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Universidad La Salle and the Center for International Eduacation warmly welcomes you to Mexico! This guide booklet includes the most basic

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Universidad La Salle and the Center for International Eduacation warmly welcomes you to Mexico! This guide booklet includes the most basic information which we recommend you to read before or at your arrival.
Universidad La Salle and the Center for International Eduacation warmly welcomes you to Mexico! This guide booklet includes the most basic information which we recommend you to read before or at your arrival. Enjoy your stay! Universidad La Salle Benjamin Franklin #47 Col. Condesa Delegación Cuauhtémoc CP México, D.F. Centro Internacional de Educación La Salle (CIEL) Francisco Murguía #19 Col. Condesa Delegación Cuauhtémoc CP México, D.F. Tel. (+52) Updated edition, June 2010 By Aino Lyytikäinen 2 Welcome to Mexico! I N F O R M A T I O N A B O U T T H E C I T Y A N D T H E U N I V E R S I T Y CONTENTS P A G E N U M B E R MEXICO IN A NUTSHELL Facts and figures Map Brief History 4 UNIVERSIDAD LA SALLE Ideology and Practice Campus La Salle system Services Preparations before arrival: Visa, Health Insurance, Housing After arrival: Spanish for foreigners HEALTH Preconditions Food safety Alcohol consumption Contact information of doctor 9 CULTURAL MATTERS Greetings Family interactions Dining out Dresscode Social gatherings Chivalry TRANSPORTATION MONEY Metro Bus Microbús Metrobús Taxi de sitio Regular taxis Turibús Long distance buses Airway traffic Metro map Metrobús map Condesa area map Currency ATM s Money exchange Banks Credit cards Safety 16 COMMUNICATIONS To make a phone call Cellular phones To receive a phone call Mail 17 DON T FORGET THIS! General safety Tourist information Weather Emergency numbers 18 3 Mexico in a nutshell Facts & Figures OFFICIAL NAME: Estados Unidos Mexicanos (United States of Mexico) AREA: app. 1,970,000 km² (761,000 sq. miles) POPULATION: app. 110 million POPULATION DENSITY: 55 persons/km² (142/ sq. mile) CAPITAL (and largest city): Mexico City (Ciudad de México or Distrito Federal, D.F.) Population: 8,7 million; metropolitan area million Altitude; average 2,240m (7,350 ft) above the sea level Administrative structure: 16 boroughs (delegaciones), composed by hundreds of neighborhoods (colonias) with no administrative power OTHER CITIES: Monterrey app. 2 million inhabitants; Guadalajara app. 1,5 million inhabitants FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Federal republic (32 states) CURRENT HEAD OF STATE: President Felipe Calderón OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: Spanish OTHER LANGUAGES: 62 recognized indigenous languages, i.e. Nahuatl (1.4 million speakers), Maya (760,000), Mixtec (420,000) and Zapotec (410,000). RELIGIONS: Roman Catholic app. 87 % of the population, Protestant app. 5 %, other religions 3,3 %, no religion 3,5 % (in 2000) INDEPENDENCE DAY: September 16th (independence achieved in 1810 from Spain) 4 Brief history of Mexico The Prehispanic Era A s early as 10,000 BC, people and animals lived around Lago de Texcoco, the lake that then covered much of the floor of the Valle de México. After 7500 BC the lake began to shrink, hunting became more difficult, and the inhabitans turned to agriculture. A federation of villages evolved around the lake by 200 BC, but the biggest one, Cuicuilco, was destroyed by a The Colonial Era Wrecked during and after the Spanish conquest, the Aztec capital Tenochtitlán was transformed into a Spanish city. The native population of the Valle de México shrank drastically from the estimated 25 million at the end of 15th century, to suffered floods caused by the partial destruction in the 1520 s of the Aztecs canals. Lago de Texcoco often overflowed into the The population of the Valle de México shrank drastically from some 25 million at the end of 15th century, to fewer than 100,000 within a century. city, damaging buildings, bringing disease and forcing thousands of people away from their homes. Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital, illustrated in a part of the mural of Diego Rivera, located in Palácio Nacional. volcanic eruption that occurred around 100 AD. The next major influence in the area was Teotihuacán, 25km (16mi) northeast of the lake. For centuries, Teotihuacán was the capital of the empire stretching to Guatemala and beyond, but it fell in the 7th century. Of several city-states in the region in the following centuries, the Toltec empire, based at Tula, 65 km (40mi) north of modern Mexico City, was the most important. By the 13th century the Tula empire had fallen too, leaving a number of small states around the lake to spat over the Valle de México. The Aztecs emerged as the winners. The Aztecs emerged as the winners. fewer than 100,000 with a century after the conquest. But the city of Tenochtitlán itself reemerged by 1550 as the prosperous and elegant, if unsanitary, capital of Nueva España. Broad, straight streets were laid out and buildings constructed to Spanish designs with local materials such as tezontle, a light-red volcanic rock that the Aztecs had used for their temples. Hospitals, schools, churches, palaces, parks and a university were built. But right up to the late 19th century the city Emiliano Zapata, one of the most important leaders of the Mexican Revolution. From independence to dictatorship and revolution On October 30, 1810, some 80,000 independence rebels had Mexico City at their mercy after defeating Spanish loyalist forces at Las Cruces, just west of the capital. But leader Miguel Hidalgo decided against advancing on the city a mistake that cost Mexico 11 more years of fighting before independence was achieved. Mexico City entered the modern age under the despotic Porfirio Díaz, who ruled Mexico for most of the period from 1877 to 1911 and attracted much foreign investment. He had railways built to the provinces and the USA. Industry grew, and by 1910 the city had 471,000 inhabitants. A drainage canal and tunnel dried up much of the Lago de Texcoco, allowing further expansion. After Díaz fell in 1911, the Mexican Revolution brought war and hunger to the city s streets. In the 1920 s. Diego Rivera, D a v i d A l f o n s o S i q u e i r o s, J o s é 5 Brief history of Mexico A century of one-party domination was interrumpted in 2000 by the election of president Vicente Fox (PAN). Clemente Orozco and other young artists were commissioned to decorate numerous public buildings with dramatic, large-scale murals, conveying a new sense of Mexico s past and future. By million people lived in Mexico City, and factories and s k y s c r a p e r s started shooting up left and right. The supply of housing, jobs and services couldn t keep up with the growth, and shantytowns were born on the city s fringes. Despite continued economic growth into the 1960 s, political and social reform lagged behind. Student-lead discontent came to a head as Mexico City Felipe Calderón, the current president of Mexico, and his opponent in the election in 2006, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador. prepared for the 1968 Olympic Games, and estimated hundreds of students died in the in the confrontation with military troops and police, just 10 days before the games. From one-party-dictatorship towards electoral democracy Basically the whole 20th century, the leadership of Mexico has been dominated by one party, the Institutional Revolution Party (PRI), with one president after another appointing their successors and with voting being just a formality to legitimize the autocracy. This changed in 2000, as Vicente Fox from the right -wing National Action Party (PAN) was elected, and the election was considered the first one w i t h o u t fraud since decades. However, in the next presidential elections in 2006, accusations of fraud rose again as the rightwing candidate Felipe Cald e r ó n w o n against his leftwing competitor Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The city keeps growing Mexico City kept growing at a frightening rate in the 1970 s and began to develop some of the world s worst traffic and pollution, only slightly alleviated when the metro system oepend in 1969 and by attempts in the 1990 s to limit traffic. Despite a devastating earthquake that killed over 10,000 people in 1985, crowds have continued to pour into the city. The poverty and overcrowding that always existed alongside the city s wealth were exacerbated by the recession of the mid-1990 s, which left crowds of people living on marginal levels of basic subsistence. One effect of the crisis was a huge jump in crime. Subsequent recovery was very gradual. Despite the introduction of the metro and the restricitions of prívate driving, the city keeps suffering from severe pollution problems, such as the smog newcomers flow into the city every day. In 1997, the Federal District (Mexico City) was granted political autonomy, and elected its own mayor for the first time that year. The new administration was widely seen as honest and well-intentioned, and made the first serious efforts to combat police corruption, a major factor in high crime levels. In 2000, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, mentioned above, was elected mayor. Capitalinos, the capital dwellers, generally approved of his populist initiatives, which included an ambitious makeover of the Historic Center. Today an estimated 1,100 newcomers arrive in the city daily. It has multiplied its area more than 10 times since 1940, but it s still one of the world s most crowded metropolitan areas. 6 Universidad La Salle Ideology and Practice F ounded in 1962, Universidad La Salle (ULSA) is an institution of higher education known for its personal attention to the students, traditional values and the communitarian spirit. It is part of the worldwid e network of Christian Brothers Schools which was begun in the 17th century by French educator, St. John Baptist de la Salle. La Salle in Mexico City The university offers programs at undergraduate, masters and doctorate levels. The university s urban campus offers 28 undergraduate programs, 9 specialties, 13 masters and 2 doctorates in the areas of Architecture, Design, Business, Education, Psychology, Chemical Sciences, Finances, Engineering, Law, Philosophy and Religion. The School of Medicine has one of the country s best medical programs. The student population is approximately 9,000. ULSA is known for its personal attention to the students, traditional values and the communitarian spirit. La Salle system in Mexico Universidad La Salle is autonomous and has the accreditation of the Mexican Secretariat of Public Education and the Federation of Private Mexican Universities. It is a member of the following Consortiums: International Student Exchange Program, the North American Regional Academic Mobility program, Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration, Mexico UK Study Abroad Consortium, Conférence des Recteurs et des Principauz des Universités du Québec and CONAHEC Student Exchange Program. Additionally, ULSA belongs to the major national and international educational and professional associations. The La Salle university system offers access to campuses around Mexico: Cancún, Chihuahua, Cuernavaca, Ciudad Obregon, Ciudad Victoria, Guadalajara, Morelia, Gomez Palacios, Leon, Pachuca, Saltillo, Monterrey and Puebla. Our main campus in Mexico City is centrally located within the heart of the trendy Colonia Condesa, which can be easily reached by subway, Metrobús or taxi. It is within walking distance of many restaurants, cafes, bookstores, museums and movie theaters, and only a twenty minute ride from the Historic Center. The La Salle campus is green, safe and inviting. Services on campus The campus provides the students with a wide range of services. Computer centers with over are available for the students with a variety of specialized and general application software. Wireless Internet and connections for laptop are available around the campus. Students have the possibility to practice many kinds of sports at the university, from aerobics and gymnastics to swimming and several ball games. 7 Universidad La Salle How to come and how to stay Students with a valid ID can borrow materials from the library and from the Multimedia Center on a weekly basis. A Starbucks coffee shop is located in the center of the Plaza La Salle. Student cafeterias as well as other restaurants are located within and around the campus. ULSA has a medical center located with a bilingual doctor and a nurse at the service of the students and the personnel. BEFORE ARRIVAL Visa Exchange students can stay in Mexico without student VISA for the maximum length of 180 days. Some nationalities are required a visa to enter Mexico. You should consult your local Mexican embassy or consulate for more precise and current information on requirements for your nationality. The website of the Mexican Immigration I n s i t u t e, w w w. i n m. g o b. x/index.php?page/tramites, provides detailed and updated information on visa requirements for each country. You also need to have a certificate of an international health insurance. Please see more information next page. Embassies Find all the updated contact information of the embassy of your country at cial.php?categoria=11. Housing CIEL, the Center of International Education, can provide home stays with reliable Mexican families to further enhance the learning experience. All the families recommended by us have been carefully screened by our personnel. Most of the houses are within walking distance from our main campus. Cost will vary depending on the number of meals selected. If you are interested, please fill in the application form in and fax or send it by to Hilda Cortés, Fax: (+5255) , AFTER ARRIVAL Spanish for foreigners Thanks to my host family, my experience in Mexico City has been beautiful they have invited me to be part of the family and they treat me like their own daughter. Tina Martini, Italy We offer complete, well-rounded programs of not only language studies, but also the culture, traditions and history of Mexico. Our basic program consists of seven levels which are covered in approximately nine 45- hour-modules. Our courses provide a balance of oral and written expression and listening and reading comprehension with special emphasis on communicative skills. Small groups enhance the learning process through personalized attention. The courses are available year-round and the books are edited by CEPE (Centro de Enseñanza Para Extranjeros) of the National University, UNAM. Besides intensive and semi-intensive modules we The Center of International Education La Salle is located in the picturesque colonial house, Casa Rosa. offer private classes in campus, home or office, Mexican Culture, Spanish for Business, Strategies of Negotiations in Mexico, Latin American literature and Spanish for Journalism. For further information, please visit CIEL s homepage or contact Leonor Lemus, CIEL provides accommodation with selected host families within a walking distance from the campus. 8 Health Come healthy, stay healthy! Y ou must be healthy to enjoy your stay. Differences in the weather, altitude, food as well as the stress and cultural shock may reflect on your health. Most of times, your body and common sense can deal with some medical condition. Health insurance All students are expected to have full international medical insurance coverage including repatriation applicable in Mexico. Full payment for medical expenses has to be covered by the student at the moment services are required. This amount is then reimbursed by the student s insurance when returning home. A credit card is required for admission for hospital care. Preconditions Besides having health insurance, make sure you have a medical checkup before leaving your country. Mention that you are going to Mexico, your physician may advise you some vaccines. Don t count on the lastminute-chance for example, the hepatitis vaccine has to be taken several months before departure. Bring with you medical data such as blood type, allergies, prescriptions, glasses prescriptions and medical history. Food safety How to prevent problems... Wash your hands frequently. Avoid water and ice from doubtful sources. Go easy with new food especially fruits and spices Eat in established restaurants not off street stands. In case you develop discomfort Reduce food intake Try to eat small quantities of food several times a day rather than big meals. Drink plenty of water. Rest! Control symptoms with over-the-countermedication such as Pepto-Bismol Problems? Call... C.I.E.L, tel or Dr. Pedro Argüelles, tel. (044) If your symptoms get worse, let us know immediately in order to advise our on-call physician and obtain further attention. Consult your emergency phone number card. Alcohol consumption Be mindful of the differences in altitude; the effects of alcohol will be greater than at sea level! Excessive alcohol consumption by students will not be tolerated. Please note also that underage drinking will be cause for dismissal from the program. Be conscious of your limits and of what you re drinking! 9 Cultural matters When in Mexico, do as the Mexicans do Get to know and respect your host family and their habits that s how you get the most out of your stay in Mexico! Greetings T here are no specific rules to greeting. It depends on the situation, the person and the relationship, however shaking hands will always be accepted and expected. Mexicans are affectionate people, so don't be surprised if you are th e recipient of a hug or a kiss on the cheek, which is the most common way to greet friends. Your host families will expect some form of greeting from you when leaving or arriving home. Conversational space the distance between people is much closer in Mexico. Family interactions Family is the basic unit of Mexican society. The concept family applies much further than in the USA or Europe relatives such as uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins and all their families belong to it. Generations interact a lot and the opinions and experiences of older family members are respected. Meals are very important for family interaction. If the food is not to your liking, make an attempt to at least try the new food. Do not expect to eat and run the sobremesa, conversation at the table after the meal is a very essential part of Mexican culture. Meals are very important to develop a personal relationship. For that reason, meals can get lengthy be patient! Do not prop your feet up on chairs or tables at host family, or in public. Tipping is normally between 10 and 15 % for services. Observe and follow your companions if you feel unsecure of the local table manners. Dress code Clothing in Mexico tends to be more formal for both business and social engagements. lt is not appropriate to wear tiny shorts in church or in a restaurant. Wearing them on the street sends the sign that you are a tourist. In the common areas of the house, students may dress casually; sweatpants and sweatshirts are acceptable. Follow the customs and the rules of your host family. Social gatherings When you arrive to a party and are introduced to new people, greet them with a kiss on the right cheek. It is also polite to let the host know when you re leaving. The no smoking culture is new in Mexico. Many companies do have nosmoking rules and it is prohibited in most restaurants and bars, although some have smoking areas. Students are allowed to smoke in the open-areas of the university. Punctuality is not a common cultural aspect of Mexican social events. Most social gatherings start later than specified. If you want to agree on a meeting time, try to set a precise time and avoid concepts like in a half on hour or ahorita (very undefined, now ). The courteous form of addressing people, especially older ones, is usted (instead of tú). Buenas tardes, señor presidente, como está? Dining out Going out to eat is not just a meal, it is an event. 10 Transportation Getting around in the city and out of it PUBLIC TRANSPORTA- TION Metro (map on page 13) T he Metro, or subway, is clean, cheap, efficient and quiet. It is also the quickest way to zip around the City. The ticket to the Metro costs 3 pesos. You can also buy is a rechargeable card at any of the stations for a price of 10 pesos.
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