Holly - Tecnológico de Monterrey

Bachelor of Communications/Arts
Semester 1, 2018

Academic experience

I studied four courses at Tec; Intermediate Spanish, Advertising Photography, Seminar in Creative Industries and Applied Strategic Communication. I was lucky to have interesting and engaging teachers for all of my courses. Tec is definitely more relaxed than UQ and this worked out really well for me.  The lack of direction was a bit challenging in the beginning, and I was also shocked by the lack of referencing. Only one of my courses required referencing and for the local students that meant copying and pasting urls.  I realised quickly as long as you go to class and engage, do the homework and be nice to your teachers, you will pass.

Personal experience

I chose Mexico because I wanted to improve my Spanish, and I really feel like I made a great choice. Not only is the Spanish in Mexico quite slow and clear in comparison to other countries, but Mexican people are so warm, open and extremely easy to make friends with.  For this, in one semester my Spanish improved more than I imagined. Mexican people love to share their culture, eat well and party a lot. If you make an effort to make local friends, it is impossible not to have fun. Travelling in Mexico is also great because the country is so diverse in landscape, people and cultures. Sometimes Mexico felt like its own continent (there are more languages in the State of Oaxaca than in all of Europe). If you get the chance to travel with Mexican friends you have to go.

Accommodation

There are many international student houses around Tec that are good, safe options to live in. However for the sake of my Spanish and knowing Mexico better, I chose to find a house in Coyoacan. Coyoacan is a beautiful colonial neighbourhood where Frida Kahlo grew up. I lived with some older Mexican ladies and their daughters. Even though I lived in their house they never made me feel uncomfortable or told me what to do. I still had all of my freedom and they taught me a lot of Spanish. Coyoacan is also one of the safest neighbourhoods in Mexico City so I didn't feel as uncomfortable as I did in others areas when walking around at night.  For me, the decision to live away from Tec really paid off. If you are not bothered about your Spanish and are keen to live with other exchange students, you can find a student house very easily once you arrive here.

Costs

My rent was 6000 pesos a month. You can find cheaper but 6000 was standard for the area I lived. I initially planned to live only off my Centrelink money but I always overspent.  If you can live really cheap and don't plan to travel a lot, living just off your Centrelink money is possible. Keep in mind though that Mexico City always has hundreds of fun things going on and so many greats bars, cafes and restaurants to spend your money in.

Professional Development

Being able to speak Spanish should help me a lot in my career.

Highlight

Its really hard to pick one highlight of Mexico, but being able to travel in Mexico with some of my local friends was really fun and a great way to learn more about Mexico.

Top tips

Don't worry so much and just go. Also don't just hang out with the other exchange students, it is so worth it to go out and make local friends.