My overall study abroad experience in Monterrey, Mexico was challenging, but it allowed me to mature in many ways and learn attributes about myself that I did not know I had. When I first arrived at the school, I had a lot of expectations and fears because this was my first time being in another country. From missing my flight early that morning to coming to the school without knowing anyone, I was scared and exhausted. All I could think of was in just eight hours I was in another country and would not return to my home for five months. Culture shock?! Yes, I do believe this was what I was feeling. However, within a few weeks this unfamiliar environment was becoming my new home. I was making friends, understanding the culture, and enjoying myself. Listed below I have discussed some attributes that will give an understanding of my experiences in Monterrey, Mexico.
Monterrey has many stores that are similar to the ones in the United States. Such stores include Wal-Mart, Chile’s, and Subway, which are within walking distance or just a short taxi drive away. This city also has Mexican chains that are competing with the US businesses that are in Mexico. This provides an interesting mix of American and Mexican culture. The city also has many places that are designed for college students. Clubs, movie theaters and other hangout spots are available in Monterrey.
Traveling to Monterrey, Mexico was one of the best experiences of my life. To students who are considering studying abroad in Monterrey, I would definitely recommend it. This place provides you with many options from the classes you can take to the places you can go. My only advice would be to keep in mind why you have decided to go abroad, either it be to learn a new culture or just to meet new people. Whatever your reason may be, this will help you overcome the days when you wish you were home, because you will remember why you have made this life-changing choice.
I was actually one of the first students to choose to stay in the dorms instead of a host family. I chose to live in the dorm because it fit my personality and I thought I would feel more comfortable living in an environment similar to that of UNCG. Living in the dorm allowed me to meet a lot of people and helped me improve my Spanish and my understanding of the culture. Living in the dorm was also convenient. Similar to UNCG’s dorm life, you wake up in the morning and can be at your class within a couple of minutes.
The accommodations in the dorms are excellent. Each morning they have a person who will clean your room and they have a laundry service that is reasonably priced. The dorms are also safe with a security guard checking to make sure only students of the school are entering the area. The dorms are split by gender; however, there is a common area where all can hang out. There is also a curfew for the dorms.
The Tec de Monterrey is one of the best schools in Mexico. The school provides students with up-to-date technology. There are many computer labs available and wireless Internet is provided throughout the campus. However, it would be helpful to bring a laptop.
I studied business courses in English and took Spanish language classes. The Tec has a wide array of classes that are transferable to UNCG. Many professors use a lecture style with PowerPoint and other multimedia. Compared to UNCG, the workload at the school was more demanding. There were more group projects that required much time. The group projects were difficult at times because of cultural clashes. For example, for one of my projects my group members consisted of people from Poland, Germany, Mexico and Singapore.
When I went to the Tec De Monterrey, they did not offer a meal plan. This was often difficult because you would need money instead of a school card every time you would eat. There are four eating locations at the school. The biggest cafeteria provides food à la carte and also individual food stations that provide Chinese, Italian, sushi and others. The other three eating locations are à la carte. Another difference between the UNCG and the Tec De Monterrey food services were the hours. The cafeterias at Tec De Monterrey open only at specific times and close earlier than UNCG’s. I solved this problem by buying my food off campus. Surrounding the campus are many food shops that offer a wide variety of food.
TRAVELI traveled throughout Mexico during Spring Break. I went to Cuernavaca, Puebla and Taxco. This trip was planned by the school, which helps students with travel arrangements during Spring Break. Also, many students travel on the weekends to nearby places. Most students travel by buses, which are very affordable. Traveling around the city to places such as the mall or to the grocery store is mostly done by taking a taxi, bus or walking.