Simpson seniors spend summer studying in Mexico


Submitted to The Simpsonian

Simpson seniors Madeline Gude and Korie Torres both spent a month studying in Mexico this summer.

by Jenna Prather, Staff Reporter

Through the guidance of one Simpson College alumni, two current seniors majoring in Spanish were able to get the right connections in order to spend their summers traveling across Mexico. 

Madeline Gude, who is majoring in Spanish and music with a minor in secondary education, and Korie Torres–who is majoring in political science, Spanish and international relations–both said they jumped on the opportunity to travel.

Miguel Ceron, the director of the Institute of Modern Spanish, a Simpson Alumni, was able to help these two students find resources to travel to Mexico. 

Torres studied in Mexico during May and June, and Gude went during July and August.
“I feel like it was pretty important that we went,” Gude said. “Because we didn’t get to take the May term, so this was kind of our last chance to study abroad.”

COVID-19’s effects on travel meant seniors majoring in Spanish were left with only one opportunity through Simpson to travel – studying abroad in Chile during the spring 2022 semester. 

“For me, as a senior, I didn’t want to miss out on the last semester of my senior year,” Torres said. “So, one month during the summer was fine by me.”

Gude was accepted for a full-ride scholarship from the Institute of Modern Spanish that paid for the classes she took there and the housing. 

“It was a three-page application, not too heavy,” Gude said. “It just asked things like who I am, what am I getting from this trip, how this trip pertains to me, how am I going to use these skills from this trip in the future.” 

Torres paid for the trip on her own. 

“I paid for it out of pocket,” Torres said. “So, I did not receive the scholarship.”

Both Gude and Torres found out about the trip through connections or by reaching out on their own.

“My sister went here [to Simpson] a few years before I did and she had applied for this trip,” Gude said. “So, I was aware of it, but it was only sent out in an email. So, it wasn’t hugely marketed, but I had a few connections.”

After the cancellation of the “Mexico in the Mayan World” May term, Torres searched for alternative options to complete her Spanish degree. 

“To graduate with all the requirements for the Spanish degree, you need to study abroad. So, I contacted both faculty in the Spanish department, and I was like, ‘Hi ladies, how can I study abroad, I just need four more credits, and they told me that I could do what they called an independent study abroad in Mérida.”

Gude said she pushes for students to branch out of their comfort zones and take a risk. 

“I think it’s important that if students are looking to get out of their comfort zone and doing something exciting during their college experience, to talk to their professors to kind of seek out trips. Like ‘Where can I go? What can I do? How can I make my college experience better?’ The cultural experience opens your eyes immensely, even though it’s kind of a scary thing to consider,” Gude said.

Torres encouraged students to go in with an open mind and to get rid of previously conceived notions and stereotypes of where they are going to be traveling, such as how people dress, eat, look, speak and act. 

“Go into it willing to learn and experience a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Torres said.