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Reflections from a Mentor

Life and Studies in Mexico

Terran Chad Odell

Class of 2008 ,
Journalism and Spanish Major
Odell with host family members
Terran Chad Odell with host family members
(from left) Martha de Carmen, Guillermina,
Terran and Alfonso in Guadalajara, Mexico.

I joined Partners for Success my first semester at CSULB when journalism professor Jennifer Fleming mentioned the program in my class. The program has been very helpful to me and I am very thankful for all the support, guidance and advice Professor Fleming provided me over the past three years.

As a first-generation college student, I began my undergraduate career at Cal State Long Beach in fall 2004. I am double-majoring in public relations and Spanish and will graduate in spring 2008. After graduating, I plan to pursue a master’s degree in public relations. With this degree, I hope to work in the field of political campaign management. Although I have not been very involved in this field to this point, I am certain that my interest in politics and my skills in public relations will facilitate this career quite nicely. During my last year at Long Beach, I hope to find an internship in the field to complement my studies. But whichever path I take in life, I hope to one day be a proud husband and father.

I am originally from a small town in Northern California where I grew up with my parents and younger sister, April. My parents graduated from high school and began working in our local community, where they still work today. My family has always supported me in my scholarly ambitions. My decision to attend CSULB after high school was no different.

Odell with Carmilla Muller
Odell with Carmilla Muller, a friend from
Denmark, in downtown Guadalajara.

I decided last semester that I wanted to go abroad to improve my Spanish while studying in a native atmosphere. The support of my family, girlfriend and friends made this possibility a reality. I am currently an exchange student at La Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara in central Mexico. Although I do not plan to use Spanish as a main focus of my career, I think it is invaluable to possess the ability to speak Spanish, especially in California. My host family, friends and professors here in Guadalajara have helped make my stay a success. By studying in Mexico, I feel I am getting a better concept of the Spanish language and, equally important, I am gaining an understanding of the culture. Living with a host family allows me to learn, in an intimate setting, how most Mexicans live their everyday lives. The university also coordinates many outings to nearby places, which is an invaluable way to learn about the history of the country. Learning a foreign language in a place detached from that language cannot be achieved to the full extent; there really is no substitute for immersion. Additionally, I learned a lot about the rest of the world through my interactions with exchange students from other countries such as Denmark, Holland, Canada, Peru, South Korea, Iran and Japan. The overall experience is something I would recommend to all Partners for Success students.