Effective Speaking Students say Adios to Partners in Mexico

Some of the students in Kathleen McKenna’s Effective Speaking class said good bye at the end of the semester to their COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) partners at the Universidad de Celaya, David Shrum’s English class.

The two classes collaborated via Zoom on Tuesdays throughout the semester. They enjoyed seeing the ways life in the US and Mexico are similar and different. The class was taught in English, and the US students were incredibly impressed with their counterparts’ English language skills.

The Broome students particularly enjoyed hearing about driving tests in Mexico–they are taken on a simulator. One of the Mexican students gave a very humorous speech about the fact that he’s a good driver, but a bad video game player. We celebrated with him when he ultimately passed the test and got his license.

The US students also enjoyed listening to a love song (on Apple Music) that one of the Mexican students wrote for his girlfriend.

The students found they had similar hobbies, such as sports and weight lifting. Our Mexican counterparts taught us how to do origami projects, and Dave, our Computer Science major, was a quick study, helping his US classmates complete the origami projects.

A Mexican student taught us how he and his classmates in automotive engineering had converted a car with a gasoline engine to an electric engine.

Our students taught their Mexican counterparts how to make how to assemble a computer and how to make perfect fried chicken.
They also prompted great discussions with their wide-ranging speeches about their family histories, and arguing for higher pay for teachers, and advocating for more counselors to support athletes and students in general.

The two colleges have partnered for more than 15 years, beginning with a friendship formed by Alberto Miller, formerly the Director of International Programs at SUNY Broome, and Alejandro Saldana, chair of the Business Department at Celaya.

During the spring and summer of 2023, Lynda Carroll’s ANT 288, Storytelling and Heritage, collaborated with Celaya throughout the semester as well, with students travelling in both directions under a Partners in the Americas grant for work in Anthropology, funded by the Mary Street Jenkins Foundation.

Faculty members who would like to explore partnering with faculty and students throughout the SUNY Global Network should reach out to Kathleen McKenna, SUNY Broome COIL Coordinator, at mckennakm@sunybroome.edu. Collaborations can be large or small projects, and can occur synchronously or asynchronously. They are a fascinating and fun way to help prepare students to live and work in our ever-shrinking and interdependent world.

Submitted by: Kathleen McKenna