Each year, Centro NOE, through NOE International based in Portland, Oregon, sends 10-13 students for a 1-month experience of cultural learning and English practice to the United States during the month of July. The students chosen to be a part of this program are the “best of the best”, the “cream of the crop” from NOE. They are ambassadors for what NOE is at its core.
In order to be selected, students must pass their final exam after a four-year English program with a 70% or higher. Then, they must pass an oral exam with an 80% or higher. Next, a selection team comprised of directors and other staff members finalizes the selection process based on character and participation at NOE. Finally, they enter into a year of language and culture training. They work alongside with the short-term mission teams that visit and take lead roles in some of the ministries and services at NOE. It is a tremendous honor to be chosen for this program.
One of my responsibilities at NOE is to help the students get their VISA appointments through online form completion, which takes a lot of coordination to attain all necessary information, and submit it for acceptance. I also assist with their Culture and Conversation class.
Beyond obtaining a Mexican passport, attaining a U.S. VISA is necessary for the students to travel to the U.S. All expenses to complete the VISA process are covered by NOE International, and I assist them in learning about the process and helping them practice sample questions that may be asked of them during the VISA interviews.
During our trainings times, there are a lot of butterflies. For a person to have a successful interview, they must prove that there is no risk of them staying in the United States once they arrive. They do that by strategically answering the questions as well as the way they carry themselves as individuals. The students must be personable. The interviews are conducted in either English or Spanish by American citizens living in Guadalajara so the students must be ready to answer the questions in both languages. During our 1- or 2-night stay in Guadalajara as we prepare, we discuss their lives, their futures, and their roles as unofficial ambassadors of NOE. They are encouraged spiritually, morally, and academically to continue to be their very best. Of the 10 that were selected, only one was denied their VISA, but we are working on a 2nd option, potentially in Canada with some connections we have to the “north”. God is so good!
Please pray for them as they travel. Pray for their safety and their spiritual growth. We’d be interested in hearing from you if you would be interested in hosting a NOE student in your home one year!
(Left) Dream Team 2023: Monica, Didier, Regina, Paulina, Daryanka, Yashi, Denisse, Ana Gabriela, Alan, and Jacqueline.
(Right) Waiting in line to enter the U.S.A. General Consulate for Visa appointments and interviews. Aka: the most non-predictable step in the Dream Team process.