Rebecca: The End’s Not Near, It’s Here

After an incredible month in Mexico our time is coming to an end. Just this morning we gave our final presentations, were awarded with certificates and started to say adios to some of the team.

We have experienced so much in so little time – the hustle and bustle of Mexico City, campus life in Queretaro, hiking monoliths in Bernal, carnivals in Leon, the bright streets of Guanajuato and modern industrialisation in Monterrey. This has undoubtedly been an unforgettable experience from start to finish.

Carnival in Leon
Monolith hike in Bernal
Exploring Guanajuato

Our last week in Monterrey has included two great company visits – one to Bimbo and one to Neoris.

Bimbo is the largest bakery in the world and we had the chance to go behind the scenes and take a factory tour – seeing all their incredible automation and rows upon rows of chocolate biscuits being prepared was a great sight!

Neoris is a digital consultancy firm working with some of the biggest multinationals in the world to help improve their processes. We had a seminar learning about the up and coming tech sector in Mexico and the importance of R&D to sustain a competitive edge.

Beyond that, we also had time at the ‘innovaction’ labs on campus where we were able to see the university’s AI, 3D printing, blockchain and VR technology that is available for all students to use!

Tec de Mont’s blockchain systems

This week’s academics have put focus on understanding the realities of establishing a business in Mexico and the part emerging markets like Mexico can play in creating a better world. Our professor Anil has been incredible to us all throughout the course and I’m so thankful for the time and effort he has put into this program and this group. He takes a hands-on approach to learning, strives to make the classes interactive and involving, and is all too welcoming with any questions we have, no matter how big or small. I will be returning not only with a greater understanding of culture and business in Mexico but also with a revived passion for learning and growth.

A huge thank you again to 360 International and the PMSLA for making this possible. Until next time,

Rebecca

Exploring beautiful Mexico

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!

Shanaya

Rebecca: The Heart of Mexico!

Built on top of an ancient lake bed, Mexico City has centuries of history beneath and among it. With precisely four days before our studies started, we set to work on getting to know the heart of Mexico!

Our first look was in the downtown Zocalo district which plays host to numerous historical sites including the magnificent Catedral Metropolitana, the ruins of Templo Mayor and the Palacio des Bellas Artes. Despite being surrounded by so many incredible sights, one of my highlights was when we discovered a clowder of cats in the government house, complete with their own cat-shaped houses and beds! Now that’s a good way to run a country!

Catedral Metropolitana
The National Palace (government house)
Palacio des Bellas Artes
Cute cats!!!
The streets of Mexico City
Cute cat houses!!!

We spent sunset up the Mirador Torre which is the CDMX equivalent of the SkyTower. With amazing 360 degree views, it really sunk in just how vast and expansive this city was. Even at 10pm on a Wednesday night, the streets were packed with people shopping, eating and dancing – it didn’t take long before we decided to join them.

Views from the Mirador Torre

Our studies started in Santa Fe where we were put up in the Novotel Hotel (!!!) which was only a two-minute ride away from the Tec de Mont campus. With plenty of classrooms, conference halls and even a NFL field, there was plenty to explore on campus alone. Our lecture content for the week was focused on globalisation and the part Mexico has played, is playing and can potentially play in it. They were all very interactive and gave us a chance to really discuss our own ideas and form our own opinions.

Technologico de Monterrey Santa Fe Campus

In between classes, we had a company visit to PepsiCo and a conference with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, both of which were full of knowledge of the cultural practices and the unique market position Mexico has from people with first-hand experience.

PepsiCo Headquarters CMDX
PepsiCo Conference

Having left New Zealand with only a (very, very) basic grasp of Spanish, the language barrier has not been as difficult as I expected. Most of this has come down to the helpfulness and loveliness of all the people we’ve come across who seemed pleased that we were making an effort and tried their best to translate for us. I feel it is so important to say that despite all the negative news, I have felt safe in Mexico. I know that we have been lucky enough to stay in wealthier areas but I still feel that the image that has been portrayed of Mexico as an unsafe travel environment is inaccurate – the helpfulness of all those I have encountered so far is a testament to that.

The Tec de Mont NZ Cohort

It’s been a great start to the trip and I’m so looking forward to seeing what the rest of it has to offer! Thank you so much to 360 International and Education NZ for this incredible PMSLA experience!

Rebecca McCulloch

James: Sometimes when you can’t communicate, your only choice is to laugh

Before I arrived in Mexico, as part of the 2020 PMSLA Global Business trip to Tec de Monterrey, multiple people told me English was widely spoken in Mexican cities. I never questioned this. Yet within hours of landing in Mexico City, it became clear that I should have.

At one of our first dinners we ordered some tacos (because you know… its Mexico) and when those tacos arrived the waiter told us they were pollo (chicken) as we had ordered. There was absolutely no pollo in these tacos…just shrimp. Of course there was no way we could tell the waiter that this was not what we ordered given the extremely limited levels of Spanish possessed by the people at that table. So we just laughed and ate the tacos. The shrimp turned out to be delicious and we went back the next night and actually tried to order them.

A few days later, I was ordering something from a fast food place and the Spanish was going well. The waiter had seemed to know what I wanted, but then he said something that I did not understand. I didn’t know how to relay this to him. So we both just stood there for about 20 seconds, in absolute silence, before he eventually said “So…are you going to pay for this meal?” All of his colleagues burst into tears, and so did everyone I was having dinner with. The only thing I could do at that point was laugh at my own awkwardness.

These types of encounters should not discourage anyone from taking part in the PMSLA program. Struggling to communicate can take you out of your comfort zone, but that’s one of the reasons to go overseas on this type of trip. I have taken a lot from my first two weeks in Mexico, but above all I have learnt that Mexican people are incredibly nice, welcoming and willing to help people work through this language barrier. For anyone that has chance experience another culture as part of the PMSLA program, I could not recommend it more.

James McIntosh