My Host University

The university OU is partnered with in Puebla is called UPAEP- la universidad privada autonoma del estado de Puebla, or the autonomous private university of the state of Puebla. It’s officially a Catholic university, but most students are taking pre-professional courses rather than religious studies. Popular tracks for local students are engineering, business, and medicine. One major difference between UPAEP and OU is that medicine in Mexico is a four-year degree and doesn’t require post-grad work. This means that pre-med students from OU can receive clinical experience at UPAEP that wouldn’t be available in the USA until med school.

There are several similar experiences for other lines of study: one math major in my cohort taught mathematics in English to high school students and was reimbursed with food (it’s illegal to receive a salary from a Mexican job if you’re there on a student visa). I taught English to a group of disadvantaged, largely indigenous UPAEP students who were required to study the language to receive their scholarships. I helped them with their homework, designed worksheets and listening activities, and talked them through grammar in both English and Spanish. You aren’t officially required to know Spanish in order to teach English with the UPAEP program, but some students don’t have very much English, so Spanish is a great help in explaining concepts to them.

OU has a study center in Puebla, which makes the life of an OU student in Puebla infinitely easier than one in, say, Santiago, Chile. For example, when you study abroad, your classes at the host university have to be assigned an equivalent course at OU. At many universities, you may be required to save all your course materials and when you get back, those materials might have to be evaluated by the head of your department in order for you to receive credit. At UPAEP, however, many courses are pre-equated, so you don’t have to hoard your Service Learning worksheets.

OU has a designated classroom and a lounge in the main building on campus. (The lounge has a computer and offered free printing during my semester. Try finding that anywhere else at OU!) Every year, OU sends down a professor (in my semester there were two professors, a married couple) to teach courses at UPAEP. These courses count towards your OU GPA, unlike courses taken directly through UPAEP, which is good if you want to improve your grades. The courses also relate to Mexico: in my semester, we took courses on the politics of Mexico and Latin America, and in the spring of 2018 there will be courses on indigenous Mexicans and the environment. There really is something for everyone.




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