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Six Spanish III Honors students hopped into a Suburban and headed for the border last Wednesday, in a pilgrimage to CETYS, a prep school in Tijuana, Mexico. They’ve been exchanging emails with the students there since last fall, in an effort to build proficiency and comfort level in communicating as well as learning about how to be more effective language learners.

Freshman Malena M., sophomores Parker F., Riley S.-H., and Sabrina Y., and juniors Jessica B. and Dylan P. piled into a Suburban and traveled south last Wednesday to visit the students at Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superior with whom they’ve been corresponding. World Languages chair Patrick Gomez, who organized the event, and Spanish teacher Nohemi Salazar and French teacher Olivier Dalle made the trip with them.
“I think it was a real eye-opener for the students,” says Gomez. “Given stereotypes and media coverage of Mexico, this exchange provided a great experience to see daily life in Tijuana and the pride that people have in their city.”

“I love how I was able to learn more day-to-day Spanish that is rarely spoke of reviewed in a classroom,” says Jessica B. “For example,  I learned how to say ‘cool’ (curarda)! Having even the most basic knowledge of the subtle facets of a language and its idiomatic expressions makes a profound different in fluency.”

The CETYS high school is part of a bigger internationalized university program with locations in Tijuana, Mexicali, and Ensenada. The system, founded by businessmen in the 1960s who wanted to create more opportunities for quality higher education in Baja California, is nationally accredited by WASC (the Western Association of Schools and Colleges). CETYS offers degrees in business, engineering, and psychology at the undergraduate and graduate levels, with a humanistic emphasis on sustainability, cultural education and formation of character.

“We are looking to do some regular telecollaboration with them to enhance language learning going forward,” says Gomez. “We have invited CETYS to visit Buckley in early October, and they invited us again to go share in their Day of the Dead celebration in November. We are looking forward to fostering this relationship.”
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