Mexican consul addresses students at BCCC

Published 3:19 pm Thursday, May 4, 2017

Students at Beaufort County Community College had a chance to practice their Spanish and learn about Mexico at an event to help increase understanding of both the country and the culture.

Monica Colin, the consul for community political, economic and cultural affairs at the Consulate General of Mexico in Raleigh, explained the purpose of a consulate and answered questions about travel to Mexico. Students currently taking Spanish classes were able to ask questions in Spanish or practice interpreting for Colin.

The Mexican Consulate in Raleigh serves the 500,000 Mexican nationals who live in North Carolina and the 200,000 who live in South Carolina. She talked about the daily responsibilities carried out by the consulate, including helping nationals navigate the U.S. health care system, helping provide passports and visas and even helping families get relatives who have died in the United States back to Mexico.

Another role of Colin is to help increase understanding of Mexico. She pointed out that Mexico City has more museums than any other city in the world. The food varies widely from state to state.

“I will show people pictures of cities and ask them if they are in Mexico, France or England,” Colin said. “They always say France or England, even though all of them are taken in Mexico.”

“I had a lawyer I work with ask me if we had cars in Mexico,” Colin recalled.

Students asked her questions about destinations, seasons and food in Mexico. Colin would answer in Spanish to give students the chance to hone their interpretation skills. When asked about Americans living in Mexico, she pointed out that about 1 million Americans are living in Mexico illegally.

The visit was part of a series of programs put on my Spanish instructor Jose Mendoza to increase understanding of Latino culture. Students previously had the opportunity to sample different foods while practicing their Spanish conversations skills.