Henry - Tecnológico de Monterrey

B. Social Science
Semester 2, 2017

Academic experience

During my time at Tec de Monterrey I took six courses, three courses related to international relations, a philosophy course, a Spanish composition course and a Mexican identity and culture course, the latter two were taught in Spanish. The main challenge for me was trying to understand the marking criteria and the requirements for each subject. The teachers generally had a lot of control and each had their individually designed course profiles and therefore the academic standards and requirements between each teacher differed greatly. I found the best thing to do was to speak to teachers regarding their requirements and work to the standards you would at UQ.

Personal experience

Mexico is a wonderful place to explore and meet people. I gained more than I could have imagined from my time there. I was able to establish good relationships with other exchange students as well as Mexicans. I learnt how to negotiate living in another culture and I felt I was able to assimilate myself to some extent. I was able to improve my Spanish by talking to my classmates and creating a social life outside of the university.

Mexico was a challenging place to live, but it also made me push myself, and because of this I feel like I am more a confident person and willing to put myself out there more. 

Accommodation

I lived off-campus, but about a two-minute walk from the campus. It was share house in which lived three other students from the university. This was the first time I lived away from my family and this is what I probably enjoyed the most. The Tec is very helpful with assisting you in finding accommodation. They provide a database with an array of different styles of accommodation available. They also provide options for staying with families as well. However, do not be afraid of reaching out yourself, there are a few websites in which you can also find other accommodation.

Budget

Mexico City is a generally a fairly cheap place to live. My accommodation per month was around $330, however this was in the far south of the city. The further you go to the central and the trendy parts of the city accommodation prices go significantly up.

Food is very cheap, especially the street food, tacos etc. I found it was probably more expensive to eat at home, while the tacos are delicious, if you want a more wholesome diet; this is probably the thing to do.

Taxi’s and Uber’s are very cheap, a half an hour journey from the south to the central would cost me no more than $15. The metro and the light train, while often very packed are very cost effective and efficient for getting around the city, at 5 pesos a ride, approximately 35 cents. The transports cards are very easy to obtain.

Overall, I spent probably no more than $4000 on living expenses for five months. Bear in mind you will likely want to budget more for travel and other exciting things.

Professional development and employability

Fresh back from my exchange and travel, at this point it is difficult to completely recognise what skills and attributes I have obtained from experiences, but I definitely feel like I am more mature, confident and I feel like I am ready to take on any challenge. I hope this will hold me in good stead for my professional development as I enter the final year of my undergraduate degree and begin to apply for graduate positions.

Highlight

The main highlight was seeing how amazing Mexico is. The country has so much to offer, culturally and historically. The people are incredibly friendly and the food is amazing. An unfortunate highlight was the earthquake in September; this was a difficult period and did change my semester a lot, but I was still able to have a fantastic time overall.

Top tips

My main advice would be to put yourself out there and do not be afraid. If you embrace Mexico, Mexico will embrace you.