When most think of Cancún, Mexico, they think of glitzy hotels and crazy nightclubs, but there is more to this coastal city than spring break parties. Cancún is where two worlds meet: the party town full of tipsy teens, and the colorful, busy “El Centro” outside of the tourist zone. It is home to many top-notch universities in Central America and is one of the top destinations for study abroad. Whether you want to soak up the beauty of undeveloped beaches, explore ancient ruins, or practice your Spanish, studying abroad in Cancún will not disappoint!
Popular Ways on How to Study Abroad in Cancún, Mexico
Located on the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in southeastern Mexico, Cancún is the perfect location to study abroad, whether you’re a history buff or a language fanatic. The city is full of contrasting resorts and colorful neighborhoods, thriving nightclubs and undeveloped beaches, fancy seafood restaurants and local taco joints. It is the story of old world charm meeting modern innovation in a destination with endless learning opportunities.
Popular subjects to study in Cancún. Studying abroad in Cancún gives students the opportunity to travel to historical sites from ancient times. History and archaeology are some of the most popular subjects to study for this reason, and students can visit ancient Mayan, Aztec, and Zapotec civilizations to enhance their learning experiences. With many complex social issues throughout the country, social sciences, anthropology, and gender studies are other popular subjects. And of course, let’s not forget about our Spanish language classes!
Short-term and summer programs vs. long-term programs in Cancún. The length of time you spend on study abroad in Cancún depends on many factors, from the type of course to the time you have available. Luckily, Cancún has programs to suit every student. Many choose to study abroad for a year or semester, taking university courses. If you don’t have the time and money to commit to several months abroad, consider a short-term summer course where you can participate in language immersion or volunteering.
Attending universities vs. other program types in Cancún. With over 2,000 higher education institutes throughout the country, students have plenty of options when it comes to studying abroad in Cancún. While university classes are popular, other students can combine studies with field work, volunteering, or Spanish immersion. Participate in community projects, help out at an orphanage, or conduct your own studies in culture and language outside of class time.
Life Abroad in Cancún, Mexico for International Students
International students in Cancún will never be bored. While it’s easy to get caught up in the stereotypical party scene with nightclubs galore in the main tourist district, there is much more to Cancún than nightlife. “El Centro,” or the city center, features walking trails around the garden park, beautiful libraries, football fields for active students, green golf courses, and bike paths to explore the city. When you study in Cancún, be sure to take day trips to Tulum to visit some of the best preserved Mayan ruins in Mexico, or spend days on local beaches soaking up sea life. Explore turtle farms on Isla Mujeres, spot exotic birds on Isla Contoy, or swim with whale sharks on Isla Holbox!
The best way for students to experience the Mexican lifestyle during study abroad programs in Cancún is to stay away from tourist traps whenever possible. Venture out of the city and live in a homestay with local Mexican families who will help you integrate into the culture and practice your Español. Hunt down delicious, spicy street food where you can chat with locals over lunch. Take a break from nightclubs, and party at local festivals instead where you’ll celebrate everything from Semana Santa (Holy week) to Cinco de Mayo.
GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop for Study Abroad Students in Cancún
As with any big move abroad, studying abroad in Cancún will take time in preparation. With thousands or higher education institutions to choose from, students will need to do their research when choosing a school for their studies. Each program is different, but many will include costs for tuition, housing, activities, and even food – almost like those all-inclusive resorts! Make sure you double check the language requirement, as some universities will teach classes in Spanish and others in English. While it’s a good idea to enroll in Spanish classes to help your communication as you study in Cancún, you’ll find plenty of English speakers all over Cancún.
While other parts of Mexico are notorious for crime, Cancún is located in a much safer area of the country. It is outside of the dangerous cartel zone, and is better known for its rich history, beautifully-preserved Mayan ruins and colonial cities, and pristine diving and snorkeling spots on the beaches. While it’s important to keep your wits about you, you can assure Mom and Dad that this destination will not put you in harm’s way.
If you’re looking for a learning experience in a foreign country, studying abroad in Cancún could be the perfect solution! This sunny destination offers a little something for every student, whether you want to spend your time on sandy beaches, amongst ancient ruins, or in crazy nightclubs. Practice your Spanish and enhance your learning as you explore this Mexican paradise.
We’re just getting this fiesta started! Don’t forget to read our comprehensive guide on studying abroad in Mexico.