Melissa Birling - Monterrey, Mexico (IBEX)
When I was asked to write a few words about my IBEX experience in Monterrey, Mexico, I immediately began listing things in my mind to write about. Having been in Monterrey for four months and having seen and done so many wonderful things, which of these should I choose to share with my fellow Sternies? Maybe I should describe the beautiful Tec de Monterrey campus with its tropical fountains, peacocks, and uniquely designed buildings. No, perhaps I should talk about the enchanting city a of Monterrey where I participated in El Grito, watched a show with different regional dancers from all over Mexico, and enjoyed professional fireworks shot from about 10 feet away. No, I know; I’ll tell about the club scenes in Barrio Antiguo and San Pedro – how every night’s a great party and clubs have live bands that sing the latest Latin music. Or, maybe I could explain the enormous amount of extra-curricular activities the Tec offers: Martial Arts, Sports, Dance, Cultural Activities, Excursions, Trips, etc.
All of these things definitely made my study abroad experience in Mexico an adventure to remember. However I think I’ll write about that which I hold dearest about my IBEX experience: the people I met. I was so fortunate to meet and make friends with some of the nicest people from all over the world. I’ll tell you about my host family and their baby Lorenzo who was afraid of the life-sized Super Man doll they bought him. I’ll talk about my Mexican roommate and the nights we stayed up talking about our differences in politics and economics, then two seconds later were listening to the same music together . I’ll share my stories about the French guys I grew to adore: their obsession with Rugby; how Cyrille and I usually had to say things to each other about 6 times because we never understood what the other was saying; how generally they kiss you on the cheek 2 times to greet you, although if you’re from Northern France 3 times is acceptable. I’ll talk about Ana who took me shopping all over to find the perfect gifts and then when she showed me her house insisted I take her regional caramel syrup for my family. I’ll remember my research professor who shook everyone’s hand and kissed the girls on the cheek to say goodbye the last day of classes. I’ll tell you how I had to go all the way to Mexico to make some great friends from the Bronx and Queens.
Basically I’ll write that despite all the fun things I got to see and do in Mexico, it is the relationships I formed and the people I met that made my IBEX experience truly special. Every student should have the opportunity to form such friendships and experience life to the fullest like I did in Mexico. Every student should create life-long memories by participating in IBEX!