Student organization crosses international boundaries
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
By Rebecca Guerrero
After noticing the issues international students face after graduation, pre-business majors Maria Fernandez Fiscal, junior, David Garcia, junior, and Rodolfo Vazquez, senior, created Visión México, a new campus organization.
“The idea came up because we as founders believe that there are many other students like us who want to go back to Mexico and succeed in the workforce,” Fernandez said. “However, as the time passes, we sometimes lose connections back in our country while being here. So we thought, why not implement something new to the university that did not only encourage us to find the ideal job in the United States, but in Mexico too?”
Visión México is meant to address the issue of international students no longer having permission to reside in the U.S. once their student visa expires.
“Each year it seems as if there are fewer opportunities for international graduate students to obtain a work visa,” said Paloma Pelayo, sophomore communication major and member of the organization. “Visión México supports, encourages and motivates Mexican students in their search for a job in Mexico.”
The organization aims to become the liaison between UTEP international students and various companies, both local and international, operating in Mexico by implementing an internal job bank. The organization also hopes to provide information about programs that enable international students to legally work in the U.S. through post graduation programs such as Occupational Practical Training and Curricular Practical Training, which are specifically for international students.
“We can share the knowledge we are receiving with others who did not have the chance to study in the United States,” Fernandez said. “There are many offices and workshops focusing primarily on helping the current UTEP students apply for an internship in the States, but there aren’t any caring about those successful Mexican students who want to go back to their country, so we want to change that.”
As the founders of Visión México have discovered, creating a new campus organization requires a fair amount of work.
“We didn’t have a name to start with,” Fernandez said. “We had the idea but it was missing structure and setting the main objectives wasn’t easy.”
Fernandez said plans for the organization began in early summer. The group met with political science professor Irasema Coronado who helped them organize their thoughts and put them in contact with people who might be interested in participating. The group has steadily increased from three to 14 active members and they are currently recruiting more members during Saturday meetings. Their goal now is promoting the organization and getting their message out.
According to Pelayo, the organization has already held a successful fundraiser. A launch event was also held on Sept. 12.
“We count on the support of UTEP President Diana Natalicio, the University Career Center, the Office of International Programs, and professors Dr. Contreras from the College of Engineering and Dr. Irasema Coronado from the Department of Political Science,” Pelayo said.
According to the founders, they are excited about Visión México not only because they have been receiving so much positive feedback from students, who share the desire of going back to Mexico after graduation, but because they view it as their contribution to UTEP’s centennial celebration.
“In this short period that Visión México was created we found a lot of altruistic, exceptional, entrepreneurial and passionate people,” said Garcia, president of the organization. “I’ve always thought that the engine that keeps the world spinning is anything that makes people passionate about something, and that’s when amazing things happen. Visión México is integrated by very passionate people. That is why I strongly believe that we can make a difference with this organization.”
Fiscal also believes that Visión México is their opportunity to make a change within Mexico.
“Going back is not a failure, on the contrary it means being brave enough to confront the situation that Mexico is living in now, and being brave enough to do a little for our country and not complain about the negative things but try to change them,” Fernandez said.
Students interested in joining can go to minetracker.utep.edu/organization/VisionMexico.
Rebecca Guerrero may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.