Elizabeth - Tecnologico de Monterrey

B Business Management/ B Arts
Semester 2, 2017

Academic Experience

I studied 6 courses while on exchange at Tec: a scriptwriting course; a film production course; a documentary production course; a media and communication course; a film directing course; and an international business course. The thing I enjoyed the most about taking these courses was that they involved a lot of practical work rather than theory. I was able to work on making short films and a documentary as well as working on creating a business project, which gave me a lot of practical knowledge and experience that I haven't had yet.

The teachers also seemed much more approachable and caring as the classes were much smaller so they knew each student. The biggest challenge I faced was the language barrier. I was initially enrolled in all English classes, however several of my classes were cancelled and I was forced to change to Spanish classes. I felt that I didn't learn as much as the other students as I couldn't understand much of what the teacher was saying; however the teachers were very understanding about it and some of the other students were very nice and translated some things for me.

Another huge challenge was the difference in work load between my host uni and UQ. During the semester I had so much homework every week as well as many assessment pieces that were given very often. It was hard to keep up with it all as well as manage all the stress, however I kept a diary of everything I needed to get done each week and made sure I managed my time well to get it all done.

Personal Experience

I gained a lot of experience and knowledge while I was on exchange. Before I arrived, I barely knew a word of Spanish and now I still have a bit of trouble speaking but I can understand nearly everything. I also got to visit many places and try a lot of Mexican food.

I had to work with a group of people for assessment in every class, which helped me make friends, greatly improve my team skills, and learn how to work cooperatively with people from many different cultures. All of this helped me gain a deeper understanding of the culture in Mexico and the people.

Accommodation

I lived off campus in an apartment building just across the street from the uni so it was super close, which was really good. The apartment was really nice and had everything I needed and it was gated with security, which made it feel safe.

I would recommend for students to live off campus because it's a fun experience and it isn't so hard to find accommodation because people often post on Facebook on the uni page that they are renting out their apartment or have a room.

Budget 

Most of the stuff here was quite cheap compared to Australia. Where I lived, rent was about $280 a month, groceries cost about $30 a week, the local bus cost like 50 cents, eating out at restaurants and fast food places was between $3-$7, and movie tickets were like $3 (with a student card). In a month I spent on average $540, so I would budget around $600 per month and more if you plan to travel around a lot.

Professional Development & Employability

A lot of my classes involved a lot of presentations, which freaked me out before I arrived because I was very nervous with public speaking, however after doing all the presentations every week, I got a lot of practice and significantly improved my communication skills.I also greatly improved my team skills as I had to work with many groups during the semester with people from different cultures.

I also learnt how to manage my time better and be more organised due to the heavy workload. I also worked on a cultural project during the semester with a company from Sweden, which involved improving and creating sustainable projects for a rural community in Mexico.

I gained more experience in film work and knowledge about the film industry as well as improving my technical capabilities with editing and cameras. I also improved my Spanish language skills.

Highlights 

The highlight of my experience was getting to travel to many places while I was here. I got to travel around Bolivia as well as many places in Mexico. It was a great experience because I got to be in a place that has a lot of history and culture and is very different than Australia.

Top Tips

I would highly recommend going on exchange because it is the best experience ever. I would recommend trying to learn a bit of the language before you go and while you're there (if it's not an English speaking country) because it will help you a lot if you ever need help and it's always great to know another language. I also recommend making friends with as many people as you can because it will really change the experience you have and make it a lot more fun.