UBC Spanish Summer Field School sends students to Mexico

Dr. José Luis Pech Várguez, Rector of Universidad de Quintana Roo, and Doug Owram, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Principal of UBC’s Okanagan campus, are working to build on a university partnership that fosters international student learning opportunities.

Dr. José Luis Pech Várguez, Rector of Universidad de Quintana Roo, and Doug Owram, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Principal of UBC’s Okanagan campus, are working to build on a university partnership that fosters international student learning opportunities.

Faculty at UBC's Okanagan campus have created a Spanish Summer Field School that offers undergraduate students the opportunity to take a UBC class at the University of Quintana Roo in Mexico.

Spanish professor Grisel María García Pérez, who helped establish the Spanish Summer Field School, says the course places an importance on language-culture awareness, and provides students with a unique learning experience in a peer-supported, faculty-supervised network.

"The Spanish Summer Field School links second language instruction with international experience and intense intercultural contact," says García Pérez. "By providing students with intercultural encounters in a Spanish environment their intercultural awareness, their communicative competence in general, and their oral fluency in particular, will improve."

The nine-credit summer school runs from May 9 to July 22. It consists of two three-credit courses taught at UBC's Okanagan campus, and one three-credit course taught in Mexico. During their trip, students will visit two separate Quintana Roo campuses -- one in Chetumal and the other in Playa del Carmen.

The Field School Methodology course, taught by Hugo de Burgos, professor of anthropology in the Department of Community, Culture and Global Studies, is the first of the three classes offered. It aims to help prepare students for the intercultural experience.

"The Spanish Summer Field School is really about extending student learning beyond the classroom," says Teresa Flanagan, Manager of International Programs and Services. "And it's another way to internationalize our campus.

“The students will travel and live together to collectively learn a language while being immersed in Mexican culture. Not only will their language skills increase tremendously, but they will become familiar with Quintana Roo students and faculty while engaging in service learning with surrounding communities -- all as a cohort from our campus."

The Spanish Summer Field School was an initiative spearheaded by UBC professors from multiple faculties, including the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies and the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, in partnership with faculty members from the University of Quintana Roo.

Some of the Spanish Summer Field School goals are to:

  • develop intercultural fluency
  • engage in a unique educational experience
  • support faculty connections with international institutions
  • Support and facilitate visiting international faculty and students
  • Provide an affordable international opportunity for both UBC students and international faculty and students

For more information about the Summer Field Spanish School, visit www.ubc.ca/okanagan/students/international/ifs.

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