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
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
“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.”
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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