Many of Latin America's best universities are located in Mexico. More than 50 Mexican institutions rank in Latin America's top 300 universities, with only Brazil having more.
How can you study a degree in Mexico?
Undergraduate degrees in Mexico follow a similar structure to most European universities, taking four years to complete and being divided into semesters. This makes it easier for international students to be accepted onto and adapt to courses in Mexico.
Universities in Mexico are normally split into two types – private and public institutions. These can then be further split into either professional development universities or scientific research universities, which will be dependent on the subject you choose to take.
Although most courses in Mexico are taught in Spanish, many are beginning to teach modules in English too to attract more international students. It’s also important to note that most Mexican institutions do not accept part-time enrolment and you will normally have to pass a language exam to gain entrance.
Tuition fees in Mexico are generally calculated on a semester by semester basis. However, different courses at different universities will charge different prices, so check with your chosen institution before applying. As a guide, expect to pay around US$1,200 per semester.
Immigration and visas
Students looking to study a degree in Mexico will need to apply for a student visa if their course lasts longer than six months. You will need to apply through the Mexican consulate or embassy in your home country. You will need to demonstrate the following:
- You have a confirmed place on a course at a recognised education institution
- You have sufficient funds in place to support yourself during your studies
You have paid all relevant visa fees
It’s important to note that a Mexican student visa does not give you permission to work during your time in Mexico. You will also need to register with the National Registry of Foreign Citizens within 30 days of arriving in Mexico.
Accommodation and living costs
International students coming to Mexico have three main options for housing:
- University provided accommodation
- Private accommodation
The vast majority of undergraduate students will choose to live in accommodation provided by the university, as this will allow them to settle into student life much more easily. University accommodation is also easier to arrange prior to your arrival in Mexico, taking some of the stress out of the move.
Private accommodation is perfect for those international students who are travelling with families, but is much harder to organise from outside of Mexico. A good compromise may be to try a homestay for a couple of months, where you will get to live with a Mexican family first. This will allow you to develop your language skills while also learning more about the Mexican way of life.
Living costs: Mexico is a relatively cheap place to live and study, compared to countries like the US and UK. Basic essentials such as bread, milk and vegetables are cheap, as are petrol prices if you’re driving.
- One bedroom apartment (city centre) – 3,500 MXN (USD$270)
- One bedroom apartment (outside city centre) – 3,000 MXN (USD$230)
- Three bedroom apartment (city centre) – 8,000 MXN (USD$620)
Three bedroom apartment (outside city centre) – 6,000 MXN (USD$470)
How safe is Mexico?
Mexico has a reputation for being unsafe, but this isn’t borne out by crime statistics. Indeed, Mexico City is four times safer than Washington DC when it comes to murder rates. Although there is sporadic violence along the US/Mexico border, most violence is gang-related and is unlikely to involve international students.
Students should always take care to protect their own personal safety in order to avoid becoming victims of crime. They can do this by:
- Avoiding carrying around large amounts of money
- Staying in groups, especially at night, and never walking alone
- Not making valuables obvious
- Always having a route home planned and never getting into unlicensed taxis
- Being wary of strangers
Being careful of traffic
Staying in touch
Staying in touch when your child is studying on the other side of the world might seem daunting – but there are ways you can talk regularly that don’t have to involve long distance phone calls and a nasty bill at the end of the month. Here are a few tips:
- Skype – the free video calling service can be downloaded within seconds, and will allow you to talk face to face anywhere you have an internet connection
- Blogging – maybe encourage your child to keep a blog of their adventures overseas, so that other families members (such as grandparents) can keep up to date
- Local sim cards – it is also a good idea for your child to buy a phone with a local pay as you go sim card when they arrive so that they can text and call home without running up a bill
What to do next
Thinking of learning in a foreign country but you’re not certain where? Then take a look at our useful country guide, or if you would like more information, fill out our Free Application Service and we'll be in touch with you promptly.