In the 8th semester I was a real late bloomer with the decision to spend a semester abroad. I knew that I wanted to experience something besides university, explore a multi-faceted country and get to know not only English, but another language at the same time. A friend who had studied in Monterrey a year earlier had introduced me to the Universidad Regiomontana and advised me to contact MicroEDU. I was a bit late and the application deadline had already expired, but MicroEDU and the Universidad Regiomontana made it possible for me to submit my documents and so I was able to study at the Universidad Regiomontana 2 months later – even without proof of English, such asTOEFL.
From experience, it is best to enter without a Mexican visa and apply for a visa later with the help of the university. Attention: If you stay in Mexico for more than 90 days and fly via the USA, you need a visa for the USA before entering the country.
Before I arrived, the International Office contacted me, advised me about visa and accommodation, and put me in touch with a study buddy, with whom I stayed for a few days after arriving at the airport and explored Monterrey’s nightlife. According to the motto “Mi casa es su casa” you will be warmly welcomed and accommodated in Mexico.
The internationals are advised to contact rentaplace (http://www. raplace. com/). You can do this by phone on site at any time – also in English – or before arrival in order to arrange an airport transfer and a subsequent viewing of the apartment. On the homepage you can also find hotels and hostels for the first few days. However, it is best to get in touch with your study buddy or write to rentaplace so that you can make contacts more quickly. The two largest residential complexes are called Villas TEC and Torres TEC, are approx. 15 minutes by taxi from the UR, are safe and offer non-stop parties. Many internationals from the other universities live here, as well as locals. The apartments are fully equipped, very modern (e. g. flat screen TV, American fridge) and mostly three people live.
There are inexpensive prepaid cell phones for communication and whoever has an account with the German bank does not pay any fees with Scotiabank. If you dare to be there for a while, two or three people should buy a car. Sounds crazy, but it’s worth it.
On my first day at university I got a guided tour through the university, was informed about do’s and don’ts and got to know all the internationals at the UR over a Mexican lunch. The UR is a private university in the center of Monterrey, with school-like classes and small classes. The university offers a free Spanish course as well as a course on Mexican history. Professors have a very friendly demeanor and teaching is more active than passive. In the university, as well as in everyday life, punctuality is considered rather unimportant. You can get to the university cheaply by bus or taxi.
Most of the big clubs are in the San Pedro district. The best way to get here is to share a taxi or have a drink in the party bus that goes directly from Villas Tec to the Pink Donkey. The TEC organization “International Student Embassy” organizes the party bus, as well as other short trips on long weekends. The UR also has such an organization: El Viajero (http://www. viajeselviajero. com/) organizes one-day or multi-day leisure tours.
During the semester break – or even during the semester – the cheapest way to fly within the country is with Vivaareobus (http://www. vivaaerobus. com/). Those who like to go on bus tours can travel even cheaper – for example with ADO. Mexico has a super organized bus system. This allows you to go anywhere very spontaneously, including the USA. During the semester break you even get a discount if you present a certificate as a student. In order to get to know and experience all facets of Mexico, you should put together a bus route. So you can climb in the north, diving in the east or surfing in the west. While Monterrey is very Americanized, the cities in southern Mexico have their own cultural character.
After my time in Mexico has passed by in a flash, I am writing this report and I have wanderlust. Of course, before I went to Monterrey, I had the media covering drug wars on my mind. However, in 7 months I was not once afraid or in a “threatening” situation. On the contrary, I have experienced a country with such kind-hearted and friendly people and a nature that can hardly be surpassed.