Trying to decide where to study abroad? Thinking that Central America may just be where your heart is trying to take you? Look past the news of dangerous crime, corruption, and poverty, and you'll discover the real beauty and opportunity that exists just south of the U.S., and we aren't just talking about beaches and resorts.
10. The Food.
Authentic Mexican food is nothing like the Americanized Mexican fare you’ve inevitably eaten in the United States. Cuisine in Mexico offers some of the most diverse and delicious options in the world. From juicy pork tacos slow-roasted for hours, to the seven rich mole sauces of the Oaxaca region; from huevos divorciados (fried eggs, separated by chilaquiles) to fresh squeezed juices in every market — Mexican fare is usually fresh, often healthy, and always full of flavor.
9. The Weather.
No matter where you choose to study in Mexico, you’re likely to encounter temperate weather all year long. This means that while many of your university counterparts in the U.S. deal with nasty seasonal changes, you’ll be able to soak up the sun and enjoy warm weather while walking to class all year long.
8. Dia De Los Muertos.
Day of the Dead — Muertos, as it is commonly called — is a huge cultural event in Mexico that celebrates the return of spirits to earth each year at the beginning of November. The time around Muertos is a magical one in Mexico, filled with parades, festivals, the building of altars in honor of deceased loved ones, and a cornucopia of seasonal food delights.
7. The Prices.
Cost is a large concern for many students when deciding if and where to study abroad. Mexico is an excellent option for those who want to study abroad without the price tag that comes with spending a semester or year in more expensive regions of the world. Not only are the program costs in Mexico generally lower than comparable programs in Europe, but the cost of living there is extremely low too. This allows students more opportunities for cultural activities, extracurriculars, and travel.
6. The Slang.
Sure, in any Spanish-speaking country you’ll have the opportunity to improve your Spanish. But while studying in Mexico you’ll have a chance to learn a version of the Spanish language. Mexicans are notorious for the amount of slang they use and the number of cultural references embedded in their everyday speech. The accomplishment of mastering local slang makes learning Mexican Spanish totally worth the confusion you suffer at the beginning!
5. The Scenery.
Mexico offers some absolutely breathtaking natural scenery. It boasts some of the best beaches in the world, plus amazing mountain ranges and beautiful jungles. Anywhere you study abroad in Mexico, you’re bound to be impressed by what nature has to offer.
4. Cultural Attractions.
Mexico has world-renowned cultural and historical sites. From the Mayan ruins of Palenque to the myriad of museums in its capital city, Mexico has art, culture, and history galore. To make it even better, all cultural and historical sites run by the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH) are free for students with a valid student ID from a Mexican university (have I mention already that studying abroad in Mexico is a real bargain?).
3. The Music.
Mexican music has a passion you can feel, even if your grasp of Spanish is just asi-asi. One of the most popular forms of music is banda, the Mexican equivalent of country music. Often the bands are named after the region or city they are from. People in Mexico have strong loyalties to their favorite banda group. No Mexican fiesta is complete until all the men gather round to belt out their favorite banda ballads to the women they adore.
2. They’re Our Neighbors.
In addition to Mexico’s wonderful scenery, history, and food, there is a very practical reason to choose studying abroad in Mexico: they are our neighbors. That means their culture, language, and people have a huge impact on the United States. Millions of immigrants and first-generation Mexican Americans live in the U.S., and studying abroad in Mexico affords American students the opportunity to understand Mexican culture and history, and how it is part of our collective history.
1. The People.
If the other reasons don’t convince you that studying abroad in Mexico is a fantastic experience, the people certainly will. Mexicans are exuberant, lively, colorful, and warm. It’s not uncommon for students in homestay families to come to think of their family as truly theirs, laughing with them, crying with them, and celebrating with them. Taxi drivers and the woman who runs the corner store will become friends in a matter of minutes.
The people truly are what make Mexico one of a kind.