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Xalapa, Mexico

BCA offers study-abroad opportunities through Universidad Veracuzana in Xalapa, Mexico.

Cultural Adjustment

"I experienced culture shock for about the first two and a half months of my experience. I was miserable and hated Mexico for about two weeks, and then it went away. Just keep busy and meet people and you'll be fine. Coming back from Mexico was hard, especially because I had expected the world at home to freeze while I was gone, but when I got back, it had changed, and I had changed, and it was hard to adjust." (Katarina Eller '11)

"As a young girl I was always going to Girl Scout camps and field hockey camps, so being away from home and out of my comfort zone was not a big shock for me. Upon my arrival home from Mexico, I found myself confused, having a hard time speaking English, and noticing that all American food tastes a little bland! These reactions to returning home are all to be expected and always normal; if it seems like you're having a hard time, try to find other students who have also studied abroad to see how they are coping!" (Allyson Wells '12)

Money

The vast majority of Elizabethtown students studying abroad in Mexico choose to use their American bank accounts in Mexico and not open a separate Mexican account. Automatic telling machines (ATM) are widely available throughout the country, but it is important to remember when withdrawing cash from ATMs that there will be transaction fees of varying amounts depending on the bank. Most students recommend taking out large sums of cash infrequently to avoid paying these potentially large fees. It is also important to keep currency conversion in mind as you travel to Mexico.

The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican peso, which can widely fluctuate with the American dollar. Most Elizabethtown students spent between $2,000 and $4,000 on personal travel and other expenses. Traveler's checks are accepted in Mexico; however, some students have indicated that they are not widely used and are not cost-effective since they charge commission fees.

"Just be careful getting money out of the ATM; bring a friend with you to watch your back, especially in a new place and big city." (Katarina Eller '11)

"Right when we landed at the Mexico City airport, we all exchanged a bit of money just to have with us for the first couple days; however, afterward, I used my debit card and ATMs within Xalapa and all of Mexico to extract pesos from my bank account at home—this way, the ATM will do the exchange for you and you don't have to find an exchange booth. It's a great option, especially since you don't have to worry about carrying large sums of money through the airport, but every time you withdraw money, there will be about a $2 fee. Many people take out a large chunk to avoid that fee every time, whereas others don't want to carry a big stack of bills around and pay the fee on a regular basis. There are always ATMs around Xalapa and almost all populated cities of Mexico, but they are harder to find in the smaller towns and villages. There are also many exchange places around Xalapa and Mexico." (Allyson Wells '12).

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