This is the second group of Mexican students hosted by the U of S as part of the Proyecta 10,000 program.

U of S continues successful language initiative with Government of Mexico

The University of Saskatchewan’s second cohort of Proyecta 10,000 (Project 10,000) students has successfully completed its English as a second language (ESL) program.

Twenty-four students arrived on the U of S campus September 20 to start the ESL course held at the Language Centre, located in the Williams Building on Cumberland Avenue. The program concluded October 20 with a farewell luncheon at Marquis Culinary Centre. The first cohort took place in the summer and consisted of 20 students.

Funded by the Mexican government, the program’s goal is to have 10,000 Mexican learners studying ESL in Canada by 2018. The program was launched after the February 2014 North American Leaders’ Summit. At the summit, Canada and Mexico determined that innovation and education are among the strategic priorities of co-operation between the two countries.

The Mexican government also has a similar program with the United States—Proyecta 100,000—with a goal of 100,000 Mexican learners studying ESL in the U.S. by 2018.

Proyecta 10,000 and other international partnership programs like it offer many advantages to both the U of S and to the students who participate. It increases diversity on campus, builds global relationships between universities, recruits international students and provides students an exceptional experience to learn English and experience Canadian culture. Students stay with families in Saskatoon and partake in a variety of activities outside the classroom.

“The Proyecta 10,000 program has allowed Mexican students to come to Canada, our city and our campus to experience aspects of authentic Canadian life such as barbequing, learning ringette, eating butter tarts, and visiting our lakes and parks,” said David Parkinson, director of the U of S Language Centre. “But more importantly, the students have had a chance to develop their English skills while getting to know their homestay families—an experience usually impossible for the average tourist.”

The students come from universities across Mexico and many don’t know each other beforehand. Going to a new country to learn a new language can be intimidating. The connection to homestay families is vital in creating a positive experience for visiting students.

“The best part of my experience was the people. I felt very welcomed since the day I arrived,” said Valeria Gonzalez, a 22-year-old engineering and entrepreneurship student from the Technological University of Cancun.

Language initiatives such as Proyecta 10,000 give international students a snapshot of the U of S before they commit to a full degree program here.

“I’m impressed by the services the U of S offers students like the PAC [Physical Activity Complex], the Language Centre and the libraries,” said Gonzalez.

Like many of her fellow cohorts, Gonzalez expressed interest in returning to the U of S for further studies.

“My five-year plan is to come back to Canada for my master’s degree,” she said.

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