From USA to Mexico: An exchange experience
10 enero Por: Yolanda Jaimes
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[Student from Oklahoma University is spending his exchange program in UPAEP.]

UPAEP has a lot of exchange students from all over the world; William Hanson Regan is one of them. He comes from the University of Oklahoma where he is majoring in Biology and nowadays is studying his fifth semester in UPAEP.

William´s hometown is in Colorado, but got a scholarship to study at OU because of the good results from his SAT.

According to his undergraduate program he says: “I chose biology because I am very into science and animals, especially field research since it allows me to get out and find specimens, get them and research them”. That is why during the summer, he investigated about a special kind of endangered lizards, got them a special GPS tracker so he could keep them under observation and secure their well-being.

He was also looking forward to study abroad and that is why he took the chance once he realized that UPAEP and OU have the opportunity to send and receive students. One of the main reasons to select the country was the language, he wanted to be in one where Spanish was the main native tongue, “it is pretty useful in the United States to be able to speak Spanish; and I found Mexico pretty interesting because it is so close to my nation; and still; I felt like I knew nothing about it.”

It is William’s first time in Mexico; he arrived making a stop in Monterrey; and just like any other foreigner, there were some prejudices about the nation like almost no one would speak English and he thought that most of the country was a desert area. Besides that, he told us that he always tried to keep an open mind about what he would find here. Once he was in Monterrey, he found out that most of the people would speak English and how big and pretty the city was.

Nevertheless, arriving to Puebla and getting to know the Mexican life style was fun and interesting. “There are a lot of persons on the streets, it is quite chaotic, especially because of the way people drive; it can be quite scary and a little bit amusing; besides, you can find many street  vendors, something I do not see a lot from where I come from.” This was one of his main culture shocks.

When it comes to Will’s Spanish; he studied the language for 6 years; but unfortunately, only 2 of those were real useful courses since during high school, most of the levels were given in one single class. “It was one of those courses that everybody took because of how easy it was; I know the basic stuff, but it is still hard for me when people try to speak like any other Mexican, it is really fast”. Besides this, he can read in our language pretty well.

One of the reasons he is studying abroad has to do with his lectures. Besides studying Biology, his minor is in Spanish and International Studies because he finds them really useful and interesting. Therefore, in order to finish them, he decided to take Literature from the Golden Century and the Renaissance and Language Teaching Methodology in UPAEP.

According to his classes, UPAEP has classrooms with fewer students which make it easier for him to be closer to his lectures. He also loves having Mexican friends because they are a lot of fun and willing to help, most of his classmates study to become language professors; which makes it even greater to learn Spanish.

Besides, UPAES does a great job trying to integrate students in the University community, “they execute it better than in my Institution, and actually, I helped at OU as a student supporter and I will be taking some ideas from UPAEP once I am back in the USA.”

My literature professor is from the United States. It helps me because his accent while talking is the same one as any other American that also teaches Spanish. “UPAEP professors are pretty understandable, they do not mind talking slower or repeating something that I did not catch.”

William is used to very wide and open spaces and saw the difference regarding UPAEP structural distribution. Nevertheless, he stills considers it very pretty and well taken care of. The thing that he likes the most about the campus is the spaces around in order to fill your water bottle. This was another culture shock since finding drinkable water free spaces are not as easy as in the United States.

When it comes to the food, he really likes grilled meat and long pork sausage tacos and never got sick for tasting something in Mexico. However, one food he will not try again would be mole poblano because the strange mixture of chicken, chocolate and sweet and sour is not to his liking. In spite of this, he has a very big open mind to keep tasting everything in order to have a complete exchange experience.

During William’s free time, he has been in Tolantongo which is fascinating due to the water and it warmth. On the other hand, he really looks forward to also go to Veracruz and Puerto Escondido.