Colorado Mesa University (CMU) in Grand Junction, Colorado, is an ideal small town in the American West. At the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers and in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, this mid-size city of sixty-one thousand people is charming, easy-going, and adventurous. For an international college student, Grand Junction is a dream come true– comfortably sized, full of welcoming people, and lots of potential for fun, excitement, and learning.
BridgePathways at Colorado Mesa University has been welcoming international students to the region since 2014. This fall, Bridge and CMU hosted their third cohort of students from Mexico as part of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative, known as Proyecta 100,000. This public-private sector initiative is a collaboration between the U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA, to increase student mobility within the Americas, with a goal of moving 100,000 students between Latin America and the U.S. by 2020.
This year’s Proyecta 100,000 cohort consisted of 18 college students who studied English as a Second Language in an intensive program at the Bridge language center on the CMU campus. The program took place from October 22rd through November 18th. During these four weeks, Proyecta students lived in the on-campus residence halls and with host families, and shared their classrooms with American students and other international students from China, France, Japan, and Taiwan.
In addition to being an educational and linguistic exchange for the participants, the program also strongly focuses on developing cultural understanding and engagement between Mexico and the USA. This year’s cohort participated in myriad activities during their four weeks in Grand Junction, including being ‘adopted’ by a CMU professor for a weekend and taken on unique adventures in the area, visiting the Museum of Western Colorado, going canyoneering in western Utah, encountering fresh snow (and for the first time ever, for some!), participating in a Halloween costume contest, and visiting a class of American college students who are studying Spanish at CMU. The students were able to share parts of their culture with their American peers, participating in campus-wide extracurricular discussion groups, meeting members of the university’s administration, and giving a public presentation on the background and cultural importance of the dia de los muertos holiday and celebrations in Mexico.
At the end of the program, the students in the cohort were sad to leave, and they and their new American and international friends wished that they could continue studying, learning, and exploring in Grand Junction all together. The vibrant energy, kindness, and spirit of adventure of this year’s Proyecta 100,000 cohort left a bright and positive mark in the Bridge and CMU communities. Many great friendships were forged, and the legacy left by all three Proyecta 100,000 cohorts that have studied with Bridge at CMU has been greatly strengthened.
Bridge wishes our wonderful Proyecta 100,000 students all the best in their future academic pursuits, and hopes to welcome another group next year!
Click here to learn more about Colorado Mesa University and other Bridge partner universities that offer Academic English programs and direct and conditional admission for international students.