Mexico is unique, vibrant and colourful. Their culture has been influenced by both their Native American and Spanish heritage. Its history is reflected in the ancient Mayan Temples, ruins of Aztec civilisations, rural indigenous villages and colonial cities. Students that would like to go on exchange to Mexico do not need to speak Spanish, but should be prepared to learn it before arriving on exchange.
In Mexico, the school year runs from August to the end of May or June. You will attend school either in the morning or in the afternoon, depending on the grade or school you are in. There is a 2 week winter vacation period in December. Spring vacation is in April (Holy Week and Eastern Week). Schools in Mexico don’t usually offer vocational subjects or extra-curricular activities. There are only 3 years of high school and students generally study a lot in their last year because the university entrance exams that are held at the end of the school year. Schools will expect you to participate in class and do the exams. Some schools require students to wear a uniform. This uniform could be a T-shirt with the school name that you should wear with jeans or an entire uniform.
Mexican host families come from very different social backgrounds but are all are very close knit and protective. You will be considered a member of the family and will share privileges and responsibilities as much as the other children in the family. Usually Mexican children remain with their parents until they get married. Mexican families have strong principles and are concerned to bring up their children in a semi- traditional way. And, since most children do not work until they graduate, parents provide them with everything they need. Thus, teenagers are accustomed to respecting their parents and following their rules. Children are expected to follow family rules, get good grades at school, always show good manners and, in general, be polite and respectful. Mexican families are usually very strict about teenagers going out at night. It is not culturally accepted that girls go out by themselves. Teenagers usually go to the movies or parties in groups with relatives or friends. In most cases an adult accompanies them. In general, families have their meals at home. Mexican food might be totally different to what you are used to eating.
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