Even before I started studying, I knew that I wanted to spend a semester abroad. Since the tourism management studies at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (Frankfurt UAS) are dual, this unfortunately limits the choice of host universities quite a bit, as exactly the same modules that one would have had in Germany have to be attended abroad. In addition, our semester is shorter than that of the usual courses of study. The Universidad Regiomontana (U-ERRE) has offered itself excellently as a guest university because there are three trimesters per year here. So I decided to spend a semester in Monterrey with two friends. In retrospect, that was a great decision!
The organisation of the semester abroad went without a hitch, also thanks to the help of the International Offices in Frankfurt and Monterrey. The most complicated thing was to fill out the Learning Agreement, but this was also created and signed after some e-mails and comparing module descriptions
When we arrived in Mexico, we found out that all our courses were held in Spanish, although we were assured in Frankfurt that all the courses in the tourism study program were offered in English. In retrospect, however, this was not an unsolvable problem either. Since I already spoke Spanish, I was able to follow the lectures well. But also my fellow students, who did not speak Spanish, successfully passed all the courses. In principle, the level at the U-ERRE is lower than at the FRA-UAS. Even so, in Mexico attendance is compulsory, every four weeks there is an exam phase and there is always homework to do, which is graded and included in the final score. At the beginning it was quite exhausting, because firstly one is not used to having to give something away all the time and secondly everything was written in Spanish. But after some time it didn't take quite as long to do the homework and most professors give points just for the fact that you did the homework. In winter semester 2016/17 there were about 30 exchange students at the U-ERRE, many of them were Germans and about half of all Germans came from Frankfurt. Another great help is the Global Crew of U-ERRE. This consists of voluntary buddies who are assigned to the exchange students and are available to answer any questions. In addition, many fun activities are undertaken together
Another good way to meet new people is ISE. This is an organization for exchange students that offers free airport pick-up and housing services. My flat share with two Mexican girls also arranged ISE for me. I can definitely recommend you to look for a shared flat with Mexicans to improve your language skills and immerse yourself more in Mexican culture
Monterrey is a very industrial city and relatively western, which is also due to its proximity to the USA. The city itself is not beautiful, but it is very suitable for studying. There's nothing missing and there's a lot to see in and around Monterrey. Here are a few tips: Obispado, Cerro de la Silla, Chipinque, la Estanzuela, Santiago, Cola de Caballo, la Huasteca and San Pedro (Nightlife). The bus system works well and during the day you can easily travel by bus
And now for the fun part: travelling. In Mexico all travel possibilities are open to you. From Monterrey there are many cheap domestic flights, there are a large number of long-distance buses and also tours from tour operators. Personally I like it best to travel alone or with friends, because then you can decide for yourself where you want to go and how long you want to stay where. Renting a car with a German driver's license is no problem. Which places did I like best?
I especially liked Oaxaca, Tequila, Cuatro Ciénegas, Guanajuato, Tulum, Akumal (here you can swim with turtles for free on the beach, great as a day trip from Tulum) and the copper canyons. These are four times as big as the Grand Canyon and here there is the famous train "el Chepe", which travels through the gorges. Unfortunately it is not quite so cheap, but the experience is definitely worth it! I would recommend to take the train from Los Mochis to Posada Barrancas, because this is the most beautiful part of the route, and to spend at least one day and one night there. Here you will find the longest zip line in the world with a breathtaking view! From Posada Barrancas we made a private tour to Creel and from there we took the bus to Chihuahua, because you can save a lot of money and still miss nothing. Another possibility to save money in general is, like in Germany, always the (Mexican!) To have your student ID card with you. With this, one gets many discounts and to some big sightseeings, as for example Chichen Itzá, even free entrance
In conclusion, I can say that it was definitely the right decision to spend my semester abroad in Monterrey and I can advise everyone to do so. Have a heart, Mexico really isn't as dangerous as everyone thinks because of all the prejudices!
Finally I would like to thank the Frankfurt UAS, the U-ERRE and also the DAAD for the PROMOS scholarship and my great time in Mexico with many new experiences that will certainly be useful for me in the future!