Before traveling, I rarely imagined what it would be like to go to a university in another country. I admit it- I was in a bubble. After spending so much time collaborating with universities in México, I marveled at the differences in higher education between Mexican and USA institutions. Check out my tour of UAQ, a university located in the region of Querétaro:
One central disparity between our systems of higher education is the relationship between students and teachers. In the United States (at least at my university), the student-professor relationship is very professional. For example, if I were to email one of my professors, I would send a formal email and address them with their full title (like Dr. So-and-So). To meet with a professor, I schedule a meeting or go to office hours. If we met in their office, it is standard for professors to leave the door open.
In México, a teacher who treated students so professionally (and distantly) would be considered a bad professor. Students generally address professors here by their first name and great them with a kiss on the cheek. Professors must interview each student to ask if he or she is having any problems with health, transportation, family, or financials. Then that professor records the information in the university database. That way, the professor can intervene with scholarships or financial aid to help their students stay in school. Simply put, the student-professor relationship here is very focused on mentoring.
When you go to class in México, expect small class sizes. At many universities in the United States, it is standard for lecture halls to be filled with more than 100 students at times. Personally, I have even been in classes where the professor must use a microphone so all of the students can hear the lecture. When I told the Mexican students about this, they were aghast. At the higher education level in México, class sizes are typically 20 to 30 students. The Mexican students I met expressed that they would protest if their class sizes were as large as those in the United States.
I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to learn more about Mexican education this week. My overall impression is that the professors here truly care about their students. I hope this reminds my readers to enjoy cultural differences between education. This is only a summary of variances that I found interesting- but there are many more aspects of higher education between both countries.
I hope you enjoy the video blog- I was lucky to meet a local student here, Jorge, who showed me around his university, UAQ. A huge thank you to Jorge for teaching me all about life as a student in México 🙂
Did I miss anything about going to college in México? Make sure to leave a reply to let me know.
Until next time- Saludos!