Studying in Monterrey, Mexico – “The city of the mountains”

When the 2nd year of university started, I started thinking: “Where do I want to go to in one year?” There was one thing for sure: If they offer me the opportunity to go abroad, I will definitely not stay home! Started thinking and looking through possible destinations, I knew that I wanted to experience a complete culture, Europe was not far enough for me. Since I already have been on Asset | Accounting & Finance’s study tour to Singapore and Malaysia, and besides that traveled through some other places in Asia, I decided to go for the other side of the world: North- & South-America. After some time, I finally found the place where I wanted to spend one semester of my student life: Monterrey, Mexico – “The city of the mountains”.


Monterrey, located in North-East Mexico, is a city where you can clearly see the American influence. Above the highways you can find billboards and for an American fastfood-restaurant you don’t have to go far from home. Next to the American influence, Monterrey has beautiful nature spots and the whole city is surrounded by beautiful mountains, of which some even go through the clouds. It is therefore that Monterrey is also called “The city of the mountains”.

In Monterrey live around 1.1 million people. The size of the city is almost 900 km2, which is 10 times the size of Tilburg. For the Northern part of Mexico, Monterrey is the most important economical center. There are some business areas where a lot of global companies are located, for example all the Big4 companies have offices here.

The Mexican people are really open. When you are taking an Uber through the city, almost all the time the driver will start a conversation with you about where you are from and what you think of Monterrey so far. The same happens when you meet one of university’s staff members and get in a conversation with them. As I said, Mexican people are really open to foreign students and they really want to know how they think about them and their city.

Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey

As you can see, the name of my university is a long Spanish name. In English it is called: “Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education”. I actually never heard anyone using this name. When you just say the word “Tec”, everybody knows where you are talking about. Tec is a modern and private university with almost 90.000 students. The academic level at Tec is, as far as I can see, lower than the academic level in The Netherlands. The way of teaching here feels like going back to high school. Classes are held in a small classroom with a maximum of 30 people, and in most of the courses they take note of absences. You can only afford a limited number of absences. This sounds really strict, but on the other hand, most of the teachers are not that strict to international students. If you tell them before you will not be in class because of for example a travel, they will just allow you to stay out of class and won’t register your absence.

ISE & Integrate Monterrey

In Monterrey there are two big associations to help international students. One is called ISE, International Student Embassy, and the other one is Integrate Monterrey. The names will sound like these are formal and official institutions, but this is absolutely not true. These associations are Mexican (and some longer staying international) students, who want to help and party with all the international students, coming to Monterrey. Each week they ask you to join them at the best parties in the city and next to that they organize activities and really cool travels to the most beautiful places of Monterrey, a lot of fun and drink guaranteed. These 2 associations help you making the best of your semester abroad and they are the communication factor between all international students.

”Before my arriving I was a bit nervous and curious about how life would be here, but I don’t regret a single second of my time here in Monterrey.”

My experience

A lot of people from The Netherlands ask me what I think of Mexico and if I like it here. Until now I have always answered that Mexico is amazing. I love the people, I love the culture, I love the food, I love everything here. Before my arriving I was a bit nervous and curious about how life would be here, but I don’t regret a single second of my time here in Monterrey. At the moment of writing this message from abroad, I am here for exactly 3 months and have exactly 2 more months to go before I have to leave back to The Netherlands. Yes, you read it right, I said “have to leave”. This shows how much I love my time here.

For everyone who is in doubt of staying one semester in another country, I can only say what every student who has been on exchange says: “Just do it!” You will have the best semester of your life!