When Mexican Consul
Carlos Torres visited the University of Delaware in December, his stage
might have been small as he spoke to 41 students from the front of a
classroom located in the University’s English Language Institute, but his message was big – keep growing, keep learning, keep changing the world.
“Think about what you did here, and what it will push you to or what
it’s going to lead you to,” said Torres, who delivered his message to a
group of Mexican university students that had come to the ELI for a
four-week educational exchange through a program called 100,000 Strong
in the Americas, and his message was certainly in line with both the
scale and the goals of the program.
100,000 Strong in the Americas, known to Mexico and the ELI as
Proyecta 100mil, is an Obama-era partnership formed between the U.S.
Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of
International Educators, which provides educational exchange
opportunities for students in the Western Hemisphere. With the goal of exchanging 100,000 students between the U.S., Latin
America, and the Caribbean by 2020, Proyecta 100mil is meant to foster
students and future workforce leaders who are internationally-aware and
This is the fourth year in a row that the ELI has hosted a group from
Proyecta 100mil through efforts spearheaded by Baerbel Schumacher,
assistant director for international projects at the ELI.
The students had a variety of experiences in their four weeks at UD.
Students were encouraged to make social connections across UD through
various events, such as international coffee hour, sponsored by the Office of International Students and Scholars, and a dance party hosted by the ELI.
One of the group’s first events was a language exchange with students in the University’s Department of Languages, Literature and Cultures
(DLLC). Over pizza, the program’s students were able to practice their
English and in exchange, speak Spanish with students from DLLC.
The event also helped the Mexican students build relationships with
domestic students, which many of them kept up throughout their time in
“The Mexican students brought a unique energy to campus and to the
ELI,” said MariaJosé Riera, program coordinator. “They repeatedly let me
know that what they most treasured were the people they met and the
relationships they developed. From ELI staff and administrators, to
their instructors, UD students from the campus at large, homestay
families, and their ELI peers, they really value those connections.”
The students attended intensive language classes at the ELI. Based on
their proficiency, students were integrated into classrooms filled with
other students from around the world.
“It made me feel good here, because there are students from China,
Japan, Saudi Arabia, and we worked together very well,” said Gildardo
Cuauhtémoc Cano Gonzalez.