For the fourth consecutive year, Jesuit is hosting exchange students from Mexico, allowing them to attempt to experience the United States at a brother Jesuit school. The group of five exchange students will be attending classes like all other students from Jesuit Dallas, hoping to experience a taste of the Jesuit brotherhood.
Championed by Mike Earsing, Tom Garrison, Jesuit Conselors, Richard Perry and Jesuits alike, the exchange program serves as a time for students from Mexico to “share in the American life in Dallas as students and with their new American families,” says Perry, director of community service at Jesuit.
The Mexican exchange students come from the Jesuit Instituto de Ciencias school in Guadalajara Mexico. Perry remarks, “Because we are both Jesuit institutions, we share the same values and a similar approach to education, even though we are in different countries and therefore different cultures.”
However, the Jesuit school in Guadalajara is different in some aspects. Esteban Medrano, an exchange student, points out the fact that it’s an “all-outdoor school” as well as a coed institution of learning. Additionally, Medrano points out that it is the teachers – not the students – who move classrooms, “In our school, the teachers are the ones that move.” Medrano also emphasized the fact that the Instituto de Ciencias is “pretty relaxed. We have a lot of activities, festivals for music, art paintings, a short film-festival, and more. It’s very cultural.”
As far as housing while they are here in Dallas, the exchange students will be staying in the homes of some of our fellow Jesuit Dallas classmates, including the families of Matt Yzaguirre ’13, Christopher Miramontes ’16 and Patrick Miramontes ’15, Cory Hazelbaker ’14 and Kyle Hazelbaker ’15, Andrew Pott ’14, and Justin Rotich ’14.
Jesuit administrators place the exchange students into appropriate classes for their time here. Specifically, Mr. Perry notes that “[the exchange students] do not take Math while here in Dallas since the math curriculum in Mexico is very different. They all take art, share the same homeroom and share the same lunch period. But most exchange students do not attend classes with their Mexican brothers.”
Aside from attending classes here at Dallas Jesuit and taking in the American experience, the exchange students write in a journal each year, and eventually share the journal entries with Jesuit personnel like Mr. Perry. Medrano commented, “We have questions that we can respond to by typing. They are simple questions like: How have your experiences been so far here in Dallas?”
In our interview, Mr. Perry also shared strong, genuine thoughts on the program itself, “I sometimes think that we at Dallas Jesuit benefit even more than the exchange students themselves. Our students enhance their knowledge of another cultural perspective, can engage in Spanish conversations and live the Gospel message of the virtue of hospitality.”
The Roundup also had the chance to speak simultaneously with Matt Yzaguirre ’13 and Esteban, who will be roommates in the Yzaguirre household, and both students were sure to share just how much they were enjoying the experience. Yzaguirre ’13 said, “It’s good because you have a brother. We shoot hoops. We go outside. He likes to workout, so we go to the Y and swim.” Similarly, Medrano said, “We are having a good time. [Yzaguirre] has been taking me out to do a lot of things.”
Yzaguirre explained what he sees as the benefits of the exchange program, “I feel like my new roommate is teaching me about his culture and I am teaching him about our culture, I’ve even learned some new Spanish skills.”
Like all things Jesuit does, this will enrich the Jesuit community and teach the values of being a man for others to all those participating in the program. Hopefully the exchange program will never stop as it provides so much benefit for both the exchange student and the host family alike.