HUNDREDS of students visiting from Mexico lit up the BIC with colourful displays at the weekend.

More than 900 Mexicans learning to speak English arrived in the town this week to participate in the I-QUF Intercultural Festival – and on Saturday the event was kick-started with the language pupils presenting tourism exhibitions they had created about their hometowns.

It is the fourth consecutive year that language school Education First has organised and hosted the festival.

The school’s Steve Bates said it would be a good chance for the youngsters to try out their English language skills with English-speaking people.

“It will be a great experience for them all, not just for them to experience England, but to show people their culture too,” he added. Angelica Vazquez, an English teacher who had travelled with her students from Sinaloa, has attended the event each year since it started.

She said: “We see the students get immersed in the culture and language. They really blossom and you can see them mature in front of your eyes over the course of the 18 days.”

Ian Mursell was one of three judges, all experts in Mexican culture, assessing the students’ presentations.

He said: “It is very good for Bournemouth. I love the way they are involved with the community and are not being isolated.

“You can see them around the town handing out fliers and interacting with local people.

“So far everything we have seen has been of a very good standard.”

Among those proudly displaying information and samples of food from his hometown was sombrero-wearing 16-year-old Leonardo De La Torre from Tabasco.

He said: “It has been really fun and I am experiencing and learning about a culture I haven’t before.

“I am loving meeting people and talking about Tabasco.”

The tourism exhibition was followed by a Mexican-themed dance contest at the Pier Approach.