Although you may be familiar with Mexico's beaches and cuisine, there's much more to discover in this diverse country. From bustling cities to tiny pueblos, Mexico is teeming with opportunities to embark on adventures and delve into history. Ancient ruins, colonial architecture, delicious cuisine, and beautiful beaches are all reasons to go to Mexico, but the rich culture and warmth of the people are what makes you want to stay.



Languages Spoken:

Spanish

Education System

HIGHER EDUCATION

Mexican students may choose studies that prepare them for a vocation or for further university level studies. Students who graduate from either a bachillerato or preparatoria program are qualified for entrance into university-level studies after having passed an entrance exam. Some programs at university-level require graduation from a specific type of secondary school program.

University-level programs may be called centro (center), colegio (college), escuela (school), instituto (institute) or universidad (university). Students are admitted directly from secondary schools into their undergraduate majors, or carreras. Undergraduate study may last from three to five years and culminates in a degree called a licenciatura. This degree is very similar to a bachelors degree. Graduate study may be pursued at the maestria (masters) or doctorado (doctorate) level.

STUDYING AT A MEXICAN UNIVERSITY

Courseload

Mexican students will typically take between four and seven classes a semester. The number of classes to be considered a full-time student will vary at each ISEP university. It is also important to check with your home institution about the minimum number of classes you need to take abroad.

Academics

Short assignments, such as papers and problems, and monthly exams are typical during the semester. Longer assignments are given at the end of the semester, either as a term project or in the form of a final exam. Professors usually follow the students' progress rather closely and are fairly accessible for individual conferences. There is a relatively high degree of class participation. Attendance is important, there may be a minimum attendance rate needed in order to sit for final exams.

Students should be aware that the courses labeled Español or Gramática are courses designed for native Spanish speakers specializing in their own language.

Grades and Credits

Grading may vary slightly from school to school, but it almost always is based on a scale of zero to 10 (10 being the highest grade and a six or seven being the lowest passing mark) or a scale of zero to 100 (with 100 being the highest grade and 70 being the lowest passing mark).There is no curve method as is sometimes known in the United States; grades are based only on students' scores on tests. Monthly exams and special assignments are weighted differently at different schools and even within the same school by different professors. The final exam, which is usually cumulative, often carries the most weight in determining the final grade.

Credit systems vary across ISEP member institutions in Mexico.You should confirm the the number of credits you enroll in meets the minimum standards of both your home and host institutions.

Registration

Registration may either be done electronically in advance of your arrival or during orientation. You should follow any regulations set out by your university, and note any deadlines for changing your schedule.

Visa and Residency

STUDENT VISAS

Students studying in Mexico for one semester:

Students with citizenship from countries with a visa waiver agreement with Mexico can enter the country with the Formulario Migratorio Multiple tourist form. These forms are distributed on airplanes and at highway border control points. Check with your local Mexican consulate to see if your country has a visa waiver agreement with Mexico. Generally North American countries and some European countries participate in this agreement.

IMPORTANT: Non-U.S. citizens and residents who will travel through the United States to Mexico using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) agreement must have a Mexican student visa. If you travel to Mexico through the United States on ESTA without a Mexican student visa, you may be denied boarding.

Students studying in Mexico for an academic year, or planning to complete an internship:

All students regardless of nationality, who will study in Mexico for an academic year, or who will complete an internship are required to obtain a student visa from their local Mexican consulate prior to departure. As of November 2012, Mexican immigration law has changed, and year-long students will no longer be permitted to obtain a visa in country. Please allow sufficient time for the processing of your visa, and contact the consulate directly with any questions.

Students should check with their local consulate to see what documents should be submitted as part of your student visa application. Also consult with your consulate regarding deadlines for submission.

Below are examples of what may be required of you. Please verify with your consulate the exact requirements:

  • Valid passport for not less than one year from the date of application
  • Letter of admission from the host university
  • Proof of financial support - consult the consulate for exact requirements, and exact dollar amounts needed
  • A photograph
  • Exchange students may be required to produce a letter of support from the Mexican family with whom he or she will be residing - you may request this from your host ISEP Coordinator if needed
  • Students under 18 years of age must secure from both their parents a notarized authorization to travel

Upon arrival in Mexico, you must notify authorities of the date of your enrollment and must register at the Oficina del Registro Nacional de Extranjeros de la Secretaria de Gobernación. See your host coordinator for more information after your arrival.

Culture

CULTURAL ADJUSTMENT

At first, you might be tempted to cling to other international students. While it is comforting to depend on exchange students as friends, you will limit your Mexican experience. Try to make a sincere effort to meet and get to know Mexican people. You will find that people are genuinely warm and friendly.

One way to get to know a Mexican student is to arrange an intercambio in which you exchange one hour of Spanish conversation for one hour of English conversation. Many students in Mexico wish to improve their English and are eager to participate in such exchanges. Even if your Spanish does not need the practice, it is a good way to meet and get to know a Mexican student.

Campus life also provides numerous opportunities to meet other people. A variety of activities such as lectures, debates, sports activities, concerts and group outings are also often arranged for the students

Being a foreigner in Mexico

Mexico is a developing country with a high percentage of the population living in poverty. As a foreigner, you may be associated with wealth, and may be approached by beggars and street vendors. This also makes you stand out as a target for thieves and pickpockets, so be aware.

Because of the close relationship between the U.S. and Mexico, American students may get political questions regarding immigration, border politics, etc. This may lead to some interesting conversations and learning experiences.

Foreign women in Mexico have to become accustomed to the numerous catcalls, whistles, and attention that they receive there. It is best to ignore these comments and try not to draw more attention to yourself. Firmly say no to any invitation you don't want to accept and do not give out your personal contact information freely.

Family

In Mexico, the family plays a very important role. It is a center around which many activities revolve. Mexican families are extremely close and it is not unusual for children to live with their parents until they get married. The extended family is a very large, tightly-knit circle of relatives and friends tied to the family through ceremony and tradition.

Food and Mealtimes

Mexico is responsible for introducing many dietary staples to the world. Mexicans have enjoyed potatoes, coffee, chocolate, avocados, tomatoes and corn since pre-Colombian times. Mexican food today is a blend of these pre-Colombian ingredients and influences from abroad. Cuisine in Mexico varies by region, and each state has a diverse offering of foods that must be explored.

A light breakfast or desayuno is served earlier, and is light, consisting of sweetbreads and coffee or atole, a warm, thick beverage made from corn or oats. Almuerzo is sometimes also served, as a brunch, or heavier breakfast and is served around 9am.

Comida, or lunch in Mexico is a large meal and is served between 1pm and 3pm. Many people go home for this, their main meal of the day. Cena, or dinner is normally a light meal, and may only consist of a yogurt or sandwich and is served around 8pm or 9pm.

Gender Roles

Gender roles in Mexico are traditional, but evolving. Although not so clearly defined as they were about 10 or 15 years ago, traditional men's and women's roles do still exist in the family. The man is still the main provider and authority figure, while the woman, even if she works, runs the household and raises the family. The presence of machismo is still strong in Mexican society.

Greetings

Typically, Mexican friends, greet each other and say goodbye with a kiss on the cheek. A handshake is appropriate for professional introductions.

Regionalism

Mexico is a large and dynamic country. Spanish, as well as 62 indigenous Amerindian languages are recognized official languages Officially named the United Mexican States, the country is composed of 31 states and the Distrito Federal which includes Mexico City. Mexico enjoys a diverse population, climate, topology and cuisine.

Religion and Cultural Values

The majority of Mexicans are at least nominal adherents to the Catholic faith. Communities of Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Orthodox Christians and Buddhists can be found in Mexico. Some indigenous communities still practice traditional beliefs while some have infused them with Christian beliefs sometimes known as sincretismo. As religion plays an important role in Mexican society, you may find that some aspects of culture are very traditional.

Sports, Athletic Events and Bullfighting

Soccer or futbol, is the most popular sport in Mexico. Clubs are normally named after a region, and have a very strong and loyal following. Baseball, Basketball, American Football, Taekwondo and other sports are growing in popularity. Bullfighting also takes place in Mexico, not without controversy.

Space and Distance

Mexicans are less conscientious of personal space than other cultures. Mexicans stand close and touch frequently during conversation. Public transportation gets very crowded and people cram together closely to allow everyone to fit. It may be considered rude if you back away during conversation.

Time

Mexican culture doesn't stress punctuality as other cultures do. While it is important to be punctual in professional situation and to be on time for class, when it comes to social situations, it isn't considered impolite to arrive a little late.

Daily Life

CULTURAL ADJUSTMENT

At first, you might be tempted to cling to other international students. While it is comforting to depend on exchange students as friends, you will limit your Mexican experience. Try to make a sincere effort to meet and get to know Mexican people. You will find that people are genuinely warm and friendly.

One way to get to know a Mexican student is to arrange an intercambio in which you exchange one hour of Spanish conversation for one hour of English conversation. Many students in Mexico wish to improve their English and are eager to participate in such exchanges. Even if your Spanish does not need the practice, it is a good way to meet and get to know a Mexican student.

Campus life also provides numerous opportunities to meet other people. A variety of activities such as lectures, debates, sports activities, concerts and group outings are also often arranged for the students

Being a foreigner in Mexico

Mexico is a developing country with a high percentage of the population living in poverty. As a foreigner, you may be associated with wealth, and may be approached by beggars and street vendors. This also makes you stand out as a target for thieves and pickpockets, so be aware.

Because of the close relationship between the U.S. and Mexico, American students may get political questions regarding immigration, border politics, etc. This may lead to some interesting conversations and learning experiences.

Foreign women in Mexico have to become accustomed to the numerous catcalls, whistles, and attention that they receive there. It is best to ignore these comments and try not to draw more attention to yourself. Firmly say no to any invitation you don't want to accept and do not give out your personal contact information freely.

Family

In Mexico, the family plays a very important role. It is a center around which many activities revolve. Mexican families are extremely close and it is not unusual for children to live with their parents until they get married. The extended family is a very large, tightly-knit circle of relatives and friends tied to the family through ceremony and tradition.

Food and Mealtimes

Mexico is responsible for introducing many dietary staples to the world. Mexicans have enjoyed potatoes, coffee, chocolate, avocados, tomatoes and corn since pre-Colombian times. Mexican food today is a blend of these pre-Colombian ingredients and influences from abroad. Cuisine in Mexico varies by region, and each state has a diverse offering of foods that must be explored.

A light breakfast or desayuno is served earlier, and is light, consisting of sweetbreads and coffee or atole, a warm, thick beverage made from corn or oats. Almuerzo is sometimes also served, as a brunch, or heavier breakfast and is served around 9am.

Comida, or lunch in Mexico is a large meal and is served between 1pm and 3pm. Many people go home for this, their main meal of the day. Cena, or dinner is normally a light meal, and may only consist of a yogurt or sandwich and is served around 8pm or 9pm.

Gender Roles

Gender roles in Mexico are traditional, but evolving. Although not so clearly defined as they were about 10 or 15 years ago, traditional men's and women's roles do still exist in the family. The man is still the main provider and authority figure, while the woman, even if she works, runs the household and raises the family. The presence of machismo is still strong in Mexican society.

Greetings

Typically, Mexican friends, greet each other and say goodbye with a kiss on the cheek. A handshake is appropriate for professional introductions.

Regionalism

Mexico is a large and dynamic country. Spanish, as well as 62 indigenous Amerindian languages are recognized official languages Officially named the United Mexican States, the country is composed of 31 states and the Distrito Federal which includes Mexico City. Mexico enjoys a diverse population, climate, topology and cuisine.

Religion and Cultural Values

The majority of Mexicans are at least nominal adherents to the Catholic faith. Communities of Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Orthodox Christians and Buddhists can be found in Mexico. Some indigenous communities still practice traditional beliefs while some have infused them with Christian beliefs sometimes known as sincretismo. As religion plays an important role in Mexican society, you may find that some aspects of culture are very traditional.

Sports, Athletic Events and Bullfighting

Soccer or futbol, is the most popular sport in Mexico. Clubs are normally named after a region, and have a very strong and loyal following. Baseball, Basketball, American Football, Taekwondo and other sports are growing in popularity. Bullfighting also takes place in Mexico, not without controversy.

Space and Distance

Mexicans are less conscientious of personal space than other cultures. Mexicans stand close and touch frequently during conversation. Public transportation gets very crowded and people cram together closely to allow everyone to fit. It may be considered rude if you back away during conversation.

Time

Mexican culture doesn't stress punctuality as other cultures do. While it is important to be punctual in professional situation and to be on time for class, when it comes to social situations, it isn't considered impolite to arrive a little late.

Health and Safety

https://www.isepstudyabroad.org/guides-and-tips/health-safety

Currency

MONEY MATTERS

Currency

The currency of Mexico is the Nuevo Peso, commonly called the peso. Coins are issued in denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 50 centavos and 1, 2, 5 10, 20 and 100 pesos. Bills are issued in 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 peso denominations. Prices listed in pesos are normally written as M$ or $, where as prices marked in USD (more common in border regions), are listed as US$ or USD.

Banking

Nacional de Mexico (BANAMEX) is one of the largest banks in Mexico and is said to give one of the better exchange rates if you are changing money. Branches can be found in almost every large town. There are frequent bank holidays in Mexico and banking hours are different. Some transactions are only done during certain hours, for example, exchanging dollars. Bank holidays should be announced ahead of time in the daily newspaper. It is not difficult for foreigners to set up a bank account in Mexico. It would be a good idea to contact the local bank where you will be staying as soon as you arrive so that formalities can be taken care of early. Traveler's checks are easy to cash throughout Mexico.

ATMs

ATM machines throughout Mexico can be used to receive pesos using the bank card from your bank account. Make sure the symbol on the back of your card matches one of the available providers at the ATM. As "card cloning" is not unheard of (where thieves install cameras at isolated ATMs and get your card and PIN number), it is best to withdraw cash in an indoor, secure ATM, which are often found inside of bank branches. Especially in Mexico City, it is advisable only to take out cash during the day, and avoid doing so on the street. Remember that only a four digit pin can be used in Mexico.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are widely accepted in most parts of Mexico. Credit and debit cards may be a safer alternative to carrying large sums of cash with you. You may get a discount for paying cash, and merchants in smaller towns may only deal in cash. In addition to bringing a bit of back up cash to Mexico, you may also consider bringing a few travelers checks.

Safety with Money

It isn’t advisable to carry large amounts of cash. Pickpockets on public transportation or in large cities aren’t unheard of. It is best to keep with you only what you need, so that you don’t make yourself a target for theft. Don’t exchange money at the Mexico City Airport, and arrive with some pesos so that you can take authorized transportation.

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