I can’t believe it! It’s already my fifth week in Monterrey, Mexico.
I thought I’d dedicate my entire first post to the campus life in Mexico, because it is just super different from what we are all used to. First of all, the campus is huge! If you walk from one end to the other it will take about 15 minutes. In order to be able to go to your next class quickly the University provides bikes. I have to confess in the beginning I always got lost (and I still sometimes do).
Since there are around 90.000 students attending a range of courses at the Tecnologico it feels like you are on a festival every single day. There is always a bouncy castle or a student activity club promoting itself somewhere. Also, the University organizes free workshops and lectures about important topics like health and enables students to take part in events to support their hobbies. And before I forget, the campus offers a wide range of free time activities like sports, dancing, cultural activities like a cappella or even learning an instrument. But there are not only a lot of people here, the campus also owns peacocks, ducks, deers and quails. Even on a Sunday at five o’clock in the morning, you wouldn’t be alone. But that is a good thing! I’ve already met so many people with different aspirations, heritages and cultures.
In order to keep everyone happy and awake for the early or very late classes (lectures are from 07:00 – 21:00) the campus has many Starbucks coffee shops, a range of food offered in cafeterias spread over the campus (including a Subway and loads of Taco places) and even two Tea shops, where you can buy merchandise of the University and its sport teams.
To be honest, you would never have to leave the campus. You can basically do everything in one place, which is very convenient for all the student’s needs.
But not only the campus itself is very different from what I’m used to in Berlin. The University system is nothing like at home:
- Attendance is mandatory (Yes, even at 7:00 am)
- There are homework and assignments (and they all will be reflected in your grade)
- The grade consists of several aspects like partial exams, attendance, homework, participation in class and assigned summaries of readings (I quite like this, because there is not a big chance of failing a class)
- There is a language lab to improve your language skills (a lot of Mexican students learn German here)
- All classes involve team work and participation
It might seem like a lot of work in the first few weeks, but I got used to it quite quickly and adapted my time schedule to the work necessary. Also I kind of study for the exams already by doing my homework regularly.
All in all, Mexico is obviously different from what we are used to, but I guess this is why everyone enjoys the experience of being abroad so much.