Student talks for International Education Week

Bryan Chavez was born in Mexico and has traveled around the world and back

Rachel Vogt, Staff Writer

Bryan Chavez, a Wayne State College student, has travelled many places in his time.

This makes him the perfect candidate to speak to other WSC students during International Education Week, which is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.

Chavez was born in Mexico, but his father is Salvadoran, making his home culture a blend of the two. He has also travelled to Taiwan, China, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Panama.

“I moved a lot as a child, so when people ask me where I am from, I usually say ‘the world,’” Chavez said.

Chavez spoke to other Wayne State students and faculty on Nov. 14, about his experiences abroad and the educational experiences he gained while in those other countries.

“I traveled to Taiwan on a study abroad exchange program here at Wayne State,” Chavez said. “What I thought was really interesting about the education in Taiwan was that the relationship between student and teacher is not like it is here. It’s a little bit more one way, whereas here the teachers try to engage you a little bit more in the information they’re teaching. But from my experiences in Taiwan, a lot of teachers just seem to talk and talk and talk. They don’t engage with students as they do here.”

Chavez looked at education, business, technology and the expression of the individuals in Taiwan and the other countries he visited. Overall, Chavez said his experience in Taiwan was valuable.

When Chavez visited Puerto Rico, he transferred to a school there. He noticed more free expression within the students and the teachers.

Chavez also noticed that businesses weren’t as easy going as they are here in the United States, and many of the businesses are in a great deal of debt. Another thing Chavez noticed that was different from the United States was the artistry.

“Graffiti isn’t seen as a bad thing, it is almost seen as promoting that building or business, so there is a lot of art and free expression,” Chavez said.

After checking out Puerto Rico, Chavez decided to travel to the Dominican Republic, where he “couch surfed” and really got a feel for the local life there. The education aspect was interesting to observe, Chavez said.

“There is a keen sense of respect between the student and the teacher,” Chavez said. “It was really cool to see how much those students really appreciated and valued the education they were getting.”

Next, Chavez travelled to Haiti.

“It was an awesome experience,” Chavez said. “At the same time though, I was staying with a United Nations worker, so I didn’t really get a feel for the local culture.”

It was still a good experience, Chavez said, seeing how tech-savvy the country was, how poor the environment was, and how the education was lacking.

“There was a definite contrast between the very wealthy and the very poor people,” Chavez said.

Chavez said the experiences he gained from studying and traveling abroad helped him learn about other cultures and people, while also giving him the opportunity to learn from different professors.