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waltw

Oct 8, 2009, 3:32 PM

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Going to a Mexican University?

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Hello,

My teen-age daughter, who's fallen for Mexico, and who's graduating from highschool next year, has told me she "has" go to Mexcio for her university degree.
She holds dual citizenship, is fluent in Spanish, and has lived for extended periods of time in Mexico.

I have a myriad of questions, pretty technical in nature, but I'm not going to ask them here. I feel like I can get those answered by the specific universities she's interested in. However, I'd like to get some opinions, in general terms, about:

U.S. vs. Mexican college experience? Pros/Cons?



Specific information/experiences regarding the University of Guanajuato



Has anyone else on this forum with kids who grew up primarily in the US done this?



Thanks,



mazbook1


Oct 8, 2009, 4:39 PM

Post #2 of 42 (9124 views)

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Re: [waltw] Going to a Mexican University?

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My quick answer would be that the two experiences are so completely different that it would be nearly impossible to compare them on a "pro vs. con" basis. Any comparison would have to be in much greater depth than that.


TlxcalaClaudia

Oct 8, 2009, 6:35 PM

Post #3 of 42 (9096 views)

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Re: [waltw] Going to a Mexican University?

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It is a valid question for those of us who are part of two countries. My kids speak both English and Spanish, studied in both countries (Mine are still in elem. school) and have family in both countries. I am fully prepared to one day hear that one wants to study in Mom' country and the other in Dad's.

Pros: Cost is cheaper for MOST universities in Mexico if you have income in US dollars.
Mexican Universities are recognized in USA though you do have to have a transcript translated and equated with credits in USA. I forget the name of that process. If a class can't be matched up, you lose those credits (in the eyes of the USA school) and might have to take that class in USA. It happens to anyone transferring from a two year college in USA to a 4 yr college in USA too though. This certainly would not deter me from letting my kids attend college in Mexico. I see how it can be completed painlessly. Just take the class in USA to make up the deficiency (I am assuming your kids won't need the TOEFL exams).

Cons: Funding might be low. Depending on the school...but many college educated Mexicans I spoke with and who attended middle rate colleges never handled a beaker or even had real lab hours in chemistry. For med school they did, but not in undergrad classes. You must do your research carefully to be sure these essentials are included at the undergrad level.

Cons: Corruption happens in the classroom too. So the playing field isn't always fair. I have been offered grade bribe money while teaching at a university in Mexico. Though I was disgusted by the offer...I wondered just how many instructors weren't and affected the grading scale of the rest of the class?

Those are the only ones I have come up with so far. I too want to know more and am investigating. What I have learned so far is that it will be easier for my kids to get into a Mexican university if they have SEP credentials. My sis-in-law warns that my girls won't be considered for a UNAM school without SEP credentials. There is a way to get it if your kids didn't attend all school years in Mexico by taking tests...but I do not have those details...and I hear UNAM passes over those students for any scholarships.
I still don't know all about UNAM...but this is the college system many bragged about.


roni_smith


Oct 8, 2009, 7:00 PM

Post #4 of 42 (9083 views)

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Re: [waltw] Going to a Mexican University?

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http://info.pue.udlap.mx/InternationalStudents/

It is in Puebla
------
Planning for Mexico Move Blog



waltw

Oct 8, 2009, 10:40 PM

Post #5 of 42 (9049 views)

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Re: [roni_smith] Going to a Mexican University?

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Thank you for your replies so far.

Ron, UDLAP is one we'll being looking at, thanks.
I'm curious about the SEP exam too. Does anyone have additional information regarding this?

Listed below is a link ranking Universities in Mexico that El Universal publishes each year.
UNAM is always at the top. UDLAP is on there as well.

http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/graficos/universidades09/home.htm

A pro/con list is probably not the right way to phrase it. Better stated, what are some considerations a parent should have regarding sending their child to a Mexican University?

One consideration: you can't use a 529 plan at many Mexican universities.


Manuel Dexterity

Oct 9, 2009, 5:56 AM

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Re: [waltw] Going to a Mexican University?

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I'm very skeptical of a list that ranks the U de Guadalajara so high and doesn't list at least one campus of the Tec de Monterrey.


waltw

Oct 9, 2009, 6:25 AM

Post #7 of 42 (9009 views)

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Re: [Manuel Dexterity] Going to a Mexican University?

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A lot of universities did not participate in the study done by El Universal.
It's an imperfect list. I've seen other lists that put Tec de Monterrey in second place behind UNAM. All these lists are subjective, but looking at a sampling of several, you see a number of the same universities crop up over and over again, across the board.


Zorba

Oct 9, 2009, 9:02 AM

Post #8 of 42 (8972 views)

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Re: [waltw] Going to a Mexican University?

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I did my masters degree at the Udla. I had a great time. The location is stunning and Cholula/Puebla are full of culture and safe to live in. I felt part of the university community and made some lifelong friends. All my proffs were from the US, UK and Canada. The degree is internationally recognized, but as a private school it's not cheap. It used to be the number one uni in Mexico but has gone through some turmoil recently with the administration so you should look into that. Most Mexicans think the Tech de Monterrey is best now.

Although the degree is internationally recognized, you still have to deal with peoples negative ideas about a degree from Mexico. Nevertheless, all my employers outside of Mexico have recognized it no questions asked. The other thing you might want to consider is the party scene. Of course all college kids party, but there is inevitably less emphasis on study and more on social life. If your daughter is blond and blue eyed you have a whole other set of problems to deal with.

Personally I would try to convince my kid to study in the US and do a year of exchange credit in Mexico. Especially if I had a daughter.


(This post was edited by Zorba on Oct 9, 2009, 9:05 AM)


jerezano

Oct 9, 2009, 9:47 AM

Post #9 of 42 (8954 views)

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Re: [waltw] Going to a Mexican University?

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Hello,

In the year 2000? I entered the Autonomous University of Zacatecas for one year as a freshman in Letters just to see if my Spanish language fluency was sufficient; it was.

I am a graduate (1952) of the University of Oregon in Corvallis, Oregon in Engineering. The University here accepted a non notarized and non translated card from my registrar as to my graduation. This will probably vary from university to university. I had to prove residence, provide my Passport, my FM3, a birth certificate, proof of graduation from a high school (in my case the Oregon University card was accepted) and a CURP number--that useless number which all students MUST have. Like all universities the paper work seemed to be endless.

First of all most universities here in Mexico are a 5 year course instead of 4 years as in the United States.
Second: Out of state tuition fees are charged foreigners. and out-of-staters. You do say that your daughter has dual nationality, so she might consider enrolling in a university in the state where she will be resident.
Third: Tuition fees, even if out of state are really low. But in comparison the out-of-state fee is HIGH.
Fourth: Students also must enroll in the Mexican Health Plan system. This will be automatic on registering but is a small additional fee. Students also get special fares on public transportation.
Fifth: Not all universities are accredited. Be sure and check that. In fact this morning's (Oct 9, 2009) paper reported some 1850 universities and high schools which are to be fined or closed because of fraudulent claims for accreditation or for not up-to-snuff courses. Of these 600 universities are to be fined and 300 will be removed from the accredited list. The states with the most problems Veracruz, Puebla, Chiapas, and the District Federal.
Sixth: As a Freshman your daughter will find that the university entrants in general cannot think for themselves having been taught even through high school to accept everything they are told by their professors. And that some university professors are still in the role of teaching "this is what is true and anything contrary is false." Not too many professors remain in that role but unfortunately many forget that the main purpose of a university education is to create an individual who thinks and acts independently based on her own acquired knowledge. But in that freshman year she may find that any independent thinking will be a surprise to both her fellow students and her professors. Some of both will not welcome that.
Seventh: A bachelor's degree here in Mexico is obtained on graduation from High School. A diploma or certificate is given on graduation from university. A licenciado is given on completion of an additional year (6) of university and can usually be obtained in the same institution. A doctorado is obtained with additional one or various year's work. A thesis is usually required on graduation from the 5 year university course and without that thesis the diploma or certificado is withheld. On completion of that thesis no matter how long it takes the diploma will be delivered (maybe).
Eighth: If your daughter plans to continue with an advanced degree in the United States she must be careful to choose materiales (courses) which can be converted to credits in her preferred USA university. So she should check. However, one item of good news is that the Mexican federal government has a very active scholarship program for foreign studies.

I hope this will help you make your decision. By the way Monterrey Tech has perhaps the best reputation for technical degrees here in Mexico. It has branches in most major cities. It is private and expensive. In Mexico City itself I would not prefer UNAM the national university but would investigate the University de Mexico as well as some others for general studies. University of Guadalajara has a well recognized medical school with many English language students attending. UNAM's high rating is inflated by politics and by arcane investigations. There are two kinds of professors in all institutions, those who are investigadores and those who teach. Apparently the combination is rare. Administrators are an entirely different breed.

Hasta pronto. jerezano.


gpkgto

Oct 9, 2009, 10:17 AM

Post #10 of 42 (8943 views)

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Re: [waltw] Going to a Mexican University?

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Re: University of Guanajuato--a friend went to medical school there and is a successful anestheiologist. He rates the school highly. The UofG gets high ratings regularly in many of its programs, and Guanajuato is a great university and tourist town, so it will provide a wonderful cultural experience should your daughter go there. You probably already know that in Mexico most of the state universities are very good and very competitive since tuition for in-state students is very low. There are dozens of private universities and many of these accept virtually anyone who can pay.


TlxcalaClaudia

Oct 9, 2009, 11:47 AM

Post #11 of 42 (8922 views)

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Re: [waltw] Going to a Mexican University?

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I would pass up UDLAp. In 2007 they were completely disorganized and students were unhappy. Professors were leaving in the middle of terms (the school didn't pay many on time). That all might have been worked out...but They are still too expensive. There have been many changes in that university because someone else took it over recently.


esperanza

Oct 9, 2009, 12:41 PM

Post #12 of 42 (8895 views)

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Re: [TlxcalaClaudia] Going to a Mexican University?

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On Tuesday a friend visited us from Guanajuato, Guanajuato. She is privy to a great deal of knowledge about the university there, as she had a long-term relationship with one of the professors.

His take on that university in particular is that at the undergraduate level, students and professors have very low-level expectations of one another in the classroom. Professors are expected to make classes as easy as possible; students are generally required to do almost no work. Academic laziness is the norm on both sides. Grading is political and grades higher than those earned can and usually are bought.

New professors who actually expect their students to learn and who require course work are threatened with reprisals from students and other faculty alike.

Caveat: this is one professor's view of his own experience and may not apply to the university as a whole.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









gpkgto

Oct 9, 2009, 3:20 PM

Post #13 of 42 (8865 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Going to a Mexican University?

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Sounds typical--when I taught at Tec de Monterrey in Leon and in Irapuato, a professor's success (i.e. renewal of the teaching contract) depended inordinantly on the students' evaluations of that professor--absolutely ridiculous! The U of Guanajuato reference I had was from a medical school graduate, maybe that was different--maybe not. Maybe the poster's daughter should study north of the border.


Manuel Dexterity

Oct 9, 2009, 4:15 PM

Post #14 of 42 (8859 views)

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Re: [gpkisner] Going to a Mexican University?

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That didn't seem to be the case in Guadalajara. I sent 2 kids to Tec and I can't recall either having much input on evaluation of the professors.

My son had a math professor from an Eastern European country whose English was so heavily accented none of the students could understand him. There were many complaints but he remained teaching.


La Isla


Oct 9, 2009, 5:53 PM

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Re: [jerezano] Going to a Mexican University?

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Just one correction of the information Jerezano has included in his long and informative post. When Mexican students graduate from high school (actually prepa), the Bachillerato they receive is not the same as a Bachelor's degree in the U.S. It is the equivalent of a high school diploma.


Zorba

Oct 9, 2009, 6:00 PM

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Re: [La Isla] Going to a Mexican University?

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Also, Mexican nationals have to do some sort of social service job before they get their degree. They have to work a semester or two for free I believe. I cant remember the details correctly.



(This post was edited by Zorba on Oct 9, 2009, 6:01 PM)


mazbook1


Oct 9, 2009, 6:17 PM

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Re: [jerezano] Going to a Mexican University?

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waltw, please take jerezano's points 1 thru 8 with a grain of salt. He's taking what he knows about a specific university and making a generalization about all Mexican universities. Unfortunately, that doesn't work very well. Some of his generalizations are true but many are not, so you must do your own investigation.

His statement about "some 1850 universities and high schools which are to be fined or closed because of fraudulent claims for accreditation" is just wrong. It was 1850 colegios and high schools, and colegios are definitely NOT universities in México. Many aren't even preparatorias (high schools), as they only go thru secondaria (junior high school).

Now I will throw out my generalization, which could be as misleading as his, except I know it to be true in general throughout the Mexican higher education system:

In many, if not most, areas of study that could be called "career paths" (accountant, doctor, engineer, architect, computer science, psychologist, chemist, biologist, etc., etc.), Mexican universities have one major difference when compared with U.S. universities at the undergraduate level. U.S. universities force the student to get a general education, regardless of the major chosen. Courses such as a certain amount of literature, language, history, social science, math, economics or business are absolutely required in addition to the courses required for the major study and the minor study that the student is pursuing.

For students in Mexican universities, getting a degree in these sorts of career paths requires only that the student take classes in or related to that specific career path, nothing more. However, the student is given a totally full schedule of these classes, meaning that at graduation, be it a 4 or a 5 year course (and an extra year to get the "liceniada" degree is NOT required at many Mexican universities), that student is much, much more deeply grounded in that particular academic field than an equivalent student graduating from a U.S university would be in the same field.

The Mexican graduate is already a specialist but by U.S. standards is poorly educated. The U.S. graduate is much better educated, but not nearly as proficient in his chosen profession.

That's just one of the reasons that I said, in my earlier post, "Any comparison would have to be in much greater depth". It's a totally different cultural mindset about what an education really is. My personal belief is that the Mexican approach is more of a "trade school" approach than what I would call an education, but there is no doubt that it prepares graduates better to pursue their profession after graduation than a U.S. bachelors degree does. Anyone in the U.S. pursuing this type of career must go on to post-graduate studies and get a masters degree at the very least.

All of this is my generalization and opinion and certainly may not apply to any specific school in México.


chinagringo


Oct 9, 2009, 6:36 PM

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Re: [jerezano] Going to a Mexican University?

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Excuse me but University of Oregon in Corvallis? Either we have a confused Beaver or maybe a Duck that landed in the wrong pond?
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



Zorba

Oct 9, 2009, 6:39 PM

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Re: [mazbook1] Going to a Mexican University?

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Oh ya, and students in Mexico must do a thesis for their undergrad degree. I found, however, that most of them were able to just copy and paste hundreds of pages. The more pages it was the better. Cheap quantity over quality. Plagiarism abounds.


Manuel Dexterity

Oct 9, 2009, 7:32 PM

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Re: [Zorba] Going to a Mexican University?

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In Reply To
Oh ya, and students in Mexico must do a thesis for their undergrad degree. I found, however, that most of them were able to just copy and paste hundreds of pages. The more pages it was the better. Cheap quantity over quality. Plagiarism abounds.


Just like what others have been saying, not all schools and all degrees require this. At Tec de Monterrey my daughter was required to do a 9th semester in lieu of a thesis. She didn't mind but I had to pay the tuition.


jerezano

Oct 9, 2009, 7:37 PM

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Re: [mazbook1] Going to a Mexican University?

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Hello all,

Oooops! I thought I had made it clear that I was talking about my experiences with the Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas a public institution. I had no intention to generalize about all universities although my point about 5 years instead of 4 years to obtain the degree seems to be prevalent throughout Mexico.

I didn't make it clear evidently that the Bachilerato degree from High School is more or less equivalent to our High School Diplomas. So that objection is well taken. My point was that the Bachelor degree here in Mexico is not to be confused with our our Bachelor degree from universities in the United States. I think we now all understand that.

Mazbook said: >>>>His statement about "some 1850 universities and high schools which are to be fined or closed because of fraudulent claims for accreditation" is just wrong. It was 1850 colegios and high schools, and colegios are definitely NOT universities in México. Many aren't even preparatorias (high schools), as they only go thru secondaria (junior high school).<<<<<<<<<<<

Headline of 3 columns in the "Sol de Zacatecas " on page 1E of Viernes 9 de octubre de 2009 reads and this is an exact quote: "Castiga la SEP a 1,850 universidades y prepas [prepatorios-high schools] patito."

The article further states on page 6E: "...en los programas de universidades privadas 600 recibieron sanciones, a 300 se les retiró el Reconocimiento de Validez de Estudios (revoes) y a 600 más se les negó este registro." This totals 1500. I agree that this last statement seems a bit at odds with the total of 1850 given above and also opens the question: Do the programs of private universities also include "colegios" since some universities do indeed operate colegios . The term patito [small patio] (Backyard? is used here in Zacatecas to mean private instead of public funding. The term patito is sometimes applied to the private universities as well.

So if I am wrong it is because the reporter for the newspaper used obscure language. Perhaps Mazbook read a better written article. I apologize.

Now as to colegios themselves. Colegio is a term which here in Zacatecas is applied to PRIVATE schools ranging from primary through secondary through preparatory (high school). I'm not sure of the exact breakdown of levels but the total is 12 years. The statement that: >>>>Many [colegios]"aren't even preparatorias (high schools), as they only go thru secondaria (junior high school)<<< is a bit misleading as well since there are many colegios here in Mexico at the High School level. For example I am currently teaching English to two sisters [blood not religion] attending the Colegio Daniel Márquez here in Jerez, one of whom is in the 2nd level of preparatiorio (High School) and the other is yet in secondary. This Colegio is a religious institution with many of its teachers sisters of, I think, the Carmelite order.

Getting to the nut of my previous posting, I made it only to warn the potential student to be very careful in her choice of university. According to the article some PRIVATE universities do not meet the standards established for the public universities. Accordingly credits obtained from those universities may not be transferable to a US institution at a later date.

Hasta pronto, y discúlpame for any confusion I may have caused. jerezano.


TlxcalaClaudia

Oct 9, 2009, 9:18 PM

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waltw

Oct 9, 2009, 9:29 PM

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Re: [TlxcalaClaudia] Going to a Mexican University?

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Thanks to all for posting thus far! I hope this thread continues. I think it's a great discussion, not only for my situation, but other expats who might be considering their kids attending a University in Mexico, even as an Exchange student for a semester or a year.

My preference would be that my girl attend one of the fine unversities within a 15 mile radius of home. However, having raised her in both cultures, I can symphathize with her desire to live and study in Mexico.

The cons mentioned are by no means trivial. However, there is one point in favor that does keep ocurring to me. And that is, the formation of a young person that has the ability to seemlessly move between both cultures linguistically, socially, and culturally is pretty amazing. For her, four years in a Mexican University would do
it.


gpkgto

Oct 10, 2009, 7:10 AM

Post #24 of 42 (8708 views)

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Re: [waltw] Going to a Mexican University?

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A story in Reforma last Thursday about the Times of London survey of world universities listed UNAM (in Mexico City) at #190--down 40 spots from last year's position #150. It is the only latin american university that made the list at all. So UNAM is (according to the Times) one of the top 200 universities in the world. (In 2006, UNAM was #74 in this survey, so either it is slipping or the other world universities are improving.)


gpkgto

Oct 10, 2009, 7:13 AM

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Re: [Manuel Dexterity] Going to a Mexican University?

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Tec de Monterrey in Guadalajara is one of the best. I taught Tec professors English in Leon (just a TOEFL prep course--they had to pass the TOEFL every two years) and some had terrible pronunciation. Unfortuantely, they used the old TOEFL which really only covered listening, reading and grammar--not speaking.
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