Savannah - Tecnológico de Monterrey

Bachelor of Arts
Semester 1, 2018
An eye-opening experience that has developed my professional and personal abilities. It gave me the confidence and motivation to seek out more international opportunities.

Academic experience

I studied a mixture of International Relations, Spanish and elective subjects, which I chose from the Business department. The academic system was very different as I received more project-based work for assessment rather than essays, which I felt was beneficial because I undertook more practical experience. Each week we were given homework to complete, which made it feel a bit like high school. This was difficult as I was studying 6 subjects and balancing weekly homework on top of assessment, whereas I was accustomed to focusing mainly on assignments. However, during the semester I got used to the system and learnt the most important areas to direct my time. The registration process for subjects was quite easy, as a Tec student enrolled me in classes and organised my timetable before I left, and we had a Skype call to make sure that my classes were sorted. I had to change my classes at last minute in Week 2, but the staff in the International Programs Office were so helpful.

Personal experience

I formed so many friendships with Mexicans and other exchange students, which really made the semester enjoyable! Luckily with my uni timetable, I also had the chance to travel and explore many parts of Mexico, which was a highlight.

Accommodation

I lived off-campus in an apartment (directly in front of uni!). My roommates were Mexicans which was great because I was able to speak Spanish everyday. I am very glad that I chose to live in an apartment, because I heard that the on-campus accommodation was quite strict (curfew) and the rooms were shared, whereas I preferred more independence and personal space. I would definitely recommend off-campus accommodation because there is plenty available, and in Queretaro it is best to live within 10mins walking distance to university because you spend a lot of time there, rather than living in the city centre. The university has a website that lists available accommodation for students which was so useful.

Costs

Rent $260/month, Groceries $150/month, Uber is cheap and safe e.g. $5 for 15min ride, Restaurants are less than half the price of Australia, Bus and plane tickets are economical for travel. Overall I would budget $10,000 to live comfortably, including travel during semester. Mexico is a very cheap place to live, you will have a lot of fun there!

Professional Development

The development of my Spanish speaking skills and reading/writing was the most important aspect that has contributed to my professional development. I also had the opportunity of gaining practical experience in business, as for my Social Entrepreneurship course our major assessment was to create a social business that positively impacted the Querétaro community.

Highlight

Exploring a new country as a local, not a traveller. This was my first time living overseas, and I enjoyed having the time to form new relationships and discover a whole new city in the eyes of a local.

Top tips

  • If you have Spanish skills, take a few subjects in Spanish e.g. IR and Business, because the teachers are very supportive and it is so valuable learning to do assignments in another language.
  • Try to arrange apartment inspections before leaving Australia using the university website, because once all the students arrive in Mexico it is a bit harder to snag a room!
  • Go on all the trips organised by the IPO and AMI with university because they are a lot of fun.