From April 27 to the 29th, the LA branch of IYF (International Youth Fellowship) organized a total of 85 volunteers from the Los Angeles, San Jose, and Texas region to drive down to Mexicali in nine vehicles to teach English to 500 high school and university students at the Universidad Automa de Baja California in Mexicali, Mexico.
Activities organized for the students by IYF’s English Camp division included three 50-minute English lectures, six Mini Academy workshops—Sushi Making, Tae Kwon Do, CPR, Korean Culture, English Idioms, and Dance, activities such as Steal the Bacon and others, “Mexicali Idol”—the singing competition, as well as a Scavenger Hunt that encouraged the students to converse only in English to solve the clues.
Although 1,000 students signed up for the English Camp, there were only enough spots for 500 students this year.
Icela Lopez, an English teacher at the university commented, “I like the way my students are enjoying the activities of this program. I like that they feel happy.”
Abraham Paredes, a second year student who is currently majoring in languages hopes that English Camp could happen more often, “I think English camp was really great. I took the Idiom and CPR workshops. The Idiom class was very fun. This was my first time and it was amazing.”
Donna Gardner, a high school volunteer from Riverside, California, comments on the differences she saw between the United States and Mexicali, “It’s really different here. Everything is in Spanish. The chips are in Spanish. Everybody’s favorite food seems to be tacos. I asked my students what their favorite food was, they all said tacos. But something interesting I found out was there are no ‘burritos’ here. They call them ‘tacos.’ I really wish I could speak Spanish so I can help more people.”
Martha Montano, one of the adult school students who participated in English camp, was excited about the Mini Academy classes, especially the sushi workshop, “The sushi chef didn’t need a helper but I really wish I could have been his helper. I have been waiting for the class—I went to the sushi workshop three times in a row!”
Mexicali is the capital of the State of Baja California and is situated on the US-Mexico border adjacent to Calexico, California. Its standard of living is one of the highest in Mexico. Its inland desert location makes it one of the ten hottest cities in the world, easily reaching over 100 °F, especially in July.
IYF has 20 branches in the west coast and its English Camp Program regularly organizes volunteers to teach English abroad in international locations like Mexico, Korea, and Africa. To become a volunteer, such as at the Ensenada, Mexico location this May, visit: www.iyfworldcamp.com.
Reporter-Berenice Camargo Díaz