Expectations and Realizations of Study-Abroad in Mexico for Students
In January, 2019, a group of 18 Tech students and two leaders (Dr. Pat Bagley and Mrs. Amy Miller) spent 11 days in Puebla, Mexico as a University sponsored study-abroad program. Puebla is a city of about 4 million people, and is the capital city of the State of Puebla. Students were exposed to many sites around the country, visiting Mexico City, Veracruz, and Cholula, plus the grand pyramids of central Mexico. Studies have shown the impact of study-abroad by University students to be significant. While only a small percentage of college students will go on study-abroad, its impacts are measureable. Students on study-abroad trips have been reported to be 97% employed within one year of travel compared to 49% of college graduates not doing a study-abroad; those in study-abroad had 25% higher starting salaries; 90% got into their first or second choice of graduate school; 80% reported they were better adapted to diverse work environments. The 18 students on this trio to central Mexico were given pre- and post-travel questionnaires. While asked many questions, the two that seemed the most important to students were: a) better understanding other cultures, and b) enhancing the understanding of other cultures. While important, results were not as positive for learning another language, possibly because an interpreter was with the group at all times. Almost all students expressed interests in further travel to foreign countries, and traveling to Mexico made them more aware of situations the rest of the world faces.