Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Mexico has one of the world's largest economies, and is considered both a regional power and middle power. Mexico ranks sixth in the world by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites with 31, and in 2010 was the tenth most visited country in the world.
Mexico is a North American country that shares a border to the north with the United States and a border to the south with the Central American countries Belize and Guatemala. The country also has very long coastlines with the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and a short coastline with the Caribbean Sea. Mexico is a very popular vacation destination for travelers from all over the world, especially the US and Canada, and earns the most from tourism of all countries in Latin America. In addition to a multi-ethnic society, the country has a wide range of natural features from sparkling ocean waters and beaches to rugged deserts and spectacular mountains. Major industries include food and beverages, tobacco, chemicals, iron and steel, petroleum, mining, textiles and clothing, automobiles, consumer durables and tourism. Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country by population in the world.
Mexico is a large country, so the climate varies considerably from one location to another. In general, the country has both tropical and temperate zones, with the northern part of the country being warm in the summer and cooler in the winter and the southern part being at a fairly constant temperature year round, about 24 to 28 degrees C. Many major cities are located at high elevations, which gives them a mild climate and temperatures that range from about 16 to 18 degrees C. The northern part of the country is much drier than the south.
Mexican culture blends indigenous cultures with Spanish culture, reflecting the long colonization by Spain. The culture is also heavily influenced by the US. Traditional dances, along with visual arts and film are very popular entertainment options, along with both traditional and modern music. Mexican cuisine combines techniques and flavors from indigenous and Spanish traditions and includes rice, meat, garlic, onions, vanilla, avocado, tomatoes, pineapples, squash and beans, among other foods. Sports are very popular, with soccer and baseball drawing the largest crowds. In addition, Mexico’ s central location in the Americas makes it a great jumping off point for traveling in both North and South America.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Mexico is very low. One bedroom apartments can be rented for about $US 200-300 per month, and utilities and Internet cost about $US 100 per month.
International students planning to study for more than 6 months in Mexico must have a visa. The student should apply for the visa in person at the Mexican embassy or consulate in their home country. The student needs to bring the acceptance letter from the school they will be attending, a notarized bank statement or certification showing that they will have at least $US 350 per month during their stay and a certificate of good health. The student visa does not allow the student to work. Within 30 days of arriving in Mexico, the student also must register at the National Registry of Foreign Citizens.
Study in Mexico
Higher Education in Mexico
The higher education system in Mexico is similar to the United States, with bachelor’ s, master’ s and doctoral degrees. In addition, associates degrees are awarded by some institutions, similar to community colleges in the US.
Why Study in Mexico?
Mexican institutions offer hundreds of master’ s degree programs in a wide range of subjects, including humanities, social sciences and engineering. Many programs are offered on a part-time basis or have classes at night and some programs, especially business master’ s degrees, are taught in English. Students who are already proficient in Spanish or who want to increase their Spanish fluency will find studying in Mexico to be very rewarding. More than 7,600 international students already study at more than 100 higher education institutions in Mexico, with most of them coming from France, the United States, Spain, Germany and Colombia. In addition to obtaining a high-quality education at low cost, students can also experience Mexico’ s diverse culture and natural beauty during breaks.
Mexico has more than 1,200 institutions of higher education in six categories including public universities, private universities, technological universities, technological institutes, teacher training colleges and other public institutions. About half of the universities are public. For the most part, only public and private universities award master’ s degrees and PhDs. Technological universities award two-year associates degrees only.
Tuition and Program Duration
Tuition at public universities and technological universities and institutes is free to Mexican citizens; however, there may be fees which can be as high as $US 150 per semester. Tuition at private universities varies widely and can be very expensive, with some charging $US 20,000 or more per year. Most master’ s degree programs are 2 years long.
The higher education academic year in Mexico runs from September through August and is based on semesters. The fall semester usually begins in late August and runs for 16 weeks through early December, followed by a week of final exams. After the winter holiday break, spring semester classes begin in mid to late January and run until about the middle of May, followed by exams. A shorter summer term is also usually available.
Mexico enjoys a very low unemployment rate, so there are many opportunities for professionals with master’ s degrees to find work, especially in major industry sectors such as petroleum, food processing, electronics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and consumer goods. The logistics, transportation, construction and services sectors are also experiencing growth. Foreign nationals will need a work permit. Students who want to remain in Mexico to complete PhD studies or research will find a welcoming environment and world-class scientific and technical research facilities at many universities.
Mexico has public health care for Mexican citizens, but international students should plan to obtain private health insurance or insurance from the health plan in their home country. Students should be sure that the policy is valid in Mexico.
Many visitors to Mexico are surprised by the intensity of the sun. Don’ t forget to bring or buy sunscreen and use it regularly!