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Inaugural Rice in Mexico focuses on sustainable business practices

Courtesy Aymara Boggiano

By Keegan Leibrock     1/9/24 11:01pm

Rice is offering a new Rice in Mexico program this summer through the Center for Languages and Intercultural Communication. The program is aimed at business majors interested in traveling abroad while taking courses in Spanish and sustainable business practices.

Aymara Boggiano, a senior lecturer at the Center for Languages and Intercultural Communication and the program organizer, said that the program includes two courses taught within the city of Merida, Mexico.

“One [course] is SPAN 322, which is part of the Spanish certificate and also taught on Rice campus,” Boggiano said. “The other is SPAN 324. It’s more of a hands-on practical course that is taught by local faculty, geared toward sustainable business practices in the area.”

Boggiano said that the new location was chosen because of its relative proximity to Houston and because there is an established educational provider, the Institute for Study Abroad.

“We didn’t want to do it in Spain because [we] already have the Rice in Spain program for pre-med students, so we looked into Peru and Costa Rica, but they did not have the business focus we were looking for,” Boggiano said. “Eventually, we settled on Merida, Mexico, due to its proximity and the fact that we found a provider who has worked in the area successfully for many years.”

Boggiano said that the program is part of Rice’s broader effort to create study abroad programs geared toward non-pre-med students.

“[The CLIC] found that there was a good deal of interest that grew recently with more students coming in to study business,” Boggiano said. “We decided it was important to have a business-focused study abroad program that runs parallel to medical Rice study abroad programs.”

Colin Buechler-Neimeyer, a Duncan College sophomore, said that he plans to apply for the program as it aligns with his academic and study abroad goals.

“I’m a business major and I’ve always been interested in studying abroad, so this checks the box of that while also allowing me to fulfill SPAN 322, a requirement for my Spanish certification,” Buecherler-Neimeyer said.

According to Boggiano, students must sign a pledge to only speak Spanish while attending the program abroad. Buechler-Neimeyer said that he hopes to attend the program to improve his Spanish-speaking skills. 

“I would love an opportunity where I’m speaking Spanish all the time. I’m taking a Spanish course here, but when I leave the classroom, I typically don’t continue speaking Spanish,” Buechler-Neimeyer said. “I hope that being able to live in an environment where I have to constantly speak Spanish will enable me to become fluent.”

The deadline to apply to the program through the CLIC website is Sunday, Jan. 21.

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