Marissa - Tecnológico de Monterrey

B. Arts / Social Sciences
Semester 1, 2016

Academic experience

The courses I took in English: International Perspective, Geopolitics, North American Regional Scenario
The courses I took in Spanish: Social Internship A, Español Intermedio 1
I liked the smaller class sizes in Tec and the way you could actually get to know your teachers and classmates in this system. 
Challenges: pretty much all of my assignments were group projects which were hard with the cultural differences. Also, the system at Tec is a lot like high school in the way you have to attend all of your classes, so that takes some getting used to, but the coursework is much lighter than at UQ so you have plenty of spare time to travel.

Personal experience

The best skill I gained from the experience was the big improvement in my Spanish, spoken and written. Also due to the academic load at Tec, I was able to travel so much to so many amazing places, and doing this while learning about Mexican politics in class was really interesting. I definitely also gained social confidence, as you have to put yourself out there a lot to make friends initially on exchange.


I lived in a share house off campus. It was only a 10-minute walk from uni, and that was great as some of my classes started quite early. Also if you live close to uni, you are also very close to all the big grocery stores, which is very convenient. For future students, I would definitely recommend arriving in Queretaro a week early in order to find accommodation in a share house through Facebook sites or just by talking to people. Don't book into the on-campus accommodation, it is very overpriced and has strangely strict security arrangements


I think the advice UQ gives of budgeting $10 000 - $12 000 is accurate, especially if you want to travel a lot. However, compared with in Australia, food, transport and accommodation are so much cheaper in Mexico, so if you were careful with your budget you could probably spend much less than that.

Professional development and employability

Guanajuato, a city near Queretaro
Guanajuato, a city near Queretaro

I have developed confidence and greater skills in communicating in a different language and with people of lots of different cultural backgrounds. Doing an internship in Queretaro also helped to develop my professional skills a lot and these skills will definitely aid my professional development.


The highlight of my experience was getting to know the Mexican culture and people. It is an amazing country with incredibly friendly people and a fascinating ancient culture that you learn a lot about while travelling. I also loved learning to adopt the relaxed pace of Mexican life.

Top tips

  • Try to learn the language before you go, and save up your electives so that you can take Spanish lessons as an elective while you are abroad.
  • Travelling in Mexico without Spanish skills is a waste as you learn so much from speaking to local people and going off the tourist trail, and it is hard to do this if you only speak English.
Marissa - Tecnológico de Monterrey