Why Study in Mexico?
Has International Education Week caused you to seriously consider studying abroad? Here’s a quiz to help you narrow down where in the world to study:
What country produces $1 million per minute, $1.6 billion each day, and over $580 billion a year in two-way trade that supports six million jobs in the United States? The answer may surprise you: Mexico, our third-largest trade partner.
Here’s another question: which world language has the second-largest number of native speakers in the world, if the top spot belongs to Chinese?
According to some measures, the answer is Spanish, slightly ahead of English. In the United States alone, there are at least 37 million Spanish speakers, and the Association of Spanish Language Academies predicts the United States will be the second-largest Spanish-speaking country by 2050, after — you guessed it! — Mexico. And the largest percentage of those Spanish speakers will have their roots in Mexico.
So why not learn Spanish in Mexico? According to the Open Doors Report, published in partnership by the Institute of International Education and the State Department, over 4,400 U.S. students studied there in academic year 2013-14. It is close to home; flights are short; and costs are lower than elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere and Europe. And, programs such as the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program and Fulbright Program are available from the U.S. and Mexican governments, making Mexico an overseas study destination that provides access for all.
Mexico and the United States are inextricably linked by geography, history, and shared communities. As we work together to make North America the most dynamic economic region in the world, it only makes sense to develop future leaders who can speak each other’s language and work together in classrooms and laboratories. American students who speak Spanish and understand Mexican culture, society, and business will have an advantage in finding great jobs in the region and at home.
Mexico is well known to Americans for its diverse and delicious cuisine; palm-lined beaches; archaeological ruins and designated world heritage sites; and vibrant music, art, dance, and cultural attractions. But did you know that Mexico also has top-quality universities offering the full variety of arts and sciences curricula, in safe, attractive cities like Puebla, Querétaro, Guanajuato, Mexico City, and many others?
Headlines from both sides of the border often focus on security issues, raising the question of student safety in Mexico. It is important to remember that the security situation varies greatly across Mexico, and the State Department Travel Warning provides important and comprehensive information so students can make well-informed decisions about their travel during their stay. Year after year, Mexico continues to be the top overseas destination for U.S. travelers and arguably the country hosts the largest U.S. community living abroad. We are pleased to see a recent 19 percent increase in the number of U.S. students taking advantage of the educational opportunities in Mexico and hope to see more students apply.
At the same time several U.S. universities are seizing this moment to increase their engagement with Mexico. Over 75 new partnerships have been signed between universities on both sides of the border. The Universities of Oklahoma and New Mexico have hired representatives in Mexico, and they join the Universities of Arizona, California, Southern California, Notre Dame, and the State Universities of New York, California, and Colorado and Texas A&M in having permanent staff and/or facilities in Mexico. Arkansas State University even has plans to open its new campus in Querétaro State in 2016.
Presidents Obama and Peña Nieto have launched major initiatives to promote two-way educational exchanges. As President Obama said during his visit to Mexico in 2013, “When we study together, we learn together, we work together, and we prosper together.” The huge, strong, dynamic, and growing U.S.-Mexico economic relationship, fine universities, and tourist attractions make Mexico an ideal overseas study destination that offers a true overseas study experience, very close to home.
About the Author: Rebecca Thompson serves as the Education and Cultural Affairs Officer at U.S. Embassy Mexico City.
For More Information:
- Check out the State Department’s new Study Abroad website.
- Follow the conversation about International Education Week online using #IEW2015and #StudyAbroad.
- Read about other exchange opportunities on the Mexican Agency for International Developmentand State Department Exchange Programs
- Learn more about the United States’ 100,000 Strong in the Americasand Mexico’s Proyecta 100,000
- Visit the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairsand the Mexican Agency for International Development and for more on U.S.-Mexico exchange opportunities.
- Find additional educational opportunities through the Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration (CONAHEC), Asociación Nacional de Universidades e Instituciones de Educación Superior (ANUIES), Asociación Mexicana para la Educación Internacional (AMPEI), and the Fulbright-Garcia Robles Commission (COMEXUS).