Juan Manuel Tovar, a faculty member of the department of engineering and hydraulics at the University of Guanajuato, recognizes that knowing a foreign language can help advance friendships and solidify professional relationships.
In Tovar's case, English is an undeniably useful tool because as a department head, he regularly discusses business with representatives visiting Guanajuato from universities abroad.
That is why Tovar, along with 19 other faculty members and administrators from the University of Guanajuato, have come to Texas A&M International University this summer to take English courses. Five of them are a part of an exchange program between the two universities. The rest have signed up for the language program on an individual basis.
The visitors are being hosted by families in the community during the entire duration of their four-week stay.
"To me, knowing English is important also because when my department is signing agreements with other universities, I want to make sure that I am a good host to my English-speaking counterparts," Tovar said, "English is also a requirement for our students."
So far, the exchange program has included three A&M International faculty members and administrators who recently traveled to the University of Guanajuato to participate in an intensive Spanish program, which consisted of grammar, conversational Spanish, Mexican history, and Latin American Literature.
Jannet García, director of the Office for International Programs, said the faculty and staff exchange has broadened participants' knowledge.
"This program has been a tremendous success," García said, "A&M International professors have thoroughly enjoyed their time in Guanajuato, and we are glad to welcome this wonderful group of people from Guanajuato."
Language is not the only focus of such programs, García said.
"You do not only learn a language, but you learn about different cultures, beliefs, and traditions," García said.
García said the visitors will also explore Laredo through activities such as a visit to the Bruni Vergara Environmental Center, the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum, a Trolley Tour and a Movie Day.
"We would also like to thank the host families of Laredo, who have so graciously opened their homes for our visitors," she said.
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