University of North Texas student Andrea Fleming helped students from a university in Mexico form questions in English on Wednesday.
Ten students from Autonomous University of the State of Mexico at Toluca (UAEM) wrote questions about family life during a culture class as part of ESL Summer Institute hosted by UNT’s Department of Linguistics and Technical Communication.
The students then surveyed other people on the UNT campus to find out about family life in the United States.
“Is it better to leave at home?” Fleming read aloud from one of the student’s papers. “Not leave, but live,” she said. “L-i-v-e.”
One of Cintia Mendez’s questions was, “How much time do you spend with family?”
Mendez, 29, is a teacher at UAEM and enjoys learning languages.
She was surprised by how individualistic people are in the United States.
“That was shocking for us,” she said.
Mendez said that in Mexico, most 20-somethings still live with their parents.
“That’s part of our culture, to live with family,” she said.
But American television accurately portrays life here, she said, especially university life.
During the culture class, students explore various topics, including food, friends, family, popular culture and trends.
After they learned about each of these topics, the students would come up with about five questions to ask people they meet on campus.
“The surveys have been extremely helpful,” Fleming said.
During the English immersion institute, which began Tuesday and runs through Sunday, students have spent mornings practicing their speaking skills, and in the afternoon they have attended workshops, including business English, oral presentation skills and performing arts.
In the evenings, students took field trips to places such as Rangers Ballpark in Arlington or visited area homes for a meal.
Rodrigo Rebollo Rios, 30, wore a Texas Rangers shirt Wednesday in preparation for the game later that evening.
Rios enjoys traveling, and that’s why he decided to attend the institute. He’s studying architecture at UAEM.
He said it was interesting to see students wear their school colors and be proud of their university.
It was Martha Hernandez’s third year to attend the summer institute.
“My first time, I didn’t speak English well,” said Hernandez, who is a computer science teacher at UAEM.
But she’s learned a lot through the full-immersion program.
Hernandez had a “Thanksgiving” dinner with Fleming and her mother Sunday as part of the institute.
Before visiting the United States, she thought Americans only ate hamburgers and pizza, as portrayed in movies, she said.
After dinner with Fleming, she said, “we realized they eat good.” She also learned about the Thanksgiving celebration.
“I think this is a very good program,” Hernandez said.
RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.