Four CNM Students Travel to Colombia as Part of Global Ed Program

November 29, 2016 -- Four CNM students recently traveled to Medellin, Colombia as part of an exchange program with Colombia’s Servicio National de Aprendizaje (SENA) to participate in a one-month Cisco Systems computer networking certification program. SENA is a technical school with campuses throughout Colombia.
Four CNM Students Travel to Colombia as Part of Global Ed Program

Nov 29, 2016

The students, who included Pedro Vergara-Frias, Steven Gilliland, Muriel Chischilly and Jesse Schultz, were part of a CNM Global Education student exchange program with SENA that took them to Colombia Oct. 22 through Nov. 5.  For the second two weeks of the exchange, Nov. 5 to Nov. 19, five Colombian students came to CNM to participate in the training at the Workforce Training Center (WTC).

“The trip as a whole was one of the best cultural experiences I’ve been a part of,” said Vergara-Frias a, former CNM student who currently works as an audio visual technician at the WTC. “We built relationships that will hopefully last forever. We also learned a lot about computer networking and grew professionally by getting Cisco certification.”

He said that as a result of the Cisco certification, he now has the opportunity to work for an IT department as part of a networking team.

Since CNM received a grant from President Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas Initiative, the fee for the one month training was $500, which included round-trip airfare from Albuquerque to Medellin, hotel accommodations, meals, cultural events, course materials and the Certified Cisco Network Associate (CCNA) exam (exam fee is $300).

Cisco is a company that develops, manufactures and sells networking hardware, telecommunications equipment and other high-tech products. They offer a range of IT certification training and testing programs to meet the needs of IT professionals. The certification focus of the CNM group was on routing and switching.

The classes were all in English, but the participants were required to be proficient in Spanish at the basic conversation level. During the two-weeks in Medellin, the CNM students received instruction in Spanish and while in Albuquerque, the SENA students received instruction in English.

While in Medellin, the students were immersed in the Colombian culture and visited local points of interest.

“We toured the city and visited cultural and historical sites, an adventure park and several museums and attractions, including the Botero museum, a natural sciences museum in Colombia called Explora, a geological formation called La Piedra de El Penol, a planetarium and a scale model of traditional architecture,” Schulz said.

The students also had the opportunity to meet with the SENA president – just as the Colombian students met with CNM President Kathie Winograd.

The student exchange with Colombia’s SENA was made possible by President Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas Initiative grant, which is the White House’s “signature education initiative in the Western Hemisphere designed to foster region-wide prosperity through greater international exchange of students.” CNM received a $40,000 grant to work with SENA on this student exchange.

This was the first international student exchange for CNM’s Global Education program, which is aiming to increase the global competence of CNM students and empower them with the ability to compete, connect, and collaborate on a global scale. CNM’s Global Education program will also provide the flexibility and support of a community college to learners worldwide. Components of the initiative include education abroad, international students on campus, workforce development and internationalizing curriculum.