Reuben McGeever

I went to the Universidad Anáhuac Mayab, just outside of the city of Mérida in southern México. Enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts with my majors being Spanish and Peace and Conflict Studies, I found the experience as a whole absolutely irreplaceable for the level of Spanish that I now speak.

It is true that if you go for exchange at this University, no matter the campus, you will need a passable level of Spanish. But if your speaking, writing or reading skills aren't perfect, don't let it discourage you! I found the staff and students at the University were often more than ready to help me out, and although many spoke English, I was encouraged to immerse myself in the language.

Another important note about this particular campus, though not for the other linked campuses in the Anáhuac network, is that it is specifically a Catholic institution. I, as a person who does not take part in any religious activity, thought it was a bit strange at first; but I found that my opinions were well respected in all ways. There was an extremely welcoming environment in which to study, probably also owing to the smaller size of the campus.

And though Mérida is probably one of the safest, and most tranquil, cities in México, it is far from boring. Whatever your tastes, you can find interesting things to do there, from music festivals and photography workshops, to independent cinema and, of course, antros. I met a bunch of friendly and interesting people, both from México and abroad, some of whom I've travelled with, and many of whom I'm still in touch with. Many people come to the city to do a student exchange, and I lived with two Argentinians who were doing the same. Both guys are good friends now, and we've made a pact to visit each others' countries. Along with a bunch of other people, and the fun and often ridiculous things we've done together, I'll never forget these two.

So if you're thinking of studying in a Spanish speaking country to improve your language skills, I can't help myself from expressing how great México and its people are: and that the Universidad Anáhuac is a fantastic place to spend the experience.

Reuben McGeever: University of Queensland  Otoño 2011