Initially, as someone who’s already lived in two distinctly different countries for a couple of years, I thought that the exchange to Mexico wouldn’t be much. Haha, nope. Everything’s still new and different.
When I came here to Guadalajara, I was picked up by my Homestay family. Even though I’ve gotten used to flatting since last year, I chose the Homestay option to fully immerse myself in the culture, and family is an important aspect of the Mexican culture.
My Homestay family and I went on a trip to Tapalpa, a puebla mágico (magical village), to celebrate my Homestay mother’s sister’s Triathlon win.
Over there I got to see the whole big family, and they were very warm and welcoming. My Homestay family showed me around, explained what food I’m eating (and gave me lots of food to try), taught me what the shops were selling, and all.
My Homestay mother also said that it usually takes students two or three weeks before they fully get accustomed to the country and language. I came with an intermediate Spanish level (I took Spanish 201 in UoA), and even though I stumble a bit when I speak, it’s surprising how little you need to know to get around. Everyone’s also really nice and helpful, so don’t be scared to speak in Spanish!
I also got sick a couple of times since the second week, but it’s normal. Just drink electrolytes (‘Electrolit’ is really popular), and take some stomach medicine like Omeprazole.
Another challenge was the university life. In Tec de Monterrey you have a lot of workload but they’re not worth much, so you can balance them out with extracurriculars. They even separate the extracurricular area, and call them the “Life” area (hint: get a life yo).
At first, I honestly thought “pssh I don’t need no life”, but they’re free so I thought I’d give them a try. I started with watercolour classes, before deciding that Cardio Kickboxing might be better, since my cheap self didn’t want to buy the equipment for painting.
Tec is famous for its sports, so I was kinda afraid I would be stuck amongst pros kicking each other in their pro ways, and I’ll just sort of be there. Surprisingly, it’s really fun! Everyone’s learning too, no matter how good they are. My body would always ache a day after Kickboxing, but honestly, it’s crazy how fast you get to adapt to it.
I’d say that overall the transition here has been well. I contacted people who had been on the exchanges here and looked at the 360 blog posts, and that helps a lot. Moving to a new country on your own is a very different experience with many challenges. But what’s great is that you’ll see how surprisingly good humans (you too) are at adapting.