[The culture, gastronomy, language and new experiences are what Hye Min takes from our country.]
Hye Min studies international trade in Dankook University in South Korea, she arrived to Mexico for her exchange program, and today she tells us how it has been so far.
Why did you decide to come to Mexico?
My undergraduate program requires for me to get to know about different cultures in a professional level. I am also interested in working in Latin America and Mexico is pretty well situated, geographically and economically. Therefore, Mexico was my choice because I also had another options like Spain or Peru.
Besides, I was able to choose to stay between Baja California, Guanajuato and Puebla; but after the pictures I saw, and heard that Baja California and Guanajuato might be a little bit insecure, Puebla was the best option. Although the city is small, it is also very pretty.
Another very important thing that made me come to Puebla was the international office, they were always in contact with me and their answers were pretty fast. I liked that a lot.
How did you feel your arrival in Mexico?
When I came here in January, my Spanish was pretty basic, so I had to say everything in English. This did not help me because I was not able to make as many friends as I thought. However, I just needed some time to get better. Nowadays, I speak Spanish easier.
What was your first impression?
My first impression about Mexico was of a safer, cleaner and prettier country than I thought. I had the fear to arrive to a place that was not what I expected. I believe that downtown or Zócalo and the Cathedral are beautiful, everything is really colorful; unlike Korea where most of the buildings are white and gray.
What are your thoughts about the academic aspects in Mexico?
When it comes to the studies, I like that UPAEP is very clean and modern; I can ask the professors as many times as I need and the Professor can also ask for my opinion about some topics. In Korea, I have to wait until the end of the class to do it; although it gives more discipline. However, if in Korea you did not understand anything from the beginning, the rest of the explanation will probably be worthless; that is why I like the way that it is taught here.
Another thing is that in UPAEP we are pretty much motivated to work as a team, the course contents are a little bit different; in Korea there is a lot of math and here is a little bit more conceptual.
So far, what do you think about Mexican food?
The food is amazing, my first one were Arab tacos, but I really enjoy pozole because is a little similar to a dish in Korea. One of the things that I really like is how spicy Mexico eats since in Korea we also do it, probably even more than you. Mexican chillis, I do not how to explain it, but they are only spicy in your mouth while the Korean one, let’s say it lasts from your mouth and all the way to your stomach, so the chillis here do not bother me as much. Nevertheless, I do miss the spiciness in my country.
Tell us about an experience that you had while in Mexico.
One of the best ones was that one time I forgot my cell phone inside an Uber and I realized it once I arrived to my destiny. The driver quickly came back and gave it to me. I know most of the people is not like that, but it is always nice to still find an honest person, especially since this happened at the beginning of my exchange.
Is there something that you did not like?
There are two things. The first one is the lack of punctuality in Mexico and the other is cat calling. When it comes to the punctuality, for example, my working team tells me to come to a certain hour for doing homework and sometimes I have waited until an hour later for them to finally arrive. You get used to it and at the end, I also started to arrive late just to be “on time” with everybody else.
About cat calling, it tends to be annoying that sometimes guys are so intense. In Korea we also have it just like any other country in the world, but it is not as much since our culture is a little bit shyer and since Mexico is not, guys here take it as an advantage to yell something at you or get closer to an uncomfortable level.
Will you recommend UPAEP?
Definitely. I say to my friends to come because of its international office, the campus and everything else. When I came here, I was pretty nervous, but they were so warm, that it helped me to calm myself down. A lot of my friends do not want to come to Latin America because there are so many prejudices, but without a doubt I would recommend Mexico because I have the feeling that they really love their country, their flag and their traditions, and that is something that I love about their culture.
Click here to read the original text in Spanish.