From September 4, 2011
Admittedly, I get a lot of blank stares when people find out I’ve applied to study abroad in Mexico.
A lot of people bring up drug cartels or say “What about Spain?”
Listen, I understand that there is a risk in Mexico. I had to sign the Travel Warning acknowledging that I was going to a country with an elevated risk. But at the same time I’m not going to Ciudad Juarez or Acapulco, I’m going somewhere that I feel is safe enough for me to study in. There is a risk in any foreign country but this is something that my heart is fully in.
Which also means I will be devastated if I don’t get in but for now I’m being optimistic and hoping/praying the best that I can.
As far as Spain goes…UNC has an AMAZING program in Spain. Btw this entry does not represent the views or opinions of UNC by any means. But a lot of students go on the program and I did not want that. My orientation leader went on the Spain trip and she actually has a blog raving about it. It sounds incredible and I would love to go to Spain but not for studying. Granted I am jealous that I won’t get to country hop. I mean I could hop on over to the US or to Honduras/El Salvador/Belize but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to be wandering Central America.
There’s something about Mexico that I just can’t describe though. The culture is so rich and I always feel welcome there. I feel like there’s always something to do and always someone to meet.
When I first looked into studying abroad Mexico was my original choice. But I was under the impression that all of the programs had been suspended so I started looking into South America. I was looking into schools in Chile and Argentina but I was not getting very excited. Not to say that Chile and Argentina wouldn’t be awesome, but they weren’t giving me the same feelings that Mexico did. I looked into Costa Rica and I had almost decided to go with that when I e-mailed my advisor to see if anything in Mexico would open up. He told me that there were still programs open and I freaked out. Any thoughts of any other countries were gone. I was determined to go to Mexico.
Originally I was looking into Cholula, Puebla, Mexico. It seemed like such an awesome program and I talked to a guy about it and he was in love with that part of Mexico after studying there. But then I decided to apply to Guadalajara…in the midst of my application I found out that the program was no longer open. My only choices left were Queretaro or Puebla. When I found out some of my best friends, who are family to me, were moving to Aguascalientes, Mexico…I was devastated. But I looked up both Queretaro and Puebla and found out Queretaro was significantly closer than Puebla. That helped me make my decision because I figured if I’m going to spend a semester in Mexico, it would help to be close to people I knew so I could visit sometimes. Also, I have friends in San Luis Potosi, Guadalajara, and Mexico City so I would be right in the center of all of these places.
I’m not saying that should be a determining factor in anyone’s decision though. Because even though I will be relatively near my friends, it’s still 2 hours at the closest to San Luis Potosi, 3.5 to Aguascalientes, and 4 to Guadalajara. Studying abroad is an adventure so while I’m so blessed to get to see some of my best friends down there, it will still be new and exciting to be on my own.