Hi everyone my name is Kirsten, i study Spanish and Italian, and this year I am studying at the wonderful Tecnólogico de Monterrey, Campus Querétaro in Mexico. Being my first blog, I want to speak about the preparations needed in order to study in Mexico, as when I was getting ready to come here that was the information I really wished I could have found somewhere! I hope it will be helpful and interesting for some of you as you begin to think about your year abroad.
Obtaining the visa can be one of the most important aspects of preparation for any country. A visa is needed to study in Mexico over 180 days, and the type you need is ´Residente Temporal Estudiante´ Although the process didn’t take too long for me for Mexico, even with some setbacks, I would still recommend to do it sooner rather than later as having it sorted will make you less stressed and able to focus on other elements. To get the visa, you need to go to your local consulate, which for UK nationals, is in London. The consulate requires some basic documentation, such as copies of passport, photos etc, and most importantly the original letter of acceptance from the Mexican university (ie the one they send over in the post, bear this in mind and apply to the uni as soon as possible!!). You must make an visa appointment online, the appointment takes about 10 minutes as long as all the documents are correct, they then keep your passport at the consulate and send it back through secure fast post with a visa stamp in it. For me I had an appointment on the Monday, and received my passport with the stamp in Edinburgh on the Thursday of that week. Information and guidance is available from https://embamex.sre.gob.mx/reinounido/index.php/es/.
Original letter of acceptance
However my visa application did not come without stress, and this was due to the original letter of acceptance. Make sure when you are applying to Tec, that if you are going for a full year, you apply for a full year and not just one semester! I only remember seeing the option to apply for one semester, so assumed that I did that then, and then later on in the year would apply for the following spring semester. However, this meant that on my letter of acceptance it only showed me studying for a period of one semester, which of course the consulate did not accept as they need to have proof of study for one year in order to grant the visa. This resulted in a LOT of stress, as I needed to communicate with the Mexican university to apply for the second semester and get a new letter sent out ASAP. This was a stressful time for me, which could have been avoided had I double checked these things and done it all sooner so I really do urge you to do things as soon as you can! What I can say from this experience, is that the international office at Tec is very helpful (just as the Glasgow one is) and they will do all they can to assist, so if you have any problems (after speaking to me of course) don’t hesitate to get in touch with them.
I went to my local GP and booked a travel appointment, which is a consultation with a nurse to find out what vaccinations are necessary. It is also useful to go to your GP and ask for a print out of your vaccination history, to see which ones you are missing or need to be updated. For Mexico, it is recommended to have Hepatitis A, Tetanus & Typhoid courses, and Dipheria is also suggested. On the NHS, you can receive a Dipheria, polio & Tetanus booster, Typhoid, and Hepatitis A, which can sometimes be a combined vaccination with Hep B. Rabies vaccination is also listed as an option for Mexico, however after weighing it up I decided against it as I do not plan to be in very rural areas so the risks are pretty low.
The currency is Mexican pesos, with £1 equal to $23.07 at the time of writing this. Some prepaid travel cards are available in pesos, such as Revolut, which can be a good option as it has minimal extra fees and can feel more secure than carrying around a lot of cash. Personally however, I came with a substantial amount of pesos, and split it into different purses and compartments of my bags, and now whenever I need to get money out I use my debit card from RBS to withdraw large quantities of money. This comes with a fee, but it is not too bad, I have found with RBS cards, Santander ATM’S have the lowest fee.
I am going to finish this blog here as these are the elements I had most wanted help with when I was preparing for Mexico. The next post (which I am just about to upload now) will be a lot more exciting and a lot more about the vivid, incredible country that I am living in!
However, as a last but very important word, as you will most likely know, in the past weeks Mexico has been struck by forceful earthquakes which has sadly taken the lives of hundreds, and left many more without homes and basic necessities. It saddens me to see this wonderful country and its fantastic people suffering, and so i would urge you to make a donation, no matter how little. To find out more information and donate, the following websites are useful:
http://www.topos.mx/ (Topos is a is a nonprofit rescue brigade made up of volunteers that was created after a 1985 earthquake)
Also through paypal: firstname.lastname@example.org topos.mx
Gracias amigos. Hasta luego!!