Viva la Mexico!
Ahh, Mexico. We're all familiar with the spring break beach-party scenes portrayed in movies and TV, and perhaps you've even dipped your toes in the sand at one of Mexico's famous vacation destinations a time or two, but did you know that this country is packed to the brim with educational opportunities for study abroad in Mexico?
Consider Mexico's ancient civilizations: the Mayans, the Aztecs, the Zapotecs and dozens of additional cultures built and maintained fascinating societies here, many of which can still be accessed and studied by foreign students.
Aside from Mexico's ancient history, its current world political positions provide ample opportunity to learn a political system which, although similar in design to our own, is played out much differently in practice.
With over 2000 institutes of higher education, Mexico proves itself time and time again as a top study abroad locale for students with an interest in nearly any discipline, but especially those interested in economics; social sciences; ancient history; Spanish language and literature; and public administration and politics. Study abroad in Mexico is a great way to learn about the rich culture and gain college credits.
Hot and Sunny, With a Side of Afternoon Rain
Mexico boasts only two seasons - wet and dry, which probably won't upset students who are used to freezing temperatures and blustery conditions during winter months. Fall or winter semester just may be the perfect time to escape to Mexico's mild temperatures! Rainy season lasts from June through November, and is characterized by brief (but heavy) rainfalls, usually taking place in the afternoon. Dry season runs from late November to early June. Temperatures during this time can reach nearly 100 degrees in some areas.
The Baja peninsula - which includes the cities of Tijuana, Mexicali and La Paz - is a desert-like region with very little rainfall, and is also considered the hottest portion of the country.
The vacation destinations of Cancun and Acapulco are located within the Yucatan Peninsula and Southern Mexico. These areas have thick rainforests with very high temperatures at times, and usually much more rainfall than the rest of the country.
There are also several mountainous regions in Mexico: the San Cristobal de las Casas mountain ridge can get to about thirty-two degrees in the depths of winter, while the Oriental Sierra Madre Ridge in the northern territory is arid and hot, with temperatures reaching well over 100.
With the mostly pleasant weather conditions, foreign students studying abroad in Mexico are universally thrilled with the leisure activities available. From visiting the popular beach destinations of Puerto Vallarta or Ixtapa, to SCUBA diving in Cozumel, to exploring majestic ancient ruins outside of the Mayan Riviera, there are no limits on the adventures to be had when you're not in class.
Consider a day-trip to see the famous El Castillo pyramid and the ghastly Temple of Skulls-an ancient sacrificial platform at Chichen Itza. With a mere $10 admission fee, the price is well-worth the cultural perspective you'll gain.
If you're after a more thrilling adventure, climbing Piaccho del Diablo (Devil's Peak) in Baja is sure to get your heart racing. This 10,000 foot peak is not only a supremely challenging climb, but the trails are poorly marked and hardly maintained. You'll definitely need your compass, a topographical map and a strong dose of perseverance!
Perhaps stargazing is your thing. If so, a trip to the Mapimi Biosphere Reserve should definitely be at the top of your list. Along with native plants and local vegetation, this reserve boasts an observatory so isolated from city lights that you're sure to see a wealth of nighttime twinkle in the sky.
With the abundance of mind-bending activities and attractions to visit, you might have to pinch yourself to remember that you're here for an education! With thousands of schools - from teaching colleges, to 2 year technical schools and full-fledged 4-year universities, the options for studying abroad in Mexico are nearly limitless. Here's a sampling of just a few of the study abroad programs offered in Mexico:
- Butler University runs the Institute for Study Abroad in Mexico. A renowned university in the US, Butler maintains its high standards for educational excellence in its study abroad programs all over the world. At its Mexico location in the Yucatan Peninsula, students can complete a broad liberal arts education at Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan while living with a Mexican host family.
- International Study Abroad (ISA) runs a fantastic program at University of Guanajuato near the hustle and bustle of one of the world's most populous cities: Mexico City. Founded on the principles of truth, knowledge and human decency, this school offers studies in Philosophy, History, Chemistry, Human Research and more.
- Rutgers State University of New Jersey pairs with Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan, and focuses on Spanish language studies. Students are placed in only non-English speaking home and classes. The language and culture immersion has proved to be immensely beneficial for foreign students really seeking out a feel for the country they're studying in.
An Optimal Study Abroad in Mexico Experience
With Mexico's vast political and cultural histories, many students find it to be a top location to study abroad. Its distinguished universities and range of educational opportunities provide a top-notch education, whether it's for a summer, a semester, or all four years of school.