My semester abroad in Mexico 2013/14 came about through MicroEDU. This organization arranges semesters abroad around the globe and helps you with the registration at the universities. My heart beat faster when I saw that study abroad programs in Mexico were also being offered. According to abbreviationfinder, Universidad Regiomontana is short for UR.
The Regiomontana University in Monterrey, Mexico is a small, manageable university. It wasn’t particularly difficult to apply there and a nice woman named Katrin is always there for you, even after your arrival in Monterrey she is always happy to answer your questions. Despite my knowledge of Spanish, I found it helpful that she is German and that I didn’t always have to translate everything into Spanish.
In addition, every exchange student is assigned a buddy who will then help you find an apartment and is simply a general contact for all situations in life. Mostly it is students from the higher semesters who will be assigned to you, which can also be an advantage when choosing a course. Another advantage of the university is that you can take a look at the courses on a trial basis and only then have to make a final decision.
The teachers are nice and you always have a small foreigner bonus, which is an advantage on days when you would like to travel for a long weekend. The university itself is not as demanding as a German one, but I don’t think anyone really expects that. Instead, I was able to learn a lot of practical things. Since I mainly learned theory and even more theory in the last 4 semesters in Germany, it was refreshing to get to know the economy in a different way and much more realistically. So we had to do the marketing course and promotion develop and market our own product. In the Go-To-Market Strategies course, we had to sell something every week and thus react extremely to supply and demand. All in all, I can say that I always enjoyed the university despite my unaccustomed homework and compulsory attendance.
I can also recommend the course for Mexican history and culture, which introduces you to Mexican culture in a cool way. During the entire trip that I made through Mexico after the semester, I found that I could recognize a lot of what I had learned in people’s behavior. When I then visited the various sights, I was able to remember what was said in many situations.
Life in Monterrey is definitely different from what you are used to in Germany, but it is a lot of fun to be there. I lived there in the “Zona Tec”, which is located directly at the other large university in Monterrey. This area is one of the safest residential areas in the city. With the bus 209 or the 1 you can get to the university relatively quickly and you don’t have to change. I often used the bus ride for homework. 🙂
Personally, I can only recommend everyone to move into a shared apartment. I lived in the “Departamentos Colibri”. These are recommended by the university. I felt very much at home there, not only because the area is really safe, but also because I had two super lovely Mexican roommates. Both were from Tec University and so they made it possible for me to get to know people outside of my university.
The city of Monterrey itself is not really that attractive, at least not from a tourist point of view. But it is a lively, big city with a beautiful park and an extremely large number of outdoor opportunities. You can climb, hike and bike, everything is in the immediate vicinity of the city and is not difficult to get to.
In San Pedro there is the party and club zone, although I have to say that I actually went more and more to house parties or met friends in bars. One of the reasons is that the clubs there cost almost as much as here in Germany.
I have to admit that Monterrey is not a particularly typical Mexican city, but you only notice this if you’ve been to the south of Mexico. Monterrey has a very American touch with huge malls and many well-known fast food chains. You can easily tell that many large companies have settled there.
It is lively and large, but also marked by the traces of the drug war. Even so, there was n’t a day when I felt uncomfortable or unsafe in the city. The Uni Regiomontana has the great advantage that it is located in the center of the city. Many of my tech friends have actually been to the center of the city twice when things get high and have missed out on so much of life there. The central location of the university gave me the chance to get to know the city better than many others.
All in all, I don’t want to miss out on my stay in Monterrey and I can say with a clear conscience that it was worth it for me.