|What I am
going to mention about ITESM is solely based on my experience on the campus
in Colima. However, it is safe to assume that circumstances are very similar
on other campuses, even though certain details may deviate. There are three
different levels for students and courses - preparatory, diploma and professional.
At preparatory level, the class size ranges from fifteen to thirty and
the students are rather young. At preparatory and diploma level, the students
are a little older and classes are usually smaller, sometimes wonderfully
small. As a rule of thump, the size ranges there from two to ten.
instruction in a number of classes is not Spanish but English. Besides
English, foreign languages taught include French, Italian, German and Japanese.
There are usually a few exchange students on campus from North America,
who focus on improving their Spanish by taking Spanish language classes
and/or other classes taught in Spanish.
these reasons, the portion of non - Mexicans on the faculty is quite significant.
Although I have never carried out my own census, look at it more or less
realistically, forty to fifty per cent of the faculty are non - Mexicans.
Most are from the United States and Canada, but faculty members are also
from France, Japan, Lithuania and Germany. After spending almost two years
at ITESM, campus Colima, I have got used to a certain flexibility, as far
as teaching courses is concerned. The courses that I have taught so far
range from Philosophy and Art History to English and German. Whether this
flexibility may be explained with the small size of the campus, who knows.
A part of my
unwritten job description is playing soccer with the students’ team. Needless
to mention that Mexicans like all Latin Americans and Germans are soccer
fanatics. When students realised shortly after my arrival in Colima that
I am German, they tried immediately to talk me into playing soccer with
them. Everything was made worse because I could not keep my mouth shut.
I was stupid enough to tell them that I used to play soccer in Germany
and South Africa.
I was not to keen on playing in Colima - to put it mildly - because of
my age. When I arrived in Colima, I was on the brink of turning thirty
nine. However, my comeback was due at the campus’ soccer tournament. It
made me the oldest player in the tournament. During the entire tournament,
I always played in the defence and never crossed the middle line. That
comeback turned out to be a triumph. We won the tournament.
The prize that
every player of the winning team received was a football. But I had to
face the music for that football. After the tournament, I was limping like
a war hero for almost a week. It was worth the effort. Since then, I play
more or less regularly, although I have recently cut down a little. As
I reached the mature age of forty last year, it may be wise to take things
Though I have
given golf a go already, I tend to the assumption that I am not old enough
yet to take it up regularly. A little out of the ordinary may be to emulate
Doug Casey by taking up polo. Let us wait and see. Time will tell.
In case you
are sick and tired of the rat race and feel like dropping out for a while,
there are a bunch of provincial towns in Mexico worth having a look at.
Colima is just one of them. My usual activities range from having extensive
breakfasts at my favourite restaurant, reading in my open air office -
which is located under some palm trees on campus - to teaching a few hours
and playing soccer every now and then. It is very easy to get used to this
sort of lifestyle and thorougly enjoy it.
The main character
in John Grisham’s novel “The Testament” - a former big shot lawyer
in Washington, D.C. - had a comparable experience in Corumba, Brazil on
the border to Bolivia. I do have some sympathy for that guy. But that is
a different story altogether.