First Cohort Of Students Graduate From UD’s Dreamers Program

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Julia Bonfiglio
Staff Writer

UD is embracing a Dreamers scholarship program for individuals impacted by changing U.S. immigration law. This program will enable them to earn a certificate from the University to teach English as a foreign language.

The program, which is based in Mexico City, was made possible by a collaboration between UD, a Marianist publishing company based in Spain known as Grupo SM and its foundation Fundación SM, which provides each student a scholarship. Classes can be taken either on-site or online.

Participants in the program, many of whom are refugees, have returned to their native countries from the U.S. either on their own accord or because of deportation.

Dreamers, undocumented individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children, have been publicly supported by UD President Eric Spina following the decision by the Trump administration to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a government program that offered temporary protections from deportation for Dreamers.

“We stand with our Dreamers for gifts & talents they offer to US; we urge President & Congress to take appropriate action to keep them here,” Spina tweeted in 2017.  

The Dreamers enrolled in UD’s scholarship program have an opportunity to utilize their gifts and talents in practical ways due to the fact that the demand for English teachers in Mexico has increased due to the Mexican government’s mandate that children must begin to learn English in preschool.

This new aspect of Mexican education opens a door for these Dreamers as they arrive in a potentially unfamiliar environment. The uncertainty that comes with many immigration stories can be partially alleviated due to this program that allows opportunities for growth and recognition within a new community.

The first students of the program graduated this summer, and the University of Dayton English Language Institute program coordinator, Brenna Seifried, relayed her feelings toward the students.

“We are extremely proud of this first group of graduates. There is a real strength in their binational, bicultural experience, and we know it will be highly valuable to all those who study under them.”

The Dreamer scholarship program is set to continue in September with a new cohort.

Photo courtesy of Annie Denten//Contributing Photographer.