Colombia: Cross Cultural Conversations with Rural High Schoolers

Columbian students in soccer uniforms.

Make a transformational difference for rural youth in Colombia through informal virtual cultural exchange in English.

Project description

Colegio Custodio García Rovira is a high school in Malaga Santander, Colombia, that was founded in 1925. The school has a proud history and a fundamental commitment to the right of education for children, youth, and adults in the region, and the development of the community towards improving quality of life. The school focuses on learning and development of ethical, moral, and social values. The school is committed to the inclusion of children with special needs and provides humanitarian services for those in need, in addition to training students to make humanitarian contributions in the world. Educational preparation also includes science and research, making appropriate and responsible use of technological tools, and other areas of specialization and focus.

Despite these great attributes, our school struggles with challenges associated with limited resources and high poverty experienced by the families of our students. While education represents an important pathway for success and achievement, the students are limited in their exposure to cross cultural-opportunities and interaction with English speakers, which in turn affects their performance on important educational exams and future opportunities.

We are excited to partner with UB students through the ELN Project Portal to develop an informal conversation and cultural exchange program with the following goals and structure:

  • Synchronous conversation  sessions with a focus on cultural exchange.
    • For the Spring 2023 semester, synchronous sessions will take place on Thursdays from 3-4p.m. EST before daylight saving time begins on 3/12. Sessions will take place from 4-5pm EST after 3/12.   
  • UB students will lead conversations (remotely) with 11th grade high school students with the goal of improving conversational skills and facilitating cross-cultural interactions. 
  • Students will assist with the development of  Professional Development (PD) activities and supplemental resources for the teachers' instruction, practices, and/or curriculum. 

Project outcome

There are many options for your project outcome, which you can determine with the project mentor. Typically, the best option is to develop a PowerPoint presentation about your experience.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment February 16, 2023- May 4, 2023
Start time February 16, 2023
In-person, remote, or hybrid?
Level of collaboration Individually within a group of collaborative partners.
Benefits Volunteer experience or course credit for those enrolled in SPA 324.
Who is eligible All undergraduate students are welcome. Some level of Spanish is preferred, but not required. 

Core partners

Project mentor

Melissa McCarron

Clinical Assistant Professor of Spanish

Department of Romance Languages and Literatures

938 Clemens Hall

Phone: (716) 645-1735


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase.