After spending a relaxing two weeks in the gorgeous Caribbean sun, on the fifth of January I finally made it to Mexico City the starting point of a four-week journey across Mexico as a student of Tecnologico de Monterrey studying global business. Our first week was spent in Santa Fe, a business district in Mexico City where we learnt about demographics of the Mexican population and why that was important to doing business in the country. We also brushed up on theories of trade and the pros and cons of international business. Some of the highlights of our studies in Mexico City included a tour of MNE PepsiCo where we learnt all about their marketing strategy as well as some of their initiatives to increase female employment in the company – they also gave us each a HUGE bag of snacks to fuel us for our studies (and our upcoming test for that week).
Our other company visit included a tour of Kidzania, where children could play as adults for the day. This included being able to work for money (Kidzos) to spend in the theme park as well as learning skills such as driving. We even got to participate in some of the activities which was hilarious, I ended up crawling across a child sized home to save some mannequins from a mock fire as part of ‘The Fire Defence Force’. Whilst my academic experiences with the university over here were interesting and engaging, I enjoyed being able to explore the beautiful city in my spare time. Mexico was never on my travel radar before I got this amazing opportunity and I’m so glad I got to experience this amazing country with its rich culture, architecture and delicious food. My favourite destinations were Castillo de Chapultepec and the old historical centre Zocalo the buildings are stunning and are a juxtaposition to the skyscrapers of Santa Fe. The local markets were also such an interesting experience, I made sure to buy a few souvenirs (and street tacos) while I was there. We finished off the week visiting the Aztec ruins Teotihuacan, although our tour guide told us many different civilisations were present in the area at different points in time. The complex consisted of a few different temples and the view was well worth the difficult hike up the old rocky steps (which were very high might I add).
For the moment we have moved on to Queretaro and will be in Leon as of Sunday, classes and assignments have packed on for this week and we have another upcoming test so I’m sure to be occupied for the rest of the week.
Until next time!
Bright colours light up the streets, from the pavements you walk on, to the common fairy lights and piñatas hanging from above. Greeted with a smile in every store, a great amount of self-restraint is needed, not to purchase all the adorable market trinkets and souvenirs. The smiles continue on the streets, in the restaurants, at every conference, company visit and lecture.
Arriving with stern conversations on all kinds of safety and funny looks when I admitted to speaking very little Spanish, I have been pleasantly surprised with the ease of communication and quick adjustment to the cultural care-free attitude.
Any doubts I had arrived with, have been minimised to an extent that I would highly recommend visiting Mexico to all friends and family.
The great experiences continue with the variety of activities planned to aid our understanding of global business in Mexico.
During our week at Santa Fe, Mexico City, we had a scheduled visit to Pepsi Co. This was an incredible opportunity to understand the ‘behind the scenes’ of the company, how they are progressing in terms of social issues and their marketing structure.
A later visit to KidZania left the group feeling conflicted as the experience was entertaining, yet a deeper understanding of the company structure revealed some moral flaws.
The open discussions and intellectual conversations around all aspects of this trip, has already begun to increase my critical thinking more than ever.
En route to Queretaro, we stopped at Teotihuacan, where the steps were frightful, but the beautiful history and view from the top of the Pyramids overruled.
Queretaro itself is an incredible city. I have personally fallen in love with the campus, it has made the purpose of studying just that little bit more able, with sunset bike rides, free coffee and team volleyball. Not to mention, that all of us are close to professional salsa dancers now!
A trip into the center one night, opened our eyes to a whole new kind of beauty. Magnificent churches are everywhere you look, the architecture is unlike anything I have ever seen, and the raw quality of the homes gives off a hidden sense of comfort. It is hard to miss life back home, when behind every corner is a breathtaking moment.
After 14 days of memories, I am looking forward to the next two weeks, with an open mind and heart. A grateful gracias must be given to PMSLA for this incredible opportunity!
It is nearly the second week of my time here at the Technologico De Monterrey, and I’ve settled in well and having the best time! I have met people from different universities from around the world, and also met amazing Mexican people on a daily basis.
Initially, I did plenty of research before visiting Mexico. I was worried about how the media portrayed Mexico. However, my thoughts were wrong. People here were super friendly, kind and helpful. I felt very safe walking around the city and there was nothing to worry about.
When I first arrived in Mexico, around 4 days before the program started, I realised English wasn’t commonly used, and I struggled to communicate. However, over my time here, my Spanish vocabulary has improved, and I am able to communicate somewhat more than before. People in Mexico are so helpful and understanding and can guide you through a conversation. This has benefitted me as I have been able to break through a language barrier, and learned to adapt myself in a new environment; a very important life skill! At Monterrey Technology, most people knew English but trying to have conversations in Spanish seemed to be more beneficial.
Everyday is busy here at the university. With classes, assignments, weekly tests, company visits and sight-seeing, days goes by so quickly. I am really enjoying the company visits such as Pepsi Co, and the Wine Vineyards. This is because I love seeing the practical side of International business! The knowledge and experience that I received through these company visits are so valuable because I can view the theory right in front of my eyes, but also see what companies are doing differently from the theory. It is also interesting to see how business varies nation to nation, and how one has to adapt to do business in Mexico, but also the many advantages of doing business in this emerging nation. I would say cultural adaptation is a very crucial feature in doing business in Mexico.
In terms of the sight-seeing and other activities, we climbed the most beautiful pyramids in Teotihuacan, went to museums such as Frida Kahlo, saw the amazing buildings in Mexico city such as Metropolitan Cathedral, Torre Latinoamericana and Palacio de Bellas Artes, and tasted a wide range of delicious food among so much more! We also did Salsa dancing which was slightly difficult but with practice got so much easier. It was a super fun life activity that I would’ve never got to experience back at home.
It’s been an amazing two weeks and I’m looking forward the weeks to come to see what more Mexico has in store! I would also like to acknowledge and say a huge thank you to 360 International, Education NZ, and the PMSLA for this amazing experience that I’ll remember for a lifetime. Muchas Gracias!
As I first arrived at the Mexico City Airport on the final day of 2019, I expected myself to be constantly cautious, hyper-aware of my surroundings, and being anxious about the ‘dangerous’ country Mexico. All my peers, friends and family back in Auckland all warned me about the perils of Mexican gangs, crime, drugs and poverty.
How wrong were they – So was I.
On my first night, I saw the beautiful city lights, the vibrant street markets, the magnificent Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, the Mirador Torre Latino (Observation Tower), sound infrastructure and polite, kind people. The Uber drivers were especially courteous towards Western tourists like myself, and being in the country for a week made me realise how the stereotypes of Mexico from the West was mainly false. Although there may be some institutional problems across Mexico with high levels of corruption and drug cartels roaming across some parts of the nation, the future is definitely promising.
Walking around the centre of Mexico City with my fellow Kiwis part of the iWinterMX programme was really some special. Being physically at the country, observing my surroundings, talking to locals and the friendly Mexicans was totally different to what I read about back home in New Zealand.
Although the country may not be as developed as New Zealand, Australia, East Asian Economies such as South Korea, Taiwan, Japan or Singapore, the nation is well on its way to becoming an advanced country within the next few decades. With a young, industrious and high-skilled population, I saw parallels to South Korea when I was there in 2005 – Mexico reminded me of a country that just needs the right political institutional development to foster greater growth and development. Local vendors, street markets and even some ‘counterfeit’ goods were numerous, but in accordance with the Flying Geese Model, I genuinely believe Mexico’s potential is promising.
I began my international exchange programme at the Santa Fe campus of Tecnológico de Monterrey. The area is the industrious and financial hub of Mexico City and seems quite similar to typical Western areas. For the week, we went though the perils and benefits of global trade and internationalisation, learned about the Mexican economy and economic system. We also visited PepsiCo, Kidzania, had meetings with people from numerous Chambers of Commerce professionals, and a small medium enterprise Oliva 60 – a soap company.
I was also very much impressed with the education faculty members at Tecnológico de Monterrey. Our main Professor Anil Yasin and I built a wonderful friendship over the last two weeks, and I need to thank him for the knowledge and the wisdom has provided to all of us. He told us that Mexico currently has a promising economy with a young, high skilled labour force with developing democratic institutions. Greater integration to the global economy and foreign direct investment will aid Mexico’s economic development. I very much enjoyed my time here so far, and I’m looking forward to more!
What an adventure! My experience in Mexico so far has been vastly different to my expectations. At home we were warned to be extra careful with ourselves and our belongings. The media depicts Mexico as either pretty beaches full of tourists (Cancun, Tulum, Puerto Vallarta) or a country riddled with gangs, drugs, poverty and crime, but this is far from the truth.
Week 1: Mexico City
Coming in with an open mind, I was blown away by Mexico’s beauty. Flying over the farmland, mountains and desert it was instantly breath-taking. We landed in Mexico City and made our way to Santa Fe in an Uber. Santa Fe is a very safe neighbourhood, so it was wonderful being able to take in the views of the rest of the city and how life is done on the drive there. We quickly established that not everyone speaks English, and my Spanish skills were put to the test. Mexico City is absolutely incredible, from the crazy traffic, to the bustling street markets to the beautifully designed churches and castles, it’s definitely not a place to be missed. Xochimilco Trajineras was the absolute highlight of the week. Sitting on a brightly painted paint floating down a canal while listening to mariachi bands and sipping on wine with the girls was definitely the best way to spend our Saturday afternoon.
Week 2: Queretaro
Week 2 saw us pack up and head to Queretaro, about 5 hours from Mexico City. Adjusting to life on campus was eye opening. It felt like being 16 again, no guests, boys, or alcohol allowed in your room, and a person like an RA could come in to check on us at any time. As I adjusted to campus life, I found myself enjoying the classes and also the close proximity to everything. So different to home, you really could stay on campus for a whole week without needing to leave, the gym is fantastic, there are several food options and even the cutest little bicycles to get around on! Queretaro is a beautiful city to explore, with wide roads, beautiful sunsets and lovely people.
I’ve learnt that there is so much more to the world than what we see in the media. While I know we are being sheltered to some extent and only shown the best of what Mexico has to offer, I haven’t for a second felt unsafe. Mexico is a stunning country and I can’t wait to keep exploring. One of the best things about this trip is the people too, couldn’t have asked for a better bunch to explore with!