Mexican Youth Want To Work In Canada, But Not Vice-Versa

Published December 27, 2013

Canada and Mexico have an exchange program called the International Experience Program where the youth from each country heads off to the other country for a short time while they work and experience life in a foreign land. This program is administered by the British Columbia Council For International Education, and is aimed at expanding the cultural horizons of youth from both countries. An issue, however, appears to be that most of the traffic goes one way; Mexico to Canada. Why is this?

Possible Reasons

Canadians, and English-speaking youth in general, as hesitant to go out of their comfort zone and experience new things; especially for an extended period of time. While language is a major barrier, other cultural barriers also come into play. Several facts may discourage Canadian youth for taking part in this fantastic adventure:

  • Safety – Mexico gets a lot of bad press on safety issues.
  • Language – Most Canadian youth do not speak Spanish, although a lot of young Mexicans do speak English, as it is the lingua franca of the world.
  • Cool factor – English, Canada, the United States, and other such countries are ‘cool’ in Mexico. In the English speaking world, Mexico is a third world country that is slightly less cool. While unfortunate, this is the reality.

What Can Be Done To Promote Exchange?

Perhaps a stronger foundation in language would help children feel more comfortable going from one place to the other. In other venues, specifically in sports, Canadian youth have made an impact in Mexico. For example, in 2012, the Pan American games were held in Guadalajara, Mexico and the Canadian team, after competing, donated a bunch of hockey materials to local Mexican children to help encourage them to take up the game. This was also done in a similar manner in 2010.

These types of outreach programs and interaction will help youth become more educated on these issues as well as give them a chance to experience things that will help bond the two cultures. Mexico is loaded with interesting and fun things to do; not the least of which take in the breathtaking scenery.

Are There Other Areas Of Success?

Chinese students are now, far and away, the largest recipients and participants in these such exchange programs. The ties between Canada and China have strengthened considerably in the past few years, with Chinese immigrants being awarded by far the highest number of visas and work permits from the country of Canada. While this is great, it isn’t necessarily the perfect situation. China is a world powerhouse, however Latin America is definitely building up steam. Costa Rica, Peru, as well as, interestingly enough, Brazil, are gaining steam and becoming large players on the world stage.

Going forward, Canada needs to find a way to encourage it’s youth to take advantage of these opportunities to explore other countries, cultures, and languages; especially those down south.

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