Past Review

By (Plan II, Latin American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin) for

Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM): Queretaro - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained first-hand insight into the Mexican culture, which I have studied and always admired. I will be studying in South America next summer, and this experience has taught me that I need to have a longer study abroad experience next time. It was difficult to come back to America and re-adjust after such a short period of time. I still felt like I had a lot that I wanted to do and experience in Mexico.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

This is hands down the best Spanish class I have ever taken. The class was taught in Spanish and was split into two sections: Grammar and Conversation/Composition. The class utilized technology very well, and there was a fun project and presentation every week (ie, cooking and presenting on a traditional Mexican dish).

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

She was always willing to answer my questions and sent out constant reminder e-mails.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a gated community with a host family of 6 people, more or less. I had 1 other roommate who was studying abroad from Singapore, and we each had our own rooms and bathrooms. My housing situation was ideal. <br /><br /> The neighborhood was incredibly safe. I walked 35 minutes to school every morning and rode the bus back after class. My house was a 15 minute taxi ride to the downtown area and was also located near a major shopping area. My host family was incredibly welcoming, and I was treated as a family member and an independent student. My host mother had all of my amenities readily available as she's been hosting students for almost 30 years now.

* Food:

My host mom made incredible food, and everything in Mexico is delicious. I am a major foodie, and I absolutely enjoyed every single meal I ate.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I enjoyed all of the trips, but mostly the ones to Teotihuacan, Coyoacan, Huasteca and Guanajuato. I wish we had been given more free time, but it is understandable that they did not want to put us in any danger in Mexico. My friends and I stayed in different locations often times, finding our own hotels and roding the public buses back to Queretaro.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Taxi Seguro was the safe taxi service offered by the University. Safety in Queretaro is not a major issue, and I was always accompanied by other international students- we traveled in groups. The city was incredibly clean (cleaner than most American cities), and I never felt uncomfortable or unsafe in any way.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I wish I had known about the fee to pay for weekend trips earlier. I had to pay that and housing to the University while in Mexico.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intermediate 1 Spanish
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I practiced Spanish with everyone inside and outside of class- friends, vendors, my host family, etc. The only people that really spoke English were the Americans that were studying abroad, and that was usually when we were with each other only. To improve language skills abroad, I would suggest not speaking any English at all and interacting with others as much as possible, asking questions and whatnot, at various locations: restaurants, markets, etc.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This program is for the student that desires a good educational experience without a huge culture shock.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Intermediate 2 Spanish

Course Department: SPN312L
Instructor: Sandra Gonzalez/Liliana Quirarte
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: The course was challenging, though the textbook was written in Castilian Spanish. Field trips were relevant and exciting, and they exposed us to Mexican culture. Sandra was always well-prepared and willing to answer questions. I participated more in this class because there were only 6 students total and because I was motivated to do so.
Credit Transfer Issues: I failed to turn in two course evaluation forms that were due while I was abroad. I would suggest that a reminder be e-mailed to the students if these forms are required in the future.