ACU, Mexican students taking part in international
From the Abilene
June 10, 1999
By ANNA L. DEROCHER
Staff Writer, Abilene-Reporter
Siboney Velaquez didn't speak a word of English to
Jennifer Baker when the two first met.
The Universidad Autonoma de la Laguna student was so
nervous when she met Baker, she didn't know what to say.
And things were a little tenser because Velaquez didn't
feel comfortable with her English.
But so far, Baker, an Abilene Christian University
international business student, and Velaquez have learned a
lot about each other, finding ways to speak to each
"We both had a real concern -- I've never been to Mexico,
and she's never been to the United States," said Baker of
the international internship program their two schools are
Even though Velaquez started learning English in
elementary school, she finds reading and writing the
language much easier than speaking it. But Baker is
confident that in this type of situation, Velaquez will pick
up the language more quickly.
And besides, Baker will experience firsthand what
Velaquez is now going through when the two spend a month
interning at John Deere's Mexican plant.
"It will be revenge," Velaquez joked.
Six other ACU students and six Mexican students are
paired together for one month in Abilene and one month in
Torreon, Mexico at various businesses.
Baker and Velaquez are working for the next three weeks
at the Small Business Development Center, and their main job
responsibility is to create a start-up plan, with
step-by-step actions for people wanting to get into the
Baker is responsible for the main project, while Velaquez
provides information on the exports and imports that Mexico
offers. Baker is required to tailor the start-up plan to
Abilene small business.
In Mexico, though, Baker, a international business
student, and Velaquez, an accounting student, will trade
places, and Baker will be Velaquez's major resource.
SBDC director Judy Wilhelm is happy she was able to
become involved in the first program of its type at ACU.
"We were trying to figure out how we could tie small
business and an internship together," she said. "We're
unlike the other businesses participating."
Abilene Regional Medical Center, First National Bank and
Hendrick Medical Center will be host to the remainder of
thestudents. Those businesses have various departments for
the students to work in, whereas the SBDC's employees take
careof every aspect of the business.
Baker and Velaquez will also have opportunities
throughout the internship to learn the center.
Wilhelm said her interns will spend time with each of the
SBDC's employees, learning what each one does. They will
alsomeet with the regional international businessperson for
the Small Business Development Center.
Wilhelm also said there are plans to visit the SBDC's
For now, Baker and Velaquez are finished with an outline
and introduction for their plan.
With three weeks, will they be able to finish in time
before going to Mexico to work at the John Deere plant?
Both looked at each other, smiled and nodded.
Next Thursday's Business Journal will
feature Brett Roberson, Brittney Binder, Carlos Leal and
Karla Pina's experiences at Hendrick Medical Center. Anna L.
Derocher may be reached at (915) 676-6786 or
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- Last update: June 10, 1999
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