Proyecta 100,000 is “an initiative to increase international study in Latin America and the Caribbean. The purpose is to foster region-wide prosperity through greater international exchange of students, who are our future leaders and innovators.” – US Department of State.
This year, seven Mexican students from four universities in Mexico were selected by the Mexico Department of Higher Studies to study intensive English in the United States for four weeks as part of the “100,000 Strong Program”, known as Proyecta 100,000. In June and July they studied at INTERLINK’s partner, A.C.E.’s Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University, in levels 3, 4 and 5, as well as integrating into Listening, Communication and Grammar (LCG) and Reading, Writing and Grammar (RWG) classes. Five of them also volunteered to take conversation classes. Over the four weeks they attended over 110 hours of intensive English classes!
Not content with only having American food during their stay, they were craving authentic Mexican fare. When they heard that A.C.E. was hosting an Iftar Bonfire to break the fast during the holy week of Ramadan, they insisted on preparing the whole dinner for the 30+ guests. What started as a casual get-together transformed into a moonlit festival of international nations. Through conversation, food, dance and laughter, all attending were able to share and enjoy the richness of their cultures.
“It was a great opportunity to be part of this learning process…At A.C.E. we also met many people from different countries and cultures and we had the opportunity to spend time together in some activities… All the people at A.C.E are very kind. Thank you so much….” – Olivia Jimenez, Proyecta participant
The students met with the Consul of Mexico in Seattle; watched the Fremont Solstice Fair, Gay Pride Parade in Capitol Hill, and the 4th of July Parade on Bainbridge Island; danced salsa, banda, rock and club; rowed, paddled and nearly capsized canoes; went bowling; volunteered their time to a non-profit; and traveled to Bellingham and later left for trips to the east coast and California. Their infectious love of life and inquisitive behavior was felt and admired by their fellow students, teachers and coordinators at A.C.E. and SPU.