'You have to make it fun': Mexican students learn English and Island culture during visit

Seven students from Mexico are learning English on the Island as part of a program being run through College de l’Ile.

The 7 students arrived at the beginning of July

The 7 students from Mexico arrived on July 3 as part of the Proyecta 10,000 program. (Submitted by College de l'Ile)

Seven students from Mexico are learning English on the Island as part of a program being run through College de l'Ile.

The students arrived on July 3 and will be returning home this weekend.

The four-week English immersion program includes 96 hours of teaching, as well as cultural activities so the participants learn about the Island as well as the language.

Kim Stump (left) with the Mexican students she has been teaching since July 3. (Submitted by College de l'Ile)

This program is part of Proyecta 10,000, an initiative that has the goal of bringing 10,000 Mexican students to Canada between 2015 and 2018, to learn English.

The college hosted five students in 2015, and are hoping to receive another group next year.

'Really amazing'

Kim Stump, the program's coordinator at the college, said the students came in with different levels of experience in speaking English.

She said that when the students first arrived she used Google Translate to make sure all of them understood what was ahead.

The students have been learning English as well as taking in performances at the Confederation Centre, visiting art galleries and learning about music on P.E.I. (Submitted by College de l'Ile)

"After their third week, we don't need Google Translate anymore," she said.

"It's really amazing to see in a short period of time."

Cultural experience

While the students were on the Island they learned about different aspects of P.E.I. culture.

Each week had a different theme — history, heritage, arts and traditions — which helped guide the activities they did.

They learned so much, progressed so much and so quickly and they really enjoyed the program.- Kim Stump

Stump said that practicing English by going to art galleries, the Anne of Green Gables musical and some of the Canada 150 events that were happening made lessons more practical and enjoyable.

"You have to make it fun for students to really want to learn more," she said.

"All the experience was amazing."

'Wonderful families'

The students took English courses on computer, had individual lessons with Stump, and had group learning sessions with guest speakers discussing the history and culture of P.E.I.

They also lived with host families from the area, so they had to speak English when they weren't at school.

The students are living with host families during their stay on the Island. (Submitted by College de l'Ile)

Stump said that the families also took their guests on trips to see Island sites on weekends which brought even more exposure to the English language. 

"They all have wonderful families."

'No hesitation'

Stump said that she was impressed by how eager and motivated the students were to learn, and by how much they were able to accomplish in their short time on the Island.

"They are an amazing group," she said. 

"They learned so much, progressed so much and so quickly and they really enjoyed the program."

"In four weeks it's amazing."

Kim Stump (centre) said that she hopes the college will host another group of students from Mexico next summer. (Submitted by College de l'Ile)

Stump hopes that College de l'Ile will have another group of students from Mexico next summer so she can help them move forward in learning English.

"I would love to," she said.

"With no hesitation."