November 10, 2016
PSG STUDENT/FACULTY EXCHANGE WITH MEXICAN UNIVERSITY
In October 2016 a Framework Agreement of Cooperation was signed between UTSA and the University of Guanajuato, Mexico. It states that UTSA and UdeG will among other things, “Receive undergraduate and graduate students of the partner institution for periods of study and/or research; (and) Organize symposia, conferences, short courses, and meetings on research issues.” The agreement was signed by Dr. René Zenteno, Vice-provost for International Initiatives, UTSA, and Dr. Luís Felipe Guerrero Agripino, General Rector, UdeG.
This agreement resulted from the summer 2016 Guanajuato field course, Geography and Social Change in Mexico (GRG 3143/4953 and GRG 6973), led by Drs. Richard Jones and Miguel de Oliver of the Department of Political Science and Geography, from July 13-August 7, 2016. After 1½ weeks in the classroom at UTSA, the group (accompanied by Dr. Nazgol Bagheri), struck out for two weeks in Guanajuato. The seven undergraduates and two graduates were exposed to a rich variety of activities. There were two classroom presentations by professors from the university. Otherwise, students had ample opportunities to investigate the historic district, its colonial buildings and monuments, its parks and plazas and markets. They visited the most famous museums of the city (Alhóndiga, Diego Rivera, Museo del Pueblo), and a hacienda. Guanajuato is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the silver-mining district of central Mexico, and has been called the most beautiful colonial city in the country. For excursions into the countryside the group rented a van, enabling them to visit Dolores Hidalgo, San Miguel Allende, a prehistoric archaeological site (Cañon de la Virgen), an organic farm, and the agro-industrial area known as the Bajío. They also off-road biked from the top of a nearby mountain into the heart of the city.
At the very end of the trip, the group took a bus to Mexico City for an intense two days including excursions to the Zócalo and the Parque de Chapultepec.
One student’s comments summarize how much they gained from the course:
“As a student, I have gained a deeper understanding of Mexican culture, history and customs from this study abroad. I am originally from Monterrey, Mexico, but having moved to the U.S. when I was 3 years old, I never had been truly immersed in the Mexican culture growing up. Being able to go to Mexico was an experience unlike anything I could ever read in a book. Seeing so many historical sites was an incredible experience, certainly one of my most favorite aspects of the trip. Walking around the city of Guanajuato was amazing! There were so many festivals, weddings and quinceneras happening, it was truly beautiful to see. Talking with the local people was very educational because I had to speak Spanish. This trip has also helped with my career plans because I am an aspiring urban planner.”
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