Taijza Bailey, CALS Peer Advisor
There are a number of CALS study abroad programs located Mexico. These programs range from semester-long exchanges to 2-week field study programs. All of these programs focus on different academic interests such as dairy science, wildlife ecology, nutrition and more. Apart from the academics, there are more reasons why you might want to study abroad in Mexico.
Mexico is located right in our backyard, which makes it a very economical travel destination. The cost of airplane tickets are cheaper than most for traveling abroad to another country, and cost of living is lower than in the U.S. or Europe. The most expensive part of field study programs are often these two costs – airfare and living expenses such as meals, which is why the field studies in Mexico are among some of the least expensive CALS field study programs.
Another reason to study abroad in Mexico is the opportunity to experience the unique culture that Mexico has to offer. Professor Michael Wattiaux, who is the program leader for the UW Sustainable Development, Food Systems and Animal Agriculture, said, “Mexico has a Latin American culture that has cultural and historical roots that we don’t have and we should learn from them about issues related to living in its multicultural societies”. Mexico does not have a homogeneous culture; instead, it has multiple cultures such as indigenous populations, Afro-Mexican cultures and more. Another part of Mexican culture is the history that comes with it. Many students will be able to explore the history of Mexico by simply traveling around a city and community.
One of the last reasons why you should study abroad on a program in Mexico is the community of students, professors and locals you meet. For example, Professor James Berkelman, who is the program leader for UW Wildlife Ecology in Mexico program, discusses their community. “We’re joined by a whole group of Mexican professors, students, and researchers who help out with our course and share their expertise.” Having that many people as part of the program “allows us to do far more with our course than if it were just a single UW-Madison professor leading the course and cultural exchange; and camaraderie between our students and our Mexican collaborators is one of the most positive aspects of our course.”
Overall, Mexico offers a lot to students who are willing to study abroad. Not only is it academically beneficial but also economically and culturally as well. Traveling there, you will meet many people who will help you in your endeavors and help you understand the country. If you are considering studying abroad and are not sure where to go, try Mexico!