Mérida, Yucatán — UADY students preparing to become English teachers will pair with native-English speakers from the Mérida English Library under a joint program.
Several months ago, Julia Stewart, a U.S. Fulbright scholar working with UADY’s school of education, met with library board member Martha Lindley, the newsletter explains, and from that initial contact, the new program was born. The partnership was announced in MEL’s January newsletter.
MEL members, including Laura Perkins, Dan Karnes, Martha Lindley, and Deborah Thompson, met with Stewart, UADY dean Julieta Guerrero, and Professor Luz Maria Viera Castro over a period of weeks to design the program.
“Stewart and Viera Castro explained that UADY students preparing to teach English needed more meaningful interaction with native speakers, both to boost their language skills and to better understand the culture. Many students, they added, do not have the financial means to live or study abroad, which adds a barrier to learning and practicing English,” according to MEL.
Over the next four months, several dozen MEL members will volunteer 20 hours to help students, who will keep journals about their experiences along with notations of the new English expressions they have learned.
UADY, or the Universidad Autonóma de Yucatán, is the public university of the Yucatan.
“The new partnership is a win-win for both the expat community and UADY. It will help expats forge stronger relationships within the Yucatecan community. It will give UADY students the chance to boost their English skills and make new friendships with native speakers, both of which can help them become better English instructors,” the MEL newsletter noted.
“The program begins a new chapter in the Library’s relationship with our local host community. We deeply appreciate the opportunity to engage with UADY and its students, and we applaud the willingness of our members to become involved.”