Visiting Canada is an experience Grecia Mariel Gutierrez Lara has been looking forward to for a long time.
Grecia is from the state of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico. She, along with 18 other female students from her home country, is attending a one-month cultural program at the University of Lethbridge.
“Canada I really like it. The lakes, the landscapes, the people are really polite, is really fun. All of Canada’s people are really good persons.”
She’s learning about Canadian society, including First Nations culture. “It’s really amazing because we know about the First Nations here and we found similar process and rituals, ceremonies and dances it was really exciting for us,” she said.
Being an indigenous woman, Grecia is not only interested in learning about First Nations people, but she is also fascinated by Canada’s political climate, especially how women are included.
“I think Canada have the woman is really important and I think the relation with the man is equal,” she said.
She says being an indigenous woman in Mexico isn’t easy and learning about Canadian democracy has given her hope that things can change.
Paul Pan is the Executive Director of the university’s international program. He says programs such as this one are a great way to draw international students to the university.
“These 19 students they have ambitions of doing graduate work in the future, so we are trying to help them with their english proficiency, so they can get to that level and be successful,” he said.
The University of Lethbridge has had an international exchange program for the last 20 years. However, this is the first time the school has brought students from Mexico to campus.