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Participants spend nine weeks developing Spanish skills while absorbing Mexican culture. The program is based at the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara (UAG), one of the leading universities of Mexico. Founded over 60 years ago, it is Mexico’s first private university.
The state of Jalisco in central Mexico has a temperate climate virtually year round. Guadalajara, its capital, is known as the “city of eternal spring”. The city is in easy traveling distance to many areas of Mexico (about a 7-hour bus ride to Mexico City).
GO! Global Orientation on Culture and Ethics
In the spring, APPLES prepares students for their experience through a comprehensive orientation focusing on issues related to intercultural competency, cross-cultural service, ethics and communication.The Orientation highlights the importance of linking the global experience with local service-learning after returning to North Carolina. In addition to the Orientation, students participate in a half-day Ropes Course and reflection experience prior to departure. Participants must register for GO! by March 18, 2009.
Upon arrival to Guadalajara, an orientation session introduces participants to the culture and current conditions of Mexico and the community where they will be living for the summer.
For Spanish language courses, students take a diagnostic test that places them in one of eight language levels, ranging from beginning to advanced. In each level, the instructors use materials from the culture of Mexico and from Latin American literature to illustrate characteristics of the society.
A 3-credit course, Institutions in Mexican Society, taught in English and Spanish, introduces students to the culture and socio-economic conditions and issues of contemporary Mexico.
In addition to these courses, students will keep a journal based on the book Charting a Hero’s Journey and meet weekly in a Journal/Reflections Course to discuss the issues they encounter in their service.
While in Guadalajara, participants volunteer 12-15 hours each week with a local, non-governmental organization, deepening their understanding of Mexican culture and society and enhancing their own language skills. This allows for a level of interaction and practical experience that is hard to achieve in the traditional classroom, and thus supplements and complements the rigorous academic curriculum.
Participating in a service-learning placement allows students to:
Service placements are made based on language skills, interests, goals and the needs of the community. Agencies address the needs of street children, teach English, provide healthcare, or work with Mexican social workers on community-based programs.
Participants live in a homestay with a Mexican family, where they will be introduced to Mexican family and social life.
Group travel experiences to the mountains, the coast and Mexico City can be arranged by the Exchange Center staff in Mexico. In addition, they organize day trips to towns surrounding Guadalajara that enrich the students’ cultural experience. These trips are optional for students and range in price from $6 USD - $200 USD. There are also opportunities for personal travel on weekends and during breaks.
On returning to Carolina, students have the opportunity to enroll in “Connections”, a reflection seminar that purposefully links students' global service-learning experiences to the dynamics of globalization, migration transitions, and the concerns faced by immigrants and refugees, locally in North Carolina. Primary among these concerns are education and English language learning, health and access to health care services, and social/economic/legal concerns. Returning students engage in local service-learning in a variety of locations addressing these issue areas. Two course credits are offered for participation in the seminar which includes a minimum of 30 hours of local service in the community.
“The trip was about serving others and trying to make a difference while at the same time trying to improve myself and grow as a person.”
“Through the combination of classes, community service, and other interactions with the host culture, students’ language skills definitely improved in the two months abroad.”
“The most significant understanding that I'll bring home about illness and human suffering is that we should never stop caring, even for strangers who have fallen ill or kids who wash car windows on the streets.” "Adriana is the performer, always dancing and singing. Regina is a little quieter but follows her sister's steps in everything. They exclaim and jump into my arms when I see them. We drew pictures, colored, and made origami flowers. I feel as if I'm their big sister.” “This program rapidly aided in my personal maturation, taught me more about who I am and in what I believe, and introduced me to a new perspective on life. I am a more confident, self-assured, and independent rising sophomore because of the linguistic, cultural, and academic challenges cast my way during my summer in Guadalajara.”
To obtain contact information for the current GSL Chair, please refer to the APPLES' Organizers directory.