Before coming abroad I thought I’d imagined and walked through pretty much every scenario in my head. From leaving home to landing at the airport, getting the keys to my new house, my first day of university – the control freak in me didn’t think there would be much that could massively surprise me. How wrong I was! I’m in my 4th week now and the last month has gone by in a blur. The first week was tough. I missed home and didn’t start classes until the second week so felt like I didn’t have anything to do (besides arrange my visa and open a bank account, neither of which are yet completed… welcome to Mexico!). Looking back on it now, that time was golden (not least because I had no work to do) but because it was time for me to spend on my own and get to grips with calling this new place ‘home’, which shouldn’t be underestimated. Starting classes (no one calls them ‘lectures’ here) was a great way to meet new people and believe me when I say that as an international student, almost everyone will want to be your friend! All classes are 2 hours long here and they can start as early as 7am and finish as late as 9pm which definitely took some getting used to. But academically speaking everything has settled down and I have stopped constantly comparing it to Avenue Campus!
Mexico is a great country for so many reasons but I think one of the main ones is because of it’s location. Technically in North America, there are so many beautiful places to visit both in and around Mexico. There are lots of organised trips here by what I can only liken to a Students’ Union (but it’s not really the same) to interesting towns and attractions near Toluca. Two weekends ago I went on a trip to Nevado del Toluca, a volcano about 20 miles southwest of Toluca. We left super early and when we got there it was FREEZING (nobody told me I needed to pack a coat to come to Mexico!) but beautiful. Last week I was lucky enough to be able to visit Cancun too. It was very touristy so if all-inclusive resorts are your thing then I’d recommend it, but otherwise I can’t wait to visit the ‘pueblos mágicos’ near here. There are supposedly 111 ‘magic towns’ in Mexico that are famous for being really beautiful and avoiding the impact of tourism.
The start of a year abroad can be a whole host of things – daunting, overwhelming, exciting and eye-opening to name just a few. My advice, only 4 weeks in, would be to soak it all up. Even the difficult bits. Write it all down, take pictures, tell people at home, sit and people watch. It’s a huge adventure and it should be remembered!