This year, English as a Second Language Services welcomed four outstanding students from Mexico to participate in the Jóvenes de Excelencia (Excellent Youth) program. Funded by Citibanamex bank, Mexico’s leading financial firm, the program grants scholarship opportunities to Mexican undergraduate students and prepares them to complete a master’s degree abroad. Additionally, the program aims to develop participants’ leadership skills and encourages them to be agents of change.
In its first year, four students – majoring in chemical engineering, petroleum engineering, economics and law – were selected based on their academic merit and an interview process.
Prior to their time at UT, the students were also required to take additional classes outside of their university courses. “For six months, I took a math class every day from Monday through Friday and then an English class on Saturdays,” said Jassiel Parra, a chemical engineering student. Citibanamex also required the selected few to watch a series of videos and complete professional development tasks such as crafting resumes and curriculum vitae.
After arriving in Austin this summer, the students participated in a customized program designed by ESL Services, which helps students improve their academic English and prepare for the GRE. The classes they took were part of the Academic English Program.
The four students each shared their thoughts on the ESL classes and affirmed that the classes have helped them to sharpen different language skills, including listening, speaking and expanding their vocabulary. In addition to preparing for graduate school, the classes have also equipped the students for the completion of their undergraduate studies in Mexico, which will require writing research papers and a thesis.
“The ESL classes here are the best that I have taken in my life. I think the method of teaching here is unique,” said Cristian Flores Longino, who is studying economics.
Holistically, this experience has taught the Jóvenes students what UT has to offer, from its world-renowned academics to its life in the heart of Texas. After falling in love with Austin, petroleum engineering student Omar González Montiel said he plans on applying to UT as a graduate student next year.
“I’m going to check what programs are available here. I’m really interested in UT because I’ve heard many good things,” he said.
During their short month stay in Austin, the four students enjoyed the many activities the city has to offer. But it is the people they encountered that have a special place in their hearts. Their experience with ESL Services not only provided them with a rigorous academic curriculum that challenged them to improve their English but also gave the Jóvenes students a chance to make international friends and learn about American culture. In the end, both their rich learning experiences and the warm welcome they received in Austin motivated them to seriously consider UT Austin as an option for graduate school.
“I’ve always thought that the best thing about a place is its people,” said Edson Javier Vasquez Flores, who plans to study law. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve met really cool, nice, and funny people.”
Written By Diego Macias
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