News: Georgia Tech Study Abroad to Mexico: ‘An Invaluable Experience’ Gets Students Involved in Local Culture, Government, and Technology
Posted November 13, 2019
The School of Modern Languages at Georgia Institute of Technology and NearShore Technology have partnered for an innovative study-abroad experience, allowing students to dive into local culture and economic development in Merida, Mexico.
The five-week LBAT (Language for Business and Technology) program begins in Mexico City and ends in Merida, where students work one-on-one with NearShore employees on projects that provide an extensive overview of environmental, economic, social and cultural development of the region.
During the immersive Spanish experience, students interviewed local government officials and residents, and spent a service learning day in the Mayan town of Techoh, where students taught elementary school students STEM concepts and learned about Mayan words and traditions from their younger peers.
“Unlike many other programs, the Mexico LBAT is completely immersive from a linguistic and cultural standpoint,” said Sarah Bitner, who participated in the program during the summer of 2019.
“We stayed with host families and communicated entirely in Spanish, which was a huge plus for me. In addition to the language component, I was very interested in learning more about Mexican culture,” Bitner said. “The goals of the program include not just learning class material and improving Spanish skills, but also developing relationships with companies like NearShore and connecting with locals as ways to understand Mexico today.”
Georgia Tech Mexico Study-Aboard: ‘An Invaluable Experience’
Yancy Riddle, host of the program and Chief Operating Officer of Latin America of NearShore Technology, has had ties with Georgia Institute of Technology for over two decades.
“I have had an unbroken 22-year relationship with Georgia Tech and began connecting Nearshore with Georgia Tech about three years ago. I’m thrilled the relationship between Georgia Tech and NearShore is providing students with international experiences through the LBAT and other events we have planned. It was amazing to see how independent and capable the students were operating in a foreign language and foreign culture. It is a real privilege for me to be able to invest in the next generation. We are already planning for next year’s LBAT in Mexico! We are building on the momentum,” said Riddle.
Juan Carlos Rodriguez, associate professor of Spanish and co-director of the LBAT program, worked with NearShore to develop a curriculum focusing on sustainability.
"Very early in the planning process, we discovered that NearShore Technology and the Mexico LBAT shared some common values such as an appreciation of Mexican cultures from the past and the present and an interest in sustainability from a social and cultural standpoint. This connection led to a curriculum design that included projects in which our students collaborated with Nearshore employees focusing on issues of sustainable development in Merida,” said Rodriguez.
Apply Now for 2020 Georgia Tech Study Abroad in Mexico
The School of Modern Languages and NearShore Technology are preparing for next year’s LBAT Mexico program, aiming to make it an annual offering so that more students can have an experience like that of Nicole Woods, who participated in the program with Bitner during the summer of 2019.
“The Mexico LBAT experience has given me a new perspective on many things: travel, culture, tradition, business, and more,” Woods said. “I have learned so much about how there are different definitions of success and I now notice how my culture affects me.”
“With exposure to High-Tech industries, direct interactions with local residences and gaining a better understanding of the region’s culture, the LBAT program creates an invaluable experience that NearShore Technology is privileged to be a part of,” (NearShore Technology).
The Mexico LBAT is unique to many other study abroad programs on campus, as it is a faculty-led experience by co-directors, Associate Professor of Spanish, Juan Carlos Rodriguez and Professor Emerita of Spanish, Vicki Galloway.
To learn more about the program or apply, visit: https://modlangs.gatech.edu/lbat/mexico-city. Some funding may be available for early applications. Deadline for early acceptance is Nov. 15, and applications are due no later than Jan. 17.
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