According to the Institute of International Education, around 300,000 American college students opt to travel abroad to study at some point in their higher education journey, with 40,000 of them going fully native by seeing their entire program through in another country.
Given its proximity to the USA, Mexico is a logical destination for some, particularly if they are studying subjects such as anthropology, history or, of course, Spanish. In many ways, travelling abroad while studying makes perfect sense, enabling young people to see new landscapes, explore foreign cultures, meet new friends and, if they’re eligible, receive funding for their experience. And for students from a low income family, the good news is that many cross-country university programs will prioritize their applications.
Researching Life and Study in Mexico
For any international movers to Mexico, research and planning is important but if you are a student it is an absolute must. You need to find out as much as you can about every aspect of life and study in Mexico. It’s not just about choosing from one of Mexico’s 1200 plus universities; you will also have to know how best to get there, where to live, what the local and national customs are and how much things cost. In terms of courses, you will have to first of all make sure that the universities you are looking into are legitimate. Then you should carefully compare course type, content and duration (the initial Licenciatura is even longer than a US undergraduate degree although you can start your Maestria early in many cases). Then you will need to fit this all into your overall career plan. Student Mexico movers will also need to really brush up on their Spanish beforehand: few Mexico-based courses are bilingual and many courses have strict language proficiency requirements.
In terms of higher education, the two areas of interest to most college students are Mexico City and Guanajuato, a city around five hours drive North West of the capital. Mexico City is home to the central campus of the famous National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Built from 1949 to 1952, UNAM is designated a World Heritage Site and, apart from its status as the most popular and highest ranking university in the country, is one of many fascinating buildings to be explored and admired in its own right.
Guanajuato is both the name of a city and its parent state. It is a renowned center for business and industry and its most famous academic establishment is the North American research center known as CIMAT.
One important thing to understand, and something which can make your post-Mexico life a bit more demanding, is that US grades are often inflated. This means that unless you are part of an exchange program, you may face an uphill battle convincing employees that your ‘B’ grade is worth as much as the equivalent ‘A’ in the US. On the other hand, your willingness to live and study abroad may count in your favor, particularly if your degree is related to Mexican life, history and culture in some way.
Sourcing Financial Support
US universities are fully aware of the benefits of productive cross-national educational programs and there are numerous grants available from both individual universities, university collaborations and non-profit groups.
One of the most flexible of these is the University of California’s Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) which, at the time of writing, was offering five Mexican scholarships, some of which were based at UNAM. UCEAP spends over $700,000 annually on international scholarships with individual award usually within the $1,000 to $3,000 range.
A long-standing source of more specialized doctoral scholarships is the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA), formerly the Committee on Institutional Co-operation (CIC). Comprised of fourteen flagship research universities, the BTAA have been funding overseas students since 1963.
Another example is the exchange program at the University of Texas which has links with CIMAT in the fields of mathematics and computer science. Competition for places is fierce and those students interested are advised to lodge their applications at least five months before they intend to start their studies.
Students should also check out the non-profit Council of International Educational Exchange which offers grants of up to $2,000, particularly to those with financial limitations, as part of their GAIN (Global Access Initiative) program. For those specifically looking for opportunities in Hispanic Studies, the long-established Sigma Delta Pi society are also worth investigating.
Costings and Applications: Finalising your Move
Once you’ve come up with a shortlist of potential Mexican universities, it is time to focus on the nuts and bolts of making your move happen. The earlier you can apply for your place, including any available financial assistance, the better chance you will have of success. In terms of finance, there will be a lot of things to weigh up including your travel costs and associated expenses (passports, insurance, international moving services, student visas, etc.), accommodation rates, general cost of living and, of course, your study fees. The current exchange rate between the Mexican Peso and US Dollar will be an important factor (the weaker the dollar, the more expensive your stay) as will the duration of your studies. For example, any savings you may anticipate in studying over the border may evaporate if your chosen course lasts an extra year over its US equivalent. Be aware though that no matter how much preparation you put in, there will always be uncertainties so you will have to get used to dealing with that lack of security if you really want to make the best of your Mexican studies.
What is certain is that choosing to bite the bullet and study in Mexico puts you on a completely different career trajectory to the majority of your student peers. You will encounter once in a lifetime experiences, broaden your horizons, meet new friends and face tough challenges along the way. As long as you understand that moving to Mexico for study is not all about rainforests and beaches then you can look forward to an amazing and fulfilling educational journey.
Pamela Taylor is a professional writer who has an interest in keeping things organized and in order. Her appealing strategy? Never. Stop. Moving. She currently writes for MudanzasGou -an oldest moving company in Mexico. Due to high end customer service, thousands have chosen http://www.mudanzasgou.com over other international moving companies since 1900. Stay connected on Facebook.