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by Samantha Black, staff writer


College is a time to travel, experience other cultures, and grow as an individual. One of the best ways to accomplish these goals, according to Dr. Jon Davidann, director of HPU’s International Exchange and Travel Abroad Programs, is to take time during your college career to study abroad. HPU offers many study abroad programs for the fall and spring semesters, but little for the summer and less for students who don’t want to live in another country for a full 15-week semester. One option is Mexico.

The Spanish department at HPU offers a six-week summer study abroad program in Morelia, Mexico.

“ I think this is a really good trip for people who have not traveled a lot on their own,” said Tess Lane, assistant professor of Spanish and program chair of Modern Languages.

The program’s inaugural visit was in 2005 when 10 students went with Lane to Morelia. The program requires at least 10 students and cannot accommodate more than 20 students.

The first trip was written up in Kalamalama last year, and Lane took 12 students this past summer. This summer, the Spanish department’s new full-time faculty member, Dr. Charles Boyer, will lead a group of HPU students to Morelia. Boyer grew up and went to public schools in Mexico City.

“ I think that Mexico is a second home for me,” said Boyer. “Most of my dissertation was about Mexico.”

While students are in Morelia, they take two, three-week-long, language-intensive Spanish classes, and an optional class in Mexican cultural identity. Students pursuing a Spanish minor can complete an entire year of Spanish, and a Spanish elective, in just six weeks.

In fact, the program runs from the beginning of Summer I to the end of June, so students could come back to HPU after the program and take classes during Summer IV.

In Morelia, the classes are taken at La Universidad Latina de America, five days a week from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The optional cultural class is taught in English; the rest of the time students are in Morelia they hear and speak mostly Spanish.

“ People don’t really speak English in Morelia,” said Lane. “That is why I chose it. Students use their Spanish in a more practical manner.”

Each student stays with a different host family and is fed three meals a day by the Señoras de las casas. The cost of the trip includes airfare, tuition, and room and board. Informational session will be held in all the Spanish classes, as well as in the Sea Warrior Center during October and November. The deposit for the trip must be in by Dec. 3.

Duda Bresseg, an HPU senior who attended the program last summer, said the trip is a “win-win situation.”

“ We tutored the Mexican students in English, and they tutored us in Spanish,” said Bresseg.
“ All the students need to do is study and explore Mexican culture,” said Lane.

“ In addition to being able to earn 11 credits, they also take weekend trips to the surrounding area and get to experience firsthand the culture they are learning about,” she added.

“ Pyramids were something I wanted to see all my life,” said Bresseg. “We saw two different types by two different indigenous peoples.

“I think everybody should go abroad,” Bresseg continued. “Just go for it! Don’t hold yourself back.”
“ Parents are more comfortable knowing that staff and a family are there for the students,” said Lane, adding that the Morelia program is the only accompanied study abroad program offered through HPU.

“ This program fits in with the HPU global citizen view of the world,” said Boyer. “Taking students abroad is a key ingredient to that vision.

“ Even though I grew up in a foreign country,” said Boyer “when I was a student in the United States I went on a study abroad program and it was the best experience of my undergraduate education.”

“ Mexico is our neighbor,” said Lane. “We need to have a better understanding of their culture to bridge that relationship.”

For more information, e-mail tlane@hpu.edu or cboyer@hpu.edu.

All Photos by Tess Lane

Students enjoy the waterfall at Eduardo Ruiz National Park, Uruapan, at the head of the Cupatitzio River.

The Cathedral of Morelia, built in 1744, is the site of a display of beautiful fireworks, lights, and music every Saturday evening.



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