OCTOBER 26, 2010

CityU in Baja California, Mexico

By Gabriela Rivera

Hello. I am the CETYS-CityU Double Degree Program coordinator based in Baja California, México. CityU and CETYS Universidad have an extensive partnership that started in 2005.  This is my second year in the position and I was fortunate that I was selected to be a chaperone for students visiting CityU this past summer.

Before I jump to my experience let me tell you a bit about the CETYS-CityU Partnership. The partnership allows CETYS students to obtain two degrees at the same time (one from Mexico and the other from the United States). Thus far, we have four cohorts that have graduated and the partnership keeps growing.

In past summers, we had 51 actively enrolled students in the program. Of them, 29 traveled to Seattle and 17 visited CityU in Prague. As the program coordinator and chaperone for the last CETYS summer session, I arrived early to get myself acquainted with CityU’s facilities, the city, and to participate in a week’s worth of training.  Now keep in mind that it’s not uncommon to have 120 degree weather in Mexicali so Seattle’s summers are my winters.  When I was in Seattle the temperate was pretty chilly but I saw a lot of people with shorts and t-shirts. I had my jacket on.

My chaperone duties kicked in Friday, June 18. I was able  to take the light rail to SeaTac airport. For a local, it probably isn’t an adventure but for me it was almost an excursion. I took my City University of Seattle sign and waited patiently for students to arrive. I didn’t have to wait long before I found a handful of smiling students carrying with huge suitcases all waiting for me in the baggage claim. After checking them into the Seattle University dorms, we celebrated their first night with a welcome dinner. On Saturday (a rainy and cold Saturday) we braved the weather and walked to Key Arena for the CityU Commencement. The new students had the opportunity to cheer on the Mexican graduates from CETYS and to see firsthand what their ceremony would be in two years.

During the intensive three weeks we were in Seattle, the students and I bonded over shared experiences. For example, we visited multinational corporations and toured the city. Some students even went all the way to Vancouver, B.C.

Upon our return to Mexicali, with its 110 degree weather, I spoke to a student and she asked me, “Gabby, when can we start planning our next summer? We all want to return to Seattle! We miss the dorms!”

In conclusion, the students and I left Seattle with a full understanding of the enormous amount of work CityU and CETYS accomplished to make this trip possible. It was a privilege for me as a coordinator to watch these students grow academically, professionally, and developmentally as well as form bonds of friendship that I am sure will last a lifetime. The experiences they lived during this summer made them wiser and I believe it will translate into better decision-making in the future.


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