Green Bay to Guanajuato: Study abroad exchange program to prepare students for global workforce
NWTC and Universidad Politecnica de Guanajuato (UPG) in Cortazar, Guanajuato, Mexico, partnered to prepare college students for a globally mobile environment.
The Green Bay to Guanajuato (G2G) Exchange partnership received grant funding through the Partners of the Americas, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and the U.S. Department of State. G2G also received the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund grant through the MetLife Foundation based on each institution’s strong commitment to region-wide cooperation, understanding, and prosperity through international education.
Through the G2G program, NWTC students in trade and engineering technology programs exchanged classrooms and countries with UPG engineering students.
“Studying abroad gives students a chance to build hard and soft skills in a setting that is impossible to recreate in a classroom,” NWTC student Abigail Dewane said.
As part of the program, 12 UPG engineering students participated in a short-term intensive study abroad exchange at NWTC in 2018 to gain exposure to the English language and culture. Students learned about their academic fields of interest by touring U.S. companies and listening to guest lectures from engineering faculty. The tours included Schreiber Foods and KS Kolbenschmidt, both of which have facilities in northeast Wisconsin and Guanajuato, Mexico.
“What I have enjoyed most about NWTC is my classes,” UPG student Pedro Cesar Mendoza Rosal said. ”I have an excellent teacher, excellent people around me, and what is great, too, is the infrastructure of the college…we have everything to be a great, excellent and professional person.”
Fellow UPG student Mauricio Jaramillo Valenzuela agreed, saying, “I’ve learned a lot of things in only two weeks and a half…not only the language, I’ve improved my English level, but I’ve also improved my social skills, leadership skills…this is a unique opportunity.”
In addition to UPG students traveling to Green Bay, in early 2019, eight NWTC students and two faculty leaders traveled to Guanajuato, Mexico, for a two-week study abroad program. Students learned about the educational system, engaged with UPG students, toured local industries, attended lectures from UPG professors and explored the region’s cultural sites.
Study abroad “has renewed my interest in the program,” Dewane said. “Touring the various plants has also given me a glimpse into what I could be doing after graduation.”
Expanding study abroad programs that are designed for engineering students provided them an opportunity for a global professional experience.
“I wanted to gain some cultural experience. I have never traveled abroad, so it was incredible to see another area of the world…there are so many stereotypes that are very inaccurate,” NWTC student Joseph Maier said.
NWTC and UPG look forward to increasing their diversity of study abroad participants as well as the diversity of the aligned academic programming.
Facts About Study Abroad:
- In the 2017-2018 academic year, nearly 100 NWTC students studied abroad (the most of any college in the Wisconsin Technical College System)
- All NWTC Study Abroad Programs are two weeks long and are led by a faculty member
- Students can earn credits through the program
- 85% of NWTC students who study abroad receive a scholarship or grant