Forget about that pesky wall idea and learn how the US military industrial complex sends students to town each year to immerse them in local history and culture, a story you surely won’t see on the news.
The cadets studying Spanish at the US Air Force Academy in Boulder, Colorado arrive each June to immerse themselves in their neighbor’s Spanish speaking culture.
Each group of students starts with one of my History and Culture Walking Tours so they’ll have knowledge of what is going on around them while in San Miguel. Next they meet their host families providing lodging, meals and fun before starting school where they’ll be immersed in two hours of Spanish grammar plus two hours of conversations daily.
But classes don’t stop at Spanish. Cadets take classes in salsa dancing, singing Mexican folk songs, learning to paint Mexican styled art, plus cooking classes making mole and tres leche cakes.
In addition there are weekend field trips to Guanajuato for more on the history of Independence and Queretaro to visit the airplane making factories there.
The visit culminates at a party at my house for the host families. Here the cadets spend the day cooking comida. Then they will sing songs and dance the choreographies they’ve learned just for this event. Their paintings will be displayed with personal explanations of the art.
Then every cadet gives a presentation of something that struck a chord with them during their immersion experience. It might be on music, art, food, language, customs or most anything. I’m always pleased when one picks a topic from my tour being amazed they remembered any of it two weeks later!
Then each host family receives taffy and t-shirts from the Academy.
When my daughter was younger I’d hound her to come visit this time of year and do some husband shopping. Here our home was filled with young, well-mannered men that all had jobs waiting for them that included healthcare! This year I realized she missed her window as now being a spinster a quarter of century old she’s too long in the tooth for these lads. Heavy parental sigh! Opportunity is never a lengthy visitor.
I’m always happy and excited to meet the cadets and the teacher that makes the effort to have young soldiers learn so much about Mexico. Even if they never make it to Mexico again for the rest of their lives, the pilots certainly leave with a suitcase full of good memories and cultural sensitivity!
Plus the knowledge that the fountain on Recreo is dedicated for the Mexican Air Force pilots that lost their lives fighting in the Pacific during World War Two.
Joseph Toone is the Historical Society’s short-story award winning author of the SMA Secrets book series. All books in the series are Amazon bestsellers in Mexican Travel and Holidays. Toone is SMA’s expert and TripAdvisor’s top ranked historical tour guide telling the stories behind what we do in today’s SMA. Visit HistoryAndCultureWalkin