El Colegio de México International Summer Programme

20 March 2019

Along with four other students from UCL, Amber from BASc joined the Colmex Summer Program. Read about her time in Mexico City here!

el colegio de mexico
Amber Rignell, Arts and Sciences (BASc)

This summer I decided to take part in a one-month summer course at El Colegio de Mexico. Based in Mexico City, Colmex is meant to be "la crema y la neta de la intelectualidad Mexicana" and has renowned teachers and researchers. The program exceeded my expectations, as I thoroughly enjoyed the classes I took and was impressed with the level of teaching.

The programme consisted of two obligatory classes - "21st century metropolis" and "Latin America in the 21st century: from the rise of the left to the return of the right" - and two electives, of which I chose "criminal violence" and "Mexico: a history of nation building". Other than the metropolis class, which was mainly focused on the economic aspect of cities, the entire course was fascinating and incredibly well taught! 

My favourite class was the criminal violence module, in which we learnt about organised crime on a national and international level, approaching questions such as what is violence, what leads people to commit violent acts, how do different cartels function and how are they structured, what have been some different approaches to combatting organised crime and how does violence from organised crime affect migration. We had two different teachers for this module, both very well respected and passionate about their subject. This course also led me to choose a module from Security and Crime Science this year. 

I must warn that the course was quite intense - we had many hours of class each day, readings to do for every lesson, and at the end of the course were asked to write an essay for each of the classes. However, it is definitely worth taking this opportunity. The classes give you an incredible basis of knowledge which allow you to have more interesting and in depth conversations with the Mexican friends that you make whilst being in the city. 
The people on the course were of various ages (from 19 to 35), nationalities (Japanese, Peruvian, Malaysian ...) and specialisations (art, Latin American studies, politics...) which also made it an enriching experience. 

All in all this is a wonderful opportunity which you should definitely take if you have the chance ! If you do decide to take this course, all I would recommend is that you make sure to stay on in Mexico for a couple of weeks so that you can travel a bit and make the most of such a wonderful country.

exploring mexico