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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Visiting Students Improve English Skills at Minnesota State Mankato

Group is third cohort from Mexico to visit campus.

2016-06-28
Kristine Goodrich, Mankato Free Press, 6-28-2016

Visitors from Mexico are dazzled by the technology and luxuries at Minnesota State University, Mankato and have discovered that the “Minnesota nice” they read about on the Internet is bona fide.

They’re not so impressed, however, with Mankato’s Mexican restaurants or lack of public transportation.

The university is hosting its third set of English language learners from Mexico. Nearly 25 students and four instructors from the Technological University in Zezahualcoyotl are spending nearly a month in Mankato improving their English and getting a taste of American culture.

Their visit is funded by the Mexican government as part of an educational partnership between the U.S. and Mexico. Called the U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation and Research, the initiative aims to bring 100,00 students, teachers and researchers to the U.S and 50,000 Americans to Mexico through 2018.

Minnesota State Mankato Dean of Global Education Stephen Stoynoff said his college’s involvement with the initiative began with a visit from a leader of the Consulate of Mexico in Saint Paul in 2014. That fall the university welcomed its first group of 30 Mexican pupils for a month long English academy. A second group with 20 pupils from Mexico came to Minnesota State Mankato last fall.

The present group started their studies last week and are staying through mid-July.
Stoynoff said the college will likely to continue to apply to educate additional groups of Mexican language learners.

The host universities in the U.S. bid to welcome a group of Mexican pupils, providing not only several hours of language instruction and tutoring each weekday, but also housing, meals, recreation and all the visitors’ other needs.

None of the third group of visitors to Minnesota State Mankato had heard of Mankato or Minnesota before they were provided an all-expenses paid learning opportunity here.

Visitors Esperanza Hernandez Bravo, Trinidad Angeles Delgado Rosales and Euerardo Diaz Cortes, who are English instructors in Mexico, shared a few first impressions of Minnesota State Mankato and the Mankato area on Monday morning.

They were surprised by the amount of technology used in the classroom and for homework assignments, they said. They use technology in their personal lives but aren’t accustom to using it so much for learning.

Bunk beds and shared bathrooms down the hall were a bit of an adjustment, but they’re enjoying their first experience living on a college campus, they said. There is no student housing at the university from which they come, which is outside of Mexico City.

From bowling to the ropes course, they’re amazed by the breadth of on-campus recreation activities and have found plenty to keep themselves occupied.

They’d like to get out beyond campus more, but the limited availability of public transportation is making that a bit challenging. At home they have a bustling transportation system.

They caught the bus into town last weekend and they decided to try a Mexican restaurant. They found it didn’t taste all that much like home, they said.

Minnesota State Mankato staff have organized a few field trips for them, including kayaking on the Blue Earth River last Sunday, a trip to Minneapolis this weekend and a winery and brewery tour next weekend.

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories online at www.mankatofreepress.com.

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