The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Home > Education > Study Abroad - From WASEDA to the world -


Study Abroad - From WASEDA to the world -

From WASEDA to Mexico

Ms. Maria Zenigame
3rd year student at the School of International Liberal Studies

When I was in America on an exchange as a high school student I was fascinated with the character and cheerfulness of Mexicans, so I decided before entering university that "I will definitely go to Mexico!" And I achieved my desire when I was able to attend Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education as an exchange student. Over there, I met people that were so kind you would think they were bordering on being intrusive.

Many of the lessons in Mexico are practical, a style where you remember things yourself while tackling tasks. It may be the disposition of Mexican students, but our progress was closely checked by being given quizzes about our homework and topics every class, so it was harder than when I am in Japan. Because it is a school which also has lessons in English there were many English-speaking students and I could spend a whole day speaking nothing but English. But on the downside of this I had to consciously speak Spanish. In that, I centered my studies on, of course Spanish, and Mexican history, culture and marketing.

Outside of class I took up dance and learnt hip-hop, salsa and tango five times a week. I took part in two end of term performances, and through dance I was able to make many wonderful Mexican friends with one of them becoming my roommate for five months.

Many students at the university came from wealthy families, and they would have an iphone or Blackberry in one hand and a laptop computer. Even so, this was Mexico. When you step out of the university campus you notice people on the surrounding streets begging. In Mexico, where there is almost no middle-class, I could clearly see the gap in society, even when going about my normal daily activities.

Through this exchange I got to know more about Mexico but, by living in a foreign country, I was also able to look at Japan from a different perspective. In my case, I wanted to know more about Mexico and Latin America, but by having many opportunities to meet other Asian students, I also gained an interest in Japanese relations and history with Asian countries. The aims of overseas exchanges differ from person to person, but no matter what country or what university you go to, you will meet many people of different nationalities so you will be able to take a good look at yourself, and your own country. If you have even the slightest interest in an overseas exchange, I definitely think it is something you should try during your time at university.

Street stalls in Mexico City

The Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education building

Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman in Oaxaca

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)