The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Summer trip to Mexico instills Spanish language

By Ashley Bradley/ne news editor

TCC Spanish students learn to salsa in a native dance class, one of many cultural activities students experience in Mexico. Photo courtesy Jaime Palmer
TCC Spanish students learn to salsa in a native dance class, one of many cultural activities students experience in Mexico. Photo courtesy Jaime Palmer

TCC students interested in immersing themselves in Spanish-speaking cultures can take a study trip to Mexico to learn the language.

The trip to Cuernavaca, Mexico, is a summer session worth seven Spanish credit hours. The course runs June 1-July 8 with the first and last days spent on NE Campus. The rest of the course takes place in cities throughout Mexico.

Required excursions include Teotihuacán, Basílica, Taxco, México City, Xochimico, Xochicalco and Tepoztlán.

The trip costs, totaling $2,782, include round-trip airfare, round-trip bus travel, excursions, registration, tuition at Mexicano de Español y Cultura, room and board with a Mexican family and insurance.

NE student Mary Gasway said despite the cost, no price can be put on the experience.

“Cuernavaca is a second home to me,” she said. “I’ve been with TCC twice. I did whatever I could to go the second time. I had garage sales and even begged my sister for money to go back.”

With four Spanish courses completed, Gasway said the best way she learned Spanish was by going to Cuernavaca, forcing her to speak it daily.

“The fact that you are not in your own home setting makes you have to speak their language,” she said. “The feeling is like being a child beginning to read. Once you start picking it up, it becomes exciting to recognize words and phrases.”

Matthew Buckingham went last summer and said his favorite aspect was the people.

“They have this unity,” he said. “Families really work together.”

He said his favorite excursion was to Taxco.

“They had the purest silver I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Spanish instructor and trip leader Jaime Palmer said he also enjoys Taxco.

“It has a colonial appeal, and its culture is directly from southern Spain,” he said. “The scenery is very picturesque.”

Palmer has been leading the trip 18 of the past 21 years.

“The first year I was asked to go, I was totally unprepared, but I went anyway,” Palmer said. “Students come back from the trip much more fluent [in Spanish]. They try to find reasons to get back to Cuernavaca.”

Palmer said every year he goes on the trip, he has a life-changing experience. He said he loves taking students to a place where he knows they will learn something.

“I have had so many transitional experiences through my students,” he said.

He said it is easy to have a great time because the host families are so caring and loving that it makes the experience that much better.

NE student Anthony Carroccio said taking the trip was the best thing he has ever done with TCC. He said he felt safe the entire time and was surprised at how easy it was to learn the language when submerged in it.

“I withdrew from Spanish II, and I didn’t do well in the first course,” he said, “but within the first couple weeks, I was already able to communicate with my host family.”

He said though he wasn’t good at the language at first, he plans on studying it more and possibly making it his minor.

Those interested in signing up for the class in what Palmer calls “The City of Eternal Spring” should contact him at 817-515-6932 or in NFAC 3204A.

“When Jaime told me that this would be a life-changing experience, he really was telling me a mouthful,” Gasway said. “He couldn’t have been more right.”

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