By Claudia Solis
A high school student from León, the entrepreneurial city of the state of Guanjuato, came to me and asked about programs the focus on aboriginal culture. I was amazed by her questions and her knowledge of the aboriginal peoples of Canada.
Lupita, as she likes to be called was unlike most students I’ve encountered. Being a foreigner to Canadian culture and 18 years old, it surprised me to hear her talk with familiarity about the Inuit and a few well-known objects of their daily lives: the Inukshuk and the Ulu. I enjoyed chatting with her and was reminded of how knowledge of Canada’s multiculturalism and its indigenous peoples has increased in Mexico.
This encounter is only a snapshot of the people we’ve met at the Poliforum León education fair, which attracted over 1,200 students over the five hours the fair was open. I find it very interesting to learn that there is a rising appetite in Mexican students to find schools and programs with aboriginal content. This is just one example, but in the future, it may become a trend.
The Imagine fairs in Mexico included the cities of Guadalajara, León, Querétaro and Mexico City, and attracted over 7000 visitors, 60 institutions and four provincial governments. In its 2014, we expect this figure to increase. The success of the fairs is partly due to the image and reputation of Canada as a model country in Mexico.
Mexicans are aware of the excellence of the Canadian education system in English and French, which is known to be one of the best in the world. Local students perceive Canada as an inviting destination for study: Canada is a compassionate country where youth is heard, and where innovation is encouraged.
There are over 8000 Mexican students that enter Canada to study every year and the number is growing fast. It is a safe and clean environment, just a few hours away by plane from Mexico, which reassures parents that their children are close and in good hands. Knowledge of the benefits of Canadian education as a door opener for international jobs is also expanding rapidly in Mexico.