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10 June 2024

Exchange Programme Sees College Students Visit Mexico

South Wales college students have been on a once in a lifetime trip to Cancun in Mexico.

The Hospitality and Catering and Travel and Tourism learners from Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC) learnt about studying in another country and the importance of travel, tourism and hospitality to the region’s economy. The learners also explored the importance of sustainability and experienced the culture, welcome and hospitality of the Mexican people.

The visit was funded by Taith, a Welsh Government-funded initiative run by Cardiff University. Taith is designed to give students the chance to study, learn and explore as global citizens with the support of international educational and industrial partners.

On the Outward Mobility part of the project, a group of 11 learners from CAVC’s Hospitality and Travel Tourism students travelled out to the Universidad Tecnologica de Cancun (UTC) and integrated with its learners. They attended various lectures, seminars and workshops about culinary arts, travel and tourism and the culture and heritage of Mexico.

On International Day the CAVC learners delivered a presentation about the college, Welsh culture and heritage. They also delivered a masterclass on Welsh cakes, Welsh spirits and cocktails.

The trip also featured a series of visits, including to the Tulum brewery to see how beer is made from sea water, and various hotels to see the scale of the industry in Mexico. Cultural experiences included a visit to Chichén-Itzá to learn about Mayan culture, a trip to dolphin sanctuary and the learners also went swimming with turtles.

Level 3 Travel and Tourism learner Maddie Caulkett said:

“This trip was a highly valuable experience and an opportunity of a lifetime, which has improved my confidence and given me first-hand knowledge and insight into the Tourism and Hospitality industry.”

This was also the first Taith Inward Mobility initiative, where a group of ten Culinary Arts, Tourism and Physical Therapy learners – many of whom had never left Mexico before – and five staff visited CAVC to integrate with its learners. While at the college they gave a masterclass on Mexican cuisine and had masterclasses in restaurant service and patisserie, and went on visits to St Fagans National Museum of History and Hensol Castle and Gin Distillery and had a tour of the Principality Stadium. They also tried traditional lamb cawl and dragon bread prepared by CAVC Level 1 Professional Cookery learners.

Cardiff and Vale College Principal Sharon James-Evans said:

“At CAVC we like to offer an experience that is more than just a classroom and this amazing trip has done just that. It’s not every day you get the opportunity to fly to Mexico and experience Cancun – so we’d like to say a huge thank you to the Welsh Government and Cardiff University for funding this trip through Taith.

“I’m so pleased the learners enjoyed themselves while gaining a first-hand insight into the world of learning and work abroad.

“I was also delighted to be able to welcome the group of learners and staff from UTC to our College as part of the first-ever Taith Inward Mobility project. Well done to all of the learners and a huge thank you to all of the staff at CAVC and UTC who were involved in organising both trips and supporting the learners throughout them.”

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