After 10 weeks of Wednesday teleconferences, the students in David Shrum’s English class at la Universidad de Celaya and in Kathleen McKenna’s Effective Speaking class at SUNY Broome held their final teleconference. The students began the semester by sharing introductory videos of themselves and their campuses in Blackboard. Then they Skyped weekly and listened to one another’s speeches, asking one another questions about life in the U.S. and Mexico. Some of their interactions focused on fall holidays in both countries.
The Mexican students shared information about their families, their school, Celaya and its famous dulce de leche, known as cajeta. They explained how tequilla is made, told a famous legend — la Llorona — about a woman who roams at night, tormented by the fact that her children are dead. They described celebrations of Independence Day and of Dia de los Muertos. They also talked about a museum in nearby Guanajuato, in which mummified remains are on display: http://www.momiasdeguanajuato.gob.mx/
U.S. students talked about the good, the bad and the scary (coyotes) of their camping trips. They taught their counterparts some drumming, some American sign language, and how to draw a cartoon version of a dog. They also shared stories describing the difference between their experiences living in New York City and in Binghamton. In the process, Broome students learned from one another as well. The U.S. students explained the history and celebration of Halloween.
The Mexican students shared some of the challenges their region faces as organized crime has gotten involved in stealing gasoline from underground pipes. They asked U.S. students about whether U.S. gun violence, especially in schools, impacts their daily lives. The students’ conversations were thoughtful and respectful. The Mexican students enjoyed hearing all the different regional accents within New York, and enjoyed learning from U.S. students from Egypt, Morocco and Iran as well. The U.S. students enjoyed trying out a little Spanish and hearing about their shared interests in music, food and spending time with friends.