James McIntosh – Some random thoughts after a month in Mexico

Honestly, this blog is not going to have a lot of structure. It is more of a collection of thoughts I have had from the last month travelling around Mexico.

I did not spend a lot of time researching Mexico or Tecnologico de Monterrey before arriving in the country as part of the PMSLA program. My views on the country, like many others, had been shaped by media reports and TV shows like Narcos: Mexico. These last four weeks have completely changed that view. I have discovered a country that is extremely rich in culture and history, and a university that is truly leading the way in regards to technology and education.

To be honest, I do believe that we have been in a bit of bubble while in Mexico. The university is completely gated and the local students, while extremely nice, probably don’t give you an accurate representation of the situation most Mexican people face. Luckily we have also had a chance to explore each of the four cities on our own in order to get a more authentic view of the country.

Exploring Teotihuacan

Regarding the program, Tec de Monterrey does really well organising the daily activities, whether that be lectures, dance classes, or visiting local businesses. The program has really focused on the practicality and real life application of the theories we have learnt in class in a way that a normal university course would not be able too. I have also found the lecturers at the university to be really supportive with international students that are coming from universities with different styles of teaching and learning.

Overall, I cannot think of a better way to see and experience Mexico than as a part of the iWinter Global Business program at Tec de Monterrey and with the support of the PMSLA. I have seen four different cities and been able to take part in activities that you would not have access to if you were organising this trip on your own.

James McIntosh 

Shisla: The most valuable experience

Today was our last day at Tec de Monterrey.

Four weeks, four cities, 27 students, 5 lecturers. I have to say, I will miss all of it.

It was a great opportunity that I am so thankful to have participated in. In just such a short time, I have changed and learned so much. Of course, I can write paragraphs about the people you meet, experiences you have, the relationships you form and that you will treasure forever. But anyone that has travelled can also write about that.

What I want to write about is the experience of studying in a country with a completely different culture. This is an experience that will help you grow, open your mindset, develop your critical thinking and open so many more doors up in your career.

Before I came to Mexico, most of what I expected included sombreros, Coronas and cactuses. I mean, I was right, there is definitely an abundance in all of that here. But there is so much more to it.

Bonding after a visit to Freixenet in Queretaro.

I learned more in classes and company visits than i would have ever learned just travelling or through research at home. The way classes are carried out, the content, the relationship with the professor- it is all so different, and so reflective of the culture. I feel like this sort of experience is so valuable in today’s world. Globalisation has really brought us all together and it is so important to understand how other cultures think in professional environments.

Especially with the ever increasing relationship between New Zealand and Latin American countries, it is amazing that students have an opportunity to get such valuable first-hand experience. Being here has also made me even more thankful for the support provided by the New Zealand government for students to have such opportunities. It is truly through such experiences that us, young kiwis, are able to continue the development of the great work done by the past generations.

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!