Stretching Beyond the Border in Mexicali to Learn International Trade

Posted: Monday, May 1st 2017 at 9:29 AM

Twenty-three FCB students spent spring break in the border town of Mexicali, Mexico to learn about International trade. They were accompanied by faculty advisors, Geoffrey Dick, instructor (MGT); Nancy Baca, lecturer (ECO/FIN); and Paul Thomas, executive-in-residence. Those participating on this week long study abroad trip, March 13–17, 2017 were Giulia Paulet, Sabrina Colin, Michaela Curry, Kristin Urban, Sarah West, Karen Bujanda, Hien Truong, Nanxue  Zhao, Rebecca Ruiz, Aitong Jiang, Cynthia Suster, Jaclyn Nishihira, Arizbeth Diaz, Jenna Anderson, Kiana Korte, Chance Dingman, Tanner Massahos, Christopher Forgach, Edgar Martin, Marisol Garcia, Ocean Young, Matthew Johnson, and Jonathan Neal.

The experience began with leaving the vehicle in Calexico, California and walking across the border into Mexicali. To the surprise of many, the city is more industrial and less of a tourist destination. Baca said students “got to see a Mexico that a lot of people don’t get to see.”

As the week progressed, participants visited Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superior (CETYS) to attend lectures held by professors and to meet CETYS students that attended. They were given the opportunity to hear about international trade from Mexico's perspective. This was surprisingly different from what most students thought. They also received information on the government and other business topics.

“Through conversation with [CETYS students] , I found that their insights on many issues are much more in-depth,” said Zhao. “It was interesting to learn their perspectives on certain topics, such as stereotypes and government.”

The hotel they stayed at was close to the University which allowed for more bonding and learning to come from the interaction with the CETYS students.

“Ultimately, discussing business endeavors and investing opportunities with students from CETYS Universidad and their professors was a life-changing and beneficial experience for our future careers,” reminisced Paulet.

“I will always value the new relationships I was able to build with the University students of Mexicali, all made possible through this program,” shared Suster.

Students also participated in cultural immersion activities like visiting Chinatown and eating authentic food. “The authentic Chinese and Mexican food was unlike anything I have ever tasted and it really opened my eyes to the diversity in the area,” stated Korte.

Students also toured the Honeywell plant to see the products they produce. They heard about how international trade works and how Honeywell works with customs to export products to the United States. Here is where students learned, “how important the trade relationship is and how the producers in Mexico are trying to stabilize the relationships given the current administration,” stated Baca.

One of the most intriguing parts of the trip was their visit to the customs station to see how products are inspected before being imported to the U.S. “It was fascinating to see the Mexicali Customs for import and export,” said Zhao. “And how companies try to work with all those laws to minimize their cost and maximize their profit.”

When the week concluded, and the group returned to Flagstaff, they brought back valuable knowledge and perspectives of foreign business and international trade. Baca, Dick, and Thomas hope to make this trip possible in the future, and are looking to visit more business plants to broaden these international perspectives.

“Overall, it was a very memorable spring break shared with FCB faculty and fellow business students,” Colin shared. “I hope that this program can be offered again so that others can share this experience.”

The students look forward to strengthening their new-found relationships with CETYS Universidad students who are planning a reciprocal visit to the FCB in April.

Categories: centro de enseñanza técnica y superior cetys geoffrey dick nancy baca paul thomas giulia paulet sabrina colin michaela curry kristin urban sarah west karen bujanda hien truong nanxue zhao rebecca ruiz aitong jiang cynthia suster jaclyn nishihira arizbeth diaz jenna anderson kiana korte chance dingman tanner massahos christopher forgach edgar martin marisol garcia ocean young matthew johnson jonathan neal mexicali study abroad 2017