My decision to go to Mexico had been made for a long time. In fact, I’ve always wanted to go there. Even at school I volunteered to give presentations on Aztecs and the like. Accordingly, I tried to organize it through my university’s international opportunities. However, that was not possible. After two unsuccessful alternative attempts that failed due to bureaucratic hurdles, I was on the verge of quitting. But then I found the opportunity to go to Mexico through MicroEDU. A friend told me that his semester abroad in San Diego went very smoothly. I was skeptical at first, but then I called MicroEDU and they answered a few questions. So I got to work quickly. After all, it was May and I wanted to leave in September.
The application process for the Universidad Regiomontana was pretty straightforward. Because of the many informational materials on the homepage, I knew exactly what to do. Of course it was a bureaucratic search for the relevant papers and a few hours were spent scanning, copying, applying for a passport, sending it away, etc. But that’s the most normal thing in the world. And since the information material also stated exactly how the application process works and which documents are required, it was also absolutely uncomplicated. After I had organized two attempts myself and no one at my university could tell me how it should go due to the lack of exchange opportunities, it was an incredible relief for me. All in all, I found the application process to be very simple and straightforward. To my surprise, I was accepted extremely quickly. That was a little unexpected. But of course I was all the more happy.
To briefly explain again what I had to do:
- Filling out the application form
- Received transcript of records at my university
- Enclose a copy of your passport (apply in my case)
- Enclose a copy of the passport photo
- Fill out the contact form
- Fill out the application requirements
The rest of the things that I still had to do were all connected with a visa, foreign student loans, scholarships, vaccinations, etc. So none of these things that belonged to the actual application.
So applying is extremely easy!
The language skills
Were not required in my case, as many courses are also offered in English. However, tests are required at many universities. You should inform yourself accordingly. I will write something about the language later.
For me as a working class child, it is not that easy to go abroad. I had to apply for the international student loan. After a bit of back and forth, I was granted it (at this university you study in Tetras and not in semesters. Therefore, the period of study is almost too short to be funded. But only almost. You have to make that clear to the clerks sometimes. ).
But I would not have made ends meet with foreign student loans alone. I also received child benefit and I was able to successfully apply for a small scholarship from my university. All of this together was enough to lead a normal life in Monterrey. As I will explain later, this city is more expensive than you would expect from Mexico. Nevertheless, I have to say that a certain financial cushion, especially at the end of the stay, would have made for a more pleasant emotional situation. In principle, however, anything is possible.
The university life
First of all, I got a Studdy Buddy from the UR which stands for Universidad Regiomontana according to AbbreviationFinder. I was picked up from the airport and then I met her right away. She explained everything to me and showed me the UR. In addition, we went to dinner straight away in the evening. She helped me a lot in all other questions during my studies and quickly integrated me into the group of friends.
The UR itself is very small and manageable. Everything can be reached by foot. Although in the middle of the city, the campus is very quiet. As a European you are extremely noticeable because there are not very many exchange students. For me it was about 15. They know each other and have many courses together.
The courses start at 8 in the morning and end at 10 in the evening. So it can be that you have an extremely full day. Depending on the course choice.
In general, a lot is different here. The courses tend to be structured in small groups and there is a lot of emphasis on group work. This can lead to intercultural difficulties, because German punctuality and efficiency are not widespread all over the world. But none of that matters. Usually the courses shouldn’t be a problem. In terms of content, the level is anyway lower than in Germany. But sometimes the effort is greater. Homework is the norm. I wasn’t used to that from Germany anymore. Nevertheless, one is helped wherever possible. The Mexicans themselves are very hospitable and helpful.
The on-site support is also very good. Kathrin (a German) and her team take care of all matters relating to internationals quickly and reliably. They always have an open ear and can help with questions about studying and living in Mexico. This is of course a big plus. But the contact with MicroEDU was absolutely smooth and reliable. I didn’t have any problems, but the feeling that everything is going well is incredibly important.
The security situation
A few years ago, Monterrey was considered the safest city in Latin America. Then there was an uncertain time, but it’s over. As mentioned above, there are neighborhoods that foreigners are better off not going into. One should pay attention to that. In addition, the same rules apply as almost everywhere outside of Europe: do not take the bus at night and under no circumstances walk home, but take a taxi. If you follow all of this, nothing happens. I have seen absolutely nothing worrying, nor have I heard from other exchange students or locals. The high police presence ensures peace and quiet.
There is a lot to do in Monterrey. Some parks are waiting for you. There are also a lot of museums, restaurants, sports facilities, cinemas. . . So a completely normal city. Also good: in a few minutes’ drive you can also climb the surrounding mountains and enjoy nature. Monterrey is not in itself the most beautiful city in Mexico, but it certainly has its charm. In my free time I personally dedicated myself to my side, met friends, played on a soccer team, went to the cinema. . .
The proximity to the US border naturally suggests a visit. Major cities in Texas such as Texas, Houston and Dallas are only a few hours’ drive away. Should be visited on occasion. There are also some nice places in the vicinity. A beautiful village (Santiago), a great waterfall, an endless nature park, an outdoor adventure water rafting place. . . If that’s not enough, you can simply explore Mexico over a long weekend by domestic flight. The flights are usually not really expensive. In addition, excursions are organized every few weeks by a Mexico-wide student organization. These are mostly bus trips to great scenic places or to other cities.
Now that my time here is drawing to a close, I look back with sadness. I have made many people here, made many friends, got to know a new and foreign culture and experienced a lot. It was a great time here and I would be happy to return to Monterrey again. The overall help from MicroEDU was invaluable for my stay.