One of the greatest things I’ve done during my time at York is going to Mexico on the 2018 International Study Centre (ISC) trip. We headed over to Querétaro and spent a week and a half there, and the last few days in the capital, Mexico City! We got to do all sorts and experience so many new things – and with the scholarships available depending on your circumstances, it was really affordable!
What is an ISC?
ISCs are run by the Centre for Global Programmes, a department here at the uni that helps organise summer courses and year abroad placements for students. They’ve taken trips to loads of different countries, including the USA, Russia, South Africa, India, and Mexico! The fortnight is a mix of academic sessions at a host university and fun activities where you get to explore the country. Don’t worry though, everything was taught in English!
The course I did had a focus on Mexican Culture and Identity. So we did a broad mix of things, such as salsa dancing, an international business class, a visit to a bakery, and trips to pyramids! Before we went we were offered some Spanish classes too, just to make things a bit easier.
About 20 people went. For some people, the link to their degree was clear – I study Spanish! But some people were there just because they were interested and wanted to learn more. Each ISC has a different theme. So while we were learning about the Culture and Identity of our host country, others focus on different things, such as politics or history.
What sort of activities do you do?
We did all sorts! In addition to the ones above, we visited traditional markets, churches, restaurants, and museums. One interesting visit was to Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s old house, where many of her famous paintings are displayed. Another day we did a visit to a monastery. And another day we went to a town called Guanajuato (it’s a hilly town with bright coloured buildings – think a massive Balamory). Then another day we went to the Teotihuacán Pyramids, which were really impressive and definitely my favourite day! Obviously, the activities you do depends on where you go. For example, the ISC in India involved seeing the Taj Mahal!
What if I don’t know anyone else who wants to go?
Lots of people don’t! One really cool thing about ISCs is that they’re open to any student (undergraduates, postgraduates, all years and all degree subjects). The Centre for Global Programs organised a social (with pizza) for us before we went, just to give us a chance to meet each other.
Doesn’t it cost a lot?
Not necessarily! Back in 2018, it cost £2,200 to go, but scholarships were available. Basically, when former students really enjoyed their study abroad, they donate money to give current students the chance. This can make the trips much more affordable and mean that lots more people have the chance to go!
Should I go?
I’d really recommend ISCs – I had a fantastic time on mine. Even though it was three years ago now, it’s still some of the best memories I have of my time at York! Everyone who went was so friendly, and I’d never have had the chance to do lots of these activities without the ISC and the scholarship I received.
If you want to find out more about ISCs, please visit their website and have a read. There’s more information and some videos from other students who have been!