Monterrey – Al Fondo, Campeónes

This second blog could be useful as a adviser for all macromedia students, who might think about studying in Mexico during their semester abroad, because we share our point of view and the experiences we made here in Mexico. After living in Monterrey for now five months we found our daily routine, our favorite taco place and close friends.

That obviously makes it harder to leave now than ever before, because we settled our second live here in Latin America, but at the same time we realized that there is a load of experiences still waiting for us in Mexico.

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Speaking about the Tecnologic de Monterrey you have to know that studying here has a really different system than you’ll be used to in Germany. Where in Germany quality counts, at Tec quantity of work has priority. Homework every week, which you have to hand in and for which you be graded makes it kind of hard to go traveling during the semester, but weekend trips are possible, and should be done for sure. For these travels you have the choice to organize everything by yourself or you contact the two main organizations, which are present for international students: ISE and Integrate.

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We personally recommend Integrate, where we did most of our trips with and made some of the best experiences of our lives. The trips are affordable and give you a great chance to check out the beautiful country while making new friends, internationals as well as Mexicans. Some of our must do’s are: Boca de Iguana, a beach festival on the west coast with a lot of partying. Also, Mexico City and Guanajuato for the Independence Day in September, to get an idea about the history and culture of Mexico. Who is into extreme sports, Matacanes is a must: Canyoning for a whole day with sore muscles guaranteed, but the most beautiful nature possible. Who prefers a relaxed and spiritual experience should check out Real de Catorce. You can rent some horses and ride into waterfall valleys and the dessert, where you will meet shamans and try the traditional cactus.

Traveling with these student organized agencies has another advantage next to the full organization part and the good caring, which isn’t that unimportant in a country like Mexico: Travelling in Mexico is quite expensive. It is mostly in the vacation time affordable for students to travel because you get discounts. But also because the country is so big, the distances between the places are often beyond 6 hours by bus.

There are some misunderstandings about Mexico, we definitely want to clear. Mexico is one of the most friendly and colorful countries, which is sometimes misprized because of bad media. But don’t be afraid of robbery or criminality. Yes it is present, but if you follow some simple rules, nothing’s gonna happen at all. Simply just don’t walk alone during the night. If you carry expensive stuff like a Laptop with you, better take a taxi than walk. Simply take care of your personal belongings, as you would do it in every other place in the world. Be aware, that you probably stay out in public, because of your foreign look.

So, if people come up and talk to you, touch you or your hair, they always mean it in a friendly and complimenting way. Especially the University in Monterrey and the surroundings are very safe. Security guards are positioned at every corner and are very likely to help.

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We all agree, there will be some things you’ll not be able to live without anymore, after living in Mexico. The food: Tacos, Guacamole, Chile and Lime are part of nearly every meal and surprisingly, you will be wondering how you could ever enjoy dishes without it before. The style: Probably it’s because there are mostly small, but Mexican women love their high heels. Also the sunny weather makes you wear much more colorful cloths and you’ll be wondering why you brought so much boring cloth from Germany.
And of course the music: Reggyaeton. Once you hear it you sing it, move it, feel it – love it.

To sum up our semester abroad in Mexico we have to say that it has been a pleasure to be in this country. Besides the fact that the work for the university is super exhausting and it therefore often puts a spoke in your wheel in terms of travelling plans we had a great time with awesome people. In the end we just have to say that requirements for being in Mexico are: drinking tequila and mezcal, being polite and not shy to ask in case you need help, and very important: learn Spanish – otherwise you will figure out that you are lost beyond the fences of the university.

Niklas Franke, Svenja Winter