Preparing the Next Generation
of Global Leaders


Jump to...

Welcome to Mexico

The Mexico Destination Guide will provide a historical overview, scholarship information, health and safety tips, plus identity-specific resources to ensure students feel prepared with insight and resources for their global experience in Mexico. The information shared below is a bird’s eye’s view and meant to provide some country-specific context. We encourage students to conduct further research and chat with relevant points of contact including advisors, program leaders, international student services at the host campus, internship coordinators, or peers who have traveled to Mexico, to gain a greater understanding of their host country and/or city.


From the palm-fringed beaches to lush jungles, or from ancient Mayan ruins to bustling metropolitan cities and chili-spiced cuisine, Mexico boasts an incredibly diverse experience with a rich cultural soul to all of its visitors. Made famous by its ancient civilizations and mixture of modernity, Mexico has a flare that is uniquely its own. You can have a wide variety of experiences in Mexico, which is why more than 7,200 US students choose to study here each year. Plus, it's hard to pass up its world-renowned cuisine!

Mexico offers something for students of all majors. Students interested in arts or humanities have the opportunity to learn about Mexico’s contributions to art, history, and music. With one of the largest ancient civilizations in the world, Mexico is a perfect place to study history and anthropology. Home to the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world, Mexico is the perfect place to learn a new language while experiencing a variety of cultural activities.

While often in the shadow of its northern neighbor, Mexico has the eleventh largest economy in the world. It is perhaps a prime example of balancing pre-Hispanic civilization with modern-day culture. Mexico is also known for indigenous traditions and folk heroes such as Benito Juarez, Emiliano Zapata, Pancho Villa who fought for indigenous rights and independence from colonist occupation. Through transitions from colonization to independence, Mexico’s history has shaped the country today. The combination of modernized city centers and ancient mesoamerican architecture has helped position Mexico as a growing destination for tourists and international students.

There are countless activities and experiences for you to enjoy while participating in an international experience in Mexico. It can be helpful to make a list of activities, sites, and places you would like to visit while planning your time abroad. However, be sure to allow yourself the time and flexibility to stumble upon local and spontaneous excursions to make the most of your time in Mexico.

Additional Resources:

Britannica: Mexico

Lonely Planet Mexico

Visit Mexico

One World: Mexico

Cities & Education

Mexico is divided into 32 states and a capital city. Mexico City, the nation’s capital has about 8.5 million residents and is the most populous city in North America. Historical sites like Teotihuacán, Chichen Itza, Puebla, and the Zócalo are definitely worth a visit. Cholula is home to the world’s largest pyramid- Yes! Even larger than pyramids of Giza! If gastronomy is more your take, you can head to Oaxaca, which is famous for its cuisine. Outdoor and water activities are abundant in Mexico's coastal regions of Veracruz, Quintana Roo, and Baja California.

Mexico is home to some of the world’s most ancient civilizations: Mayans, the Aztecs, the Zapotecs, with many of the archaeological sites accessible to the public, it is idyllic to study history and anthropology. Aside from Mexico's ancient history, its current world political position provides ample opportunity to learn about a political system which, although similar in design to our own, plays out much differently in practice. Mexico is also home to renowned cultural figures such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

With over 2000 institutes of higher education, Mexico proves itself time and time again as a top study abroad locale for students with an interest in nearly any discipline, but especially those interested in economics; social sciences; ancient history; Spanish language and literature; and public administration and politics. Studying abroad in Mexico is a great way to learn about the rich culture and gain college credits.

Additional Resources:

Events & Tourism

Mexico has a little bit of everything to offer all of its visitors: ancient ruins, lush sceneries, sun-filled beaches, historical sites, museums, metropolitan cities, and renowned cuisine. Mexico is home to Pueblos Mágicos, which are idyllic Mexican towns. Most prominently known for its beach resorts, Mexico has much more to offer visitors with a historical interest. Cities, like Oaxaca, offer visitors a true taste of Mexico and have been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Museums such as Museo Nacional de Antropología (MNA) and MUAC, Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo can take you from Mesoamerica to the present all in day’s visit to Mexico City’s Chapultepec district. Whether you are interested in ancient civilization or a beach destination, there is plenty for you to see in Mexico.

Additional Resources:

14 Top-Rated Places to Visit in Mexico

Mexico Tourist Destinations

10 Best Museums in Mexico City

Mexico celebrates an assortment of public holidays each year. Some of these holidays are national, and some are regional. Since Mexico is a predominantly Catholic country, most of its holidays are religious, while others may be historical. Celebrations popular in the United States, like Cinco de Mayo, are only celebrated in Puebla, where the battle against the French took place. Mexico’s actual independence day is celebrated nationwide on September 16. The famous Dia de Los Muertos aligns with the Catholic holiday of All Saints Day or All Souls Day, where Mexican families honor lost loved ones. Check out the resources below to learn more about Mexican holidays that may line up with your visit.

Additional Resources:

Mexico Public Holidays

Mexico Holidays and Celebrations

Diversity & Inclusion Climate

Although Mexico is generally considered a welcoming country, depending on your identity, your experience may be affected by the status of Diversity & Inclusion in the country. The majority of the country is mestizo, but students of color may face slight discrimination. Apart from mestizos and Amerindians, there are not many other ethnic groups in Mexico. When it comes to US students, students of color often report that in Mexico they are often the only person of color and are sometimes met with curiosity.

Mexico tends to be a more socially conservative country, as the majority of the country is Roman Catholic. The country has made more progress to modernize by legalizing same-sex marriages in all 32 states in 2010. However, the Mexican society remains largely patriarchal with a machismo culture and street harassment (cat-calling) of women by men is not uncommon.

The Indigenous community is one of the largest ethnic minorities in the country. Due to the traditional customs, the Indigenous communities tend to be more accepting of LGBTQIA+ students, especially transgender students, as well as students of color. However, the racial disparities and colonial past of Mexico, have made Indigenous people struggle for equal rights. Today, Indigenous Mexicans face the most discrimination in the country.

Country Demographics (subheading)

Data acquired via the World Factbook

Population in Mexico

128.6 million (July 2020 est.)


Noun: Mexican(s)

Adjective: Mexican


Mestizo (Amerindian & Spanish) 62%,predominantly Amerindian 21%, Amerindian 7%, other 10%(mostly European) (2012 est.)

Note: Amerindian- American Indians


Spanish only 92.7%, Spanish and indigenous languages 5.7%,indigenous only 0.8%, unspecified 0.8%

Note: Indigenous languages include various Maya, Nahuatl, and other regional languages (2005)


Roman Catholic 82.7%, Pentecostal 1.6%, Jehovah's Witness, 1.4%, other Evangelical Churches 5%, other 1.9%, none 4.7%, unspecified 2.7% (2010 est.)

Staying Healthy & Safe In Mexico

You cannot always predict the hiccups that may occur during your time abroad, but taking the proper measures to ensure your health and safety in Mexico will help you be better prepared to deal with unplanned situations.


Health insurance is mandatory for all international students in Mexico. Students participating in a global program of any duration are required to have international health insurance, usually included in the program costs and provided by your academic institution or program provider. If you are traveling independently, research international options available to you within your current health care provider. You can also look into international health insurance companies that provide various plans and choose one that best suits the type and duration of your travels in Mexico. In the case of an emergency, be sure this information is easily accessible by storing your insurance card in a transportable and secure place, creating a copy of your health insurance card, or storing the information in your phone. It is also helpful to be aware of nearby hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies in case you are in need of these services or resources. Here are a few of the emergency numbers in Mexico to keep in mind:

911- Emergency Services

065- Ambulance

068- Fire

060- Police


No matter where you are in the world, whether it is your hometown or a new city, it is important to be alert and practice awareness of your surroundings. Mexico has an increased caution advisory, there are precautions any traveler should take while navigating the country.

Mexico has high rates of crime throughout the country, from random street crime to cartel-related attacks, US citizens should exercise a heightened sense of caution when traveling in the country. Mexico has seen a rise in robberies and extortion schemes. There are many giveaways that can signal someone is a tourist from accent and Spanish language proficiency to something as subtle as mannerisms and the way one walks. The goal is not to mask that you are a visitor, but to protect your belongings and ensure you do not fall victim to these crimes. Here are a few tips:

  • Be aware of your surroundings- check local guides about the neighborhoods you plan to stay and visit.
  • Leave valuable items at home whenever possible and only travel with your necessities
  • Avoid being flashy or careless with valuable items
  • Ensure your bags and pockets are tight and completely zipped
  • Have a travel partner when possible
  • Only use a reputable taxi company or a trusted ride-sharing app (Mexico has Uber and Cabify- available at much cheaper rates than in the US)
  • Book taxis through your hotel or an authorized taxi stand.
  • Do not discuss travel plans, your room number, or any other personal information within earshot of strangers.
  • Do not divulge personal business details to strangers in person or over the phone, especially when using hotel phones.
  • If you are threatened on the phone, hang up immediately.

Please note that in certain areas in Mexico, emergency responders may be quite slow. In addition, filing police reports can be time-consuming and may require the payment of a $10-40 processing fee.

Additional Resources:

US State Dept. Travel Information

Mexico Travel Advisory (for a detailed list of advisories per state)

Funding & Scholarship Opportunities

There are many scholarships to fund your education abroad experience. Here is a list of Diversity Abroad scholarships available for study in Mexico, some of which can be applied to other types of international experiences:

Diversity Abroad Overseas Ambassador Scholarship

Diversity Network Summer Consortium Scholarship

Diversity Abroad AIFS Achievement Scholarship

For more scholarships, visit our Scholarships page.

In addition, many institutions and program providers offer scholarships for students participating in their programs. Be sure to check with your home institution’s study abroad office and your program provider to find more scholarship opportunities.