Tec de Monterrey, Cuernavaca, Mexico
When I first arrived in Cuernavaca, I was nervous to say the least. I will admit things were different from what I expected. But, I never really knew what to expect before I came to Mexico. I had been to Mexico when I was six years old with my family on a three-week mission trip. Ever since then I wanted to come back and experience it when I could remember things. Even though my Spanish was not good – basic level – this was something I was determined to do.
Getting off the plane and waiting on everyone else before traveling back to Cuernavaca was extremely beneficial. Everyone was in the same shoes as me – nervous, anxious, excited, and every other emotion you could imagine. It was an excellent chance to meet many of the other international students. When we arrived at the school, I met my house-parents for the first time along with one of my roommates. I became nervous again. All of the international students were splitting up when I was just beginning to get comfortable with things. However my house parents were great. We arrived at the house and met the other students living there – they were French. How neat is that? Not only do I get to learn about the Mexican culture here, but I also get to learn a little about the French culture. The day after I arrived, one of my roommates showed us the school and took two of us on the ruta (bus) to the grocery store. Wow, things were amazing. I was really in Mexico.
The first week before classes began included many meetings with the other 60 international students. We discussed culture shock, safety, excursions offered, took a tour of Cuernavaca, and even climbed a beautiful mountain in Tepoztlan. Needless to say, everyone made lots of friends during the first week. There was not time to miss home.
When classes started it took time to get used to the different teaching and learning styles. Soon, things began to loosen up. I got comfortable with the new styles. They really don’t seem that different anymore. What was I so worried about in the beginning?
Language & Culture
My Spanish has really improved. I can negotiate the price of a taxi ride, give directions to my house, order food at a restaurant, answer the phone, and get around town by myself. All of these things might seem really small, but it is much more than I could do before I arrived. My vocabulary has greatly improved and I have the basic survival skills – that’s what is important.
One of my roommates and I began to volunteer at a children’s hospital in Mexico City every Wednesday. We take the bus, travel on the subway, and walk a few blocks to get there. We play with them and teach the children and their parents English. It has been a great experience. They are so grateful.
I have traveled all over Mexico since I have been here. Every weekend we try to go somewhere different. I have been to 11 different cities and seen so many things in Cuernavaca. Sometimes we go on day trips and sometimes for the weekend we try to go somewhere different. I have been on excursions with the school and excursions on my own. I am taking advantage of every opportunity I have while I am here. My parents have been to visit. I was able to take them to several places. We stayed in Acapulco, but rented a car and drove to Cuernavaca. They were able to meet my house-family, my friends, my teachers, and the staff in the International Office.
I have no complaints about coming to Cuernavaca. No matter where I would have chosen to go, I would have been nervous leaving my family and friends back home. Mexico is so friendly. I not only have other international students as friends, but also have made Mexican friends. I am sure they will be friends for a lifetime.