DeEstan Turner - 2014 Program Participant

Hiking in the Sierra Norte Mountain Range in Mexico

Sitting on the highest peak in the Sierra Norte Mountain Range, overlooking the valley

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I chose to study abroad in part because it was required for my degree, but more importantly I wanted an international experience that could set me apart in the increasingly competitive global workforce.

What made you select Mexico as opposed to other more traditional destinations?

Mexico was by far the best value for study abroad, which made this location very attractive. Furthermore, Mexico-U.S. relations have been a continually relevant topic in our media. I wanted to better understand Mexico’s history and culture.

Old church and monastery in Mexico

A visit to an old church monastery

What were your housing arrangements like in Oaxaca?

I lived in a beautiful two-story house surrounded by a garden of fruit trees and herbs that my host Mom used for cooking. My host family was very hospitable, and I had my own room with a shared bathroom. My host family’s house was within walking distance to the main city center in Oaxaca and different universities.

What was a typical day like as an international student in Mexico?

My day started around 7:00 a.m. with fresh breakfast prepared by the family. Following breakfast, I had a 20 minute walk to school and then classes that lasted from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Following classes, we returned to the house for a large lunch that took place anywhere between 1 and 2 p.m. Mexicans have a slightly different schedule for eating than in America. Breakfast is usually around the same time, but lunch is the biggest meal of the day and is in the early afternoon. Dinner is later, around 9:00 p.m., and usually consists of a light snack. Following lunch, we had free time to do any home work, attend cultural activities sponsored by Sol Education Abroad, or simply free time to explore on our own.

What advice would you give to other Texas A&M students interested in studying in Mexico?

Here in Texas we tend to have a very negative and one-sided view of Mexico. I would encourage any student looking to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country to consider Mexico. Mexico is one of the most geographically and biologically diverse nations in the world with a dynamic culture and exciting history. You simply cannot put Mexico in one box.

Petrified waterfall in Mexico

DeEstan exploring a petrified waterfall

How has studying abroad in Mexico impacted your life?

I will be graduating from Texas A&M in May of 2015 with the hopes of working abroad for a private or public company. My study abroad experience in Mexico gave me an advanced level of Spanish fluency and a broader base of knowledge of different cultures. I have no doubt that I will be able to use these experiences to make myself more competitive in my future job, and use the skills I have learned to perform at a higher level in the industry.

Would you recommend SOL Education Abroad’s program in Mexico to others?

I would most definitely recommend Sol Education Abroad to anyone looking to maximize their study abroad experience at a great value. The whole staff and on-site program directors were very helpful and wanted me to get the best of my experience. The program had a great mix of university classes coupled with cultural activities that allowed me to gain a deeper knowledge of the Mexican history and culture.

If you could go abroad again, where would you go?

I would go abroad again in a heartbeat to any country in the world. Experiencing different cultures gives you thrill that you cannot have in the United States. The world is such a big, diverse place that you would be missing out…on well…the world if you just stay where you are.