Challenges in Water ResourcesLocation of Program: Mexico Year: 2013
Program Director(s): Rollin Hotchkiss
Participating Major(s): Civil and Environmental Engineering
Students were set apart into groups so they could be able to work with other students from local universities. Each group was given water resources and transportation projects to work on throughout the week and at the end of the week the groups proposed their resolutions.
Recap of the Year:
The 2013 Engineering Mexico Study Abroad was a mixture of culture, work, historical visits, and amazing food! The location of the study abroad was in the town of Guanajuato, a rustic old mining town that is home to Guanajuato University. During the first week, the mornings and afternoons were dedicated to working with students from two local universities (Guanajuato and Zacatecas) on water resources and transportation related projects. Groups were a mixture of students from all three universities, and if you didn’t speak Spanish, communication was done through an interpreter or charades! The evenings were spent exploring the town, meeting new people, dancing, and eating. At the end of the week, the groups presented their solutions to the projects they were given, and the friendships were commemorated by an evening of games and a delicious barbeque.
The next few days were spent in Mexico City. On the trip down to Mexico City we stopped at Teotihuacan, ancient Mesoamerican ruins that contain the well-known Pyramids of the Sun and Moon. The next two days are spent exploring Mexico city, including visits to the Templo Mayor, an ancient Aztec Temple, the National Palace, home to dozens of Diego Rivera murals, and the Metropolitan Cathedral, one of the oldest and largest cathedrals in the Americas. Another highlight was the ability to attend church in both Guanajuato and Mexico City. Even those students who didn’t speak Spanish were able to feel the spirit and love of the local congregation. Sadly, the trip had to end, bringing the students back to reality, as well as the midterms they had missed while embracing the amazing life and culture of Mexico.
Quotes from Students:
“The trip to Mexico added value to my engineering education at BYU. First of all, I enjoyed the chance to be on a diverse team and work through a practical engineering problem. I learned from our fellow team mates certain positive work ethics I wouldn't have had otherwise, like respecting the opinions of those that I work on a team.The culture was also my next favorite thing. I am glad that the program coordinators offered us the chance to experience the culture with the few days that was set aside to see museums, attend church, shop, eat and all that good stuff. It was a very key part because it helped me develop a greater love for the people we were working with and among.”
“In Mexico we worked with Mexican students to analyze a small river that has had flooding problems. We brainstormed several ideas for solutions to the problem and finally came to the simplest, cheapest solution which was to use flash boards around the bridges and fences to minimize flooding until the water has passed through. The experience was great for me. I really enjoyed experiencing the Mexican culture and learning some of their history. I also really enjoyed the food (duh). It helped me develop my confidence and teamwork because it was one of my first "real world" projects so I got to see how engineers work to solve real problems.”
“The study abroad to Mexico was an amazing experience for two main reasons. The first is that I was able to dive into a culture I knew very little about and develop friendships with the students and faculty there. I was able to embrace the culture, and in so doing, the culture embraced me. Not to mention I ate at least a dozen tacos and tamales every day! The second reason is that it gave me the confidence in my own engineering abilities. The projects we completed were hands on, realistic engineering projects. Being able to take field data, analyze the data, and then propose realistic solutions increased my confidence in my own abilities. For those reasons I am truly grateful that I participated in the Mexico 2013 study abroad.”