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This is a blog made by students from Tecnológico de Monterrey with the help from exchange students

 

To all those people who have fallen in love with a country on the other side of the world (and to those who have not done it yet)




“If you go live in México, you are going to be in danger all the time, find the narcos and get bored in the desert with lazy mexicans” - Friends and family back home.
 
Photo: Iñaki Tena & Daniel Lozano

"When I received the letter from school saying I had been accepted for my exchange in Mexico, I can't deny it… I was terrified.
Was I really making the right choice? Should I change my mind and go somewhere less “risky”?
Am I going to regret it?
 
Photo: Nancy Shan

All these questions went through my mind until I finally made the decision, little did I know that I was making the best decision of my entire life…
It is hard when you are raised in a country far away from the reality of others like Mexico, all I ever heard about this place was bad things, but I discovered that it is actually not dangerous, just like any country in the world, there are dangerous places but only in the outer sides of their cities.

My first positive surprise was when I landed in Mexico, in the middle of winter it was actually cold! I never imagined mexicans having cold weather, weren't we talking about cactus and desert?
People were actually smiling and for a strange reason, they made me feel like I was landing in my home country.

I can't lie, my first week living here was kind of shocking, since I did not even know how to greet people, or the reason they were all being kind to me, were they trying to hit on me?
Having to convince my mom that I was doing “fine” was as hard as trying to tell my friends that I was actually learning a lot about mexican culture.
 
Photo: Inoue Yusuke 

I decided to give this place a chance and thought maybe it could surprise me, and God did it go well! I started to realize how the beautiful sun shines pretty much all the time for mexicans, maybe it’s one of the reasons they are so energetic, happy, welcoming and generous…  I was amazed of how much Mexico had to offer.

How was it possible that one day you can be climbing pyramids, one of the 7 wonders of the world, the next day you are lost in the middle of the jungle, next you are enjoying a shower in a giant waterfall and the next day you are hanging out in a beach next to a desert with cactus?
 
Photo: Daniel & Iñaki

Mexico is actually the only country where I could find all these in one place.

After some adjustments, food was actually quite good, and I could easily find my favourite food from my country in supermarkets! (thank God) Enjoying those “tacos al pastor” coming back from the club was heaven in my mouth. I tried pozole, enchiladas, tortas cubanas, guacamole and many other amazing foods that even when they seemed strange at first, they were amazingly tasty.



I caught myself understanding the concept of "wanderlust" ... even walking downtown was a little magical experience, with music in the streets and culture, and I could enjoy it so much more because it was incredibly cheap!

Why does media never tell us about  the beauty of Querétaro, Guanajuato, Grutas de Tolantongo, Puebla, Huasteca Potosina or San Miguel?
I swear the water is not blue, IT IS turquoise!… how is this even possible?

With half the money I’d use back home, I could buy delicious meals, or even go out to parties and travel to close places nearby! I could even afford a big beautiful apartment, dinners at restaurants and they have UBER here for god’s sake ! :D
 
Photo: Nancy Shan

Mexicans surprised me when I realized they are such happy people that even on the saddest day they manage to keep their smiles. They actually celebrate death with a night full of stars, colors, masks and music, people celebrated and remembered their dearest ones who went away, and the feeling when I realized this made me fall in love with Mexico.

6 months was actually a very, very short time to stay in this country, and having to say goodbye to the place that welcomed me as a second home, was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.
 
Photo: Marin R´Sp

A piece of my heart will stay in Mexico forever, and I am sure that next time I hear someone talking only bad things about this beautiful country, I am prepared to give arguments to prove them wrong. So my advice here is to expand your boundaries, do not believe everything you hear or everything you see on the media... There is so much more to every country that what you can find on one of those stupid travel guides you buy for 15 bucks. Learn as many languages as you can, even if someone tells you “why on earth are you freakin’ studying Polish?” each language is like a pair of glasses which lets you see the world in a new, astonishing way.

Every single corner of this world has a surprise waiting for you to discover, and there is no better way of doing this than by actually living abroad for a while.  My second home turned out to be Mexico but yours might be Gabon, or Cambodia, or Azerbaijan.  Do not ever judge other cultures without first immersing in them, we are all the way we are because of what we’ve lived, and believe me: we have all lived very, very different things.

Best wishes,
The kid who fell in love with Mexico "
 
Photo: Nancy Shan










About the Authors

Ximena Ugalde and José Luis Paulín are both university students in Mexico who are part of the association “AMI: Amigos Mexicanos e Internacionales” (Spanish for Mexican and International Friends). AMI works directly with the exchange students who arrive to the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in its Queretaro Campus and helps them immerse into the fascinating Mexican culture
Both authors were inspired to write this piece not only by working with the international students in Mexico but also by their own life-changing study abroad experiences: Ximena in Marseille, France and José Luis in Bangkok, Thailand.
Blogspot link: http://ximenaugalde.blogspot.mx/


Special thanks to our exchange students in Querétaro who inspired us to create this article <3 :  

Follow their amazing experiences in México:
Facebook: Nancy Shan, Iñaki Tena, Daniel Lozano, Inoue Yusuke, Marin R´Sp, Daniel Vo.
Facebook: Mexicana con alas
Facebook: Jose Luis Paulin



* To get to know more about the exchange programs in our university visit: http://www.itesm.mx/wps/wcm/connect/SIM/Queretaro+EN/

* To see how much fun we actually have here watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoguRcHchDQ

* To get to know more about AMI add us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ami.queretaromexico?fref=ts

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