Salem State enters into collaborative ESL agreement with Mexican university

As the result of a grant received by the Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas from the Mexican Ministry of Education (Secretaría de Educación, SEP) through its Integral Program for Institutional Development (Programa Integral de Fortalecimiento Institucional, PIFI),  Salem State’s English as a Second Language (ESL) summer program will receive fifteenstudents from the Mexican university this summer. Each of the students is preparing to become an English teacher in Chiapas, in southern Mexico.

The students’ participation in the university’s summer course is the result of support from the dean of the Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas, Jaime Valls Esponda, collaboration between Salem State’s Center for International Education and foreign language department professor—and study abroad advisor— Fatima Serra, and a connection made by the Center’s assistant director and English as a Second Language coordinator Sarah Dietrich with Antonieta Cal y Mayor Turnbull. Cal y Mayor Turnbull serves as coordinator of the bachelor’s degree program in English Language Training at the Escuela de Lenguas Campus Tuxtla.

According to Dietrich, who also serves on the faculty of Salem State’s School of Graduate Studies, “We are excited to welcome these students to Salem, where they’ll have a chance to both explore US culture and reflect on the skills needed to be successful language teachers.”

According to Ms. Cal y Mayor Turnbull, this first exchange could very well be the beginning of successful collaborations between not only Salem State and the Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas, but between the Salem university and other Mexican universities as well.  “This represents the first time our bachelor’s degree program has received PIFI funding to send our students to study abroad,” noted Cal y Mayor Turnbull.  “The success of their academic experience in Salem will allow us to request further funding in the future, enabling further collaborations with Salem State University.”