Quest Exchange in Mexico

Mexico is a massive, diverse and beautiful country filled with ancestral monuments, delicious traditional foods, and beautiful beaches with clear blue waters. From the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, this country has many different landscapes: volcanic peaks, snowcapped mountains, deserts, tropical rainforests, and internationally famous beaches.

Mexico’s blend of indigenous and European roots has influenced its culture and traditions, including musical styles, folk art, and cuisine. Mexican cuisine is known for its intense and varied flavors, colorful decoration, and variety of spices. The most internationally recognized dishes include chocolate, tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, tamales and mole among other mouth-watering flavors for you to discover!

Explore our nearest southern neighbor but feel like you’re a whole world away in this rich cultural landscape!

3 Fun Facts
  • Mexico has the world’s smallest volcano. The Cuexcomate Volcano outside the city of Puebla is just 43 feet tall.
  • The Aztecs, the indigenous inhabitants of Mexico, believed that chocolate (cacao seeds) was a gift from the god of wisdom, and the seeds once had so much value that they were used as a form of currency.
  • The Chihuahua is the world’s smallest dog and is named for a Mexican state.
2018-2019 Program Pricing

Year

Mid Aug – Early July
$12,500

Semester

Mid Aug – Early Jan
Late Jan – Early July
$10,000

Short-Term

4 Months: $7,000
3 Months: $6,500
2 Months: $6,000
1 Month: $5,000

SCHOOL Life

The school year in Mexico starts in the middle of August and ends in early July. There are short holiday periods in the Fall, at Christmas and Easter. At the end of the school year there is a 6-week summer break. School generally starts around 7am and ends between 1-2 pm. On some days, there might be afternoon classes as well. Students may be placed anywhere in the country, especially the Yucatan Peninsula. Sports, art, and clubs offer a wonderful opportunity to be around fellow Mexican students in a relaxed atmosphere.

FAMILY Life

Most Mexican families own their own home, and usually both parents work outside the home. Often, families consist of four or five members. Families are warm and caring, and will make sure the student feels welcomed. Respect towards each other, especially towards parents and the elderly, is essential. The student must not forget to respect the host parents, their house, and their rules at all times. In Mexico, most families are Catholic and have much respect for religion. Students are not required to practice the same religion, but should remain respectful of the family’s beliefs. Mealtimes are similar to those in the U.S. Dinner is a time to come together and talk about the day’s activities.

Program Extras

Throughout the year, excursions are offered to places such as Chiapas, Bacalar, Cozumel, and Holbox as well as several Cenotes, colonial cities and Mayan ruins. Details about these trips are available upon request and vary by year and season.

Program Requirements

There is no formal language requirement for Mexico. However, students should have at least a basic level of Spanish before arriving and should be willing to immerse themselves in the language while there.

VISAS

For stays over 180 days, students will need a visa, but for stays less than that students will need a tourist card. Students and parents should research visa requirements through the Mexican consulate or embassy nearest to their home as soon as possible, as this is the most time-intensive component of the study abroad application process. As the details of this process vary greatly by location, neither Quest nor our Mexican partner office can confirm the exact requirements. For this reason, Quest is not able to assist with legal tourist card/visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current requirements and to obtain and submit the tourist card/visa application.

Will students have access to Internet/WiFi at their home and school?

Yes, students will have access to WiFi at their host family home and school.

Can students bring their own cell phones?

Yes, if students have an unlocked cell phone, they could use their personal phone with a Mexican carrier/SIM card.

Can students travel without an adult chaperone if given permission?

Students can travel without adult supervision within the Yucatan Peninsula, as long as the required release form is signed by the natural parents, host family, local school, local partner office and Quest. Travel outside of the host area and outside of the peninsula is not allowed without adult supervision.

How much money should students have for spending money?

Students should budget around $200-$300/month for personal expenses, which include entertainment, personal hygiene items, long-distance calls, etc. Additional money should be budgeted for start-up school expenses, such as books and supplies. These fees are in addition to Quest program fees.

What are some cultural norms that describe a typical host family in Mexico?

Mexican families are very family-oriented and extended family is important. They love to celebrate with lots of food and lunch is the main meal of the day. Mexican families are diverse as well, so family expectations, interactions and activities vary widely. Some families may afford the student a great deal of independence, while others may expect the student to participate more extensively in family life. Some families may be very active or outdoorsy, while others may prefer to relax at home. Thus, students must be open-minded and ready to adapt to their new host family dynamics.

How are host families chosen?

Quest’s in-country partner is responsible for locating, screening and matching host families with our students. Host families go through a careful screening process, which typically involves in-person interviews, home inspections and references.

How do students apply for the visa and how long does it take?

For stays over 180 days, students will need a visa, but for stays less than that students will need a tourist card. Students and parents should research visa requirements through the Mexican consulate or embassy nearest to their home as soon as possible, as this is the most time-intensive component of the study abroad application process. As the details of this process vary greatly by location, neither Quest nor our Mexican partner office can confirm the exact requirements. For this reason, Quest is not able to assist with legal tourist card/visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current requirements and to obtain and submit the tourist card/visa application.

How will the student get to and from school?

Students will generally get a ride to school with their host family. Otherwise, students can go with their peers/ neighbors, or this a public bus. Transportation fees are the student’s responsibility and are not included in Quest program fees.

Is it possible for students to get tutors during their program?

Yes, our Mexican partner organization provides tutoring free of cost.

Can students receive an official document with grades and completed classes after finishing their program?

Yes, exchange students in Mexico can receive official documentation, including grades, but only if they are able to complete all assignments and exams in Spanish. Otherwise, schools will give students a participation/attendance certificate. In order to receive either of these documents, students must proactively seek them out. Obtaining this documentation is the student’s responsibility before s/he leaves Mexico.

Do schools offer different sports/activities?

Yes, schools have many sport and extracurricular activities for student to participate in.

THINK IT OVER

The rewards of life abroad are amazing and wonderful, but are you up for the unique challenges that come with this experience? You will be away from your friends, family and the lifestyle you are accustomed to. You will have to adapt to a new language, culture, school and family. You will have to make decisions on your own and make new friends. Think about it and do some research on the country you want to study in. There is a wealth of information on the Internet that can better prepare you for your adventure!

GET YOUR PARENT/LEGAL GUARDIAN ON BOARD

Your parent(s) or guardian(s) need to help you make your dream happen. The application process takes time and effort, so it is important, at this stage, to make sure your parents support your decision to study abroad and have given you approval to move forward. If they feel that you are prepared and understand what’s required from them, you are ready to move to the next step.

CHECK IN WITH YOUR SCHOOL

You may receive credit from your program, but it is your responsibility to make this happen. Only your U.S. school can decide which credits you can receive. You must approach your guidance counselor to determine if you can get the credits you are hoping to receive. Bring Quest’s Academic Guide with you, and be certain of what you will be responsible for.

CONTACT QUEST FOR PROGRAM INFORMATION AND PAPERWORK

Fill out our online information request form in order to receive important program information from Quest via email. This email will contain Quest’s Program Agreement and Program Guidelines for your review and signature. Carefully review all of this information with your parents and contact Quest if you have any questions. We are here to help guide you through the process so you can make decisions that fit your needs.

CONFIRM PROGRAM DETAILS

The Quest Program Coordinator will confirm with you the program details submitted on your original request form. If you’re unsure of your destination, we’ll help you narrow down your choices to the country and program season that works for you. We will speak with your parents and make sure that everybody feels informed and ready to proceed with the decisions made.

CONFIRM PAYMENT DETAILS

You and your parents will receive the online Payment Agreement, which states the total program price for your selected destination country and Quest’s payment process. Your parents will receive an invoice for the application deposit, which is due before you submit your student application.

COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION

Quest will send you a full student application for the program you have chosen. This application can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete. Make sure you give yourself ample time prior to the application deadline to complete the application and supplemental documents.

SKYPE INTERVIEW

This is when you get to meet your Quest Program Coordinator and talk face to (virtual) face. During the interview, the Program Coordinator will assess your suitability for the Quest Study Abroad program. This call lasts 30-60 minutes. Parents will speak with us at the end of the call, but the first part of the interview questions must be answered by the student alone. There is no preparation needed other than to talk about yourself, your desire to participate in the program and why you feel you are ready.

WAITING FOR ACCEPTANCE

Your Quest Program Coordinator will review your application and interview documentation to determine acceptance. Our team members put a lot of thought into the decisions they make, and not all students are accepted into the program. In order to make our decision, Quest must review complete and accurate application materials. We choose students who are emotionally, socially and academically prepared for the study abroad program. We look at each student’s level of maturity, independence and ability to adapt to life in a foreign country.

ACCEPTANCE AND INVOICE

You will receive a letter of acceptance from Quest via email. Your parents will receive an invoice outlining the total cost with only the first 50% of the total due within 10 days. The final 50% of the remaining program fees are due within 30 days of the invoice date.

GET LEGAL – VISA AND IMMIGRATION

This is a very important step in the process and can be very time-intensive. We suggest that you get started researching the requirements as soon as possible with the nearest embassy or consulate for your destination country, as requirements vary by location. Because the process does vary considerably, Quest and our foreign partner office are not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application. Start filling out all of the paperwork well in advance, as visa approval can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to obtain.

SCHOOL AND HOST FAMILY PLACEMENT

This is the hardest part: waiting for your school and host family placement information! Making quality placements takes time, and we will need your patience during this important step. Quest will notify you and your parents of a confirmed placement in a school and then again when you are placed with your host family. Write to your host family as soon as possible to introduce yourself, and let them know how excited you are to meet them.

BOOK YOUR FLIGHT

Working together with you and your parents, Quest will confirm your arrival date and book your roundtrip international flight to your placement area. We will also book your student travel and medical insurance for your trip, so you can rest easier while abroad!

PRE-DEPARTURE ORIENTATION

Your Quest Program Coordinator will help you get prepped for your trip with a pre-departure orientation prior to your departure. You’ll receive an agenda before the call. We encourage you to write all of your remaining questions down so that we can make you and your parents feel prepared for your trip abroad. We will go over the program rules, what to pack, what to do if you need support once you arrive, and more!

LIVE YOUR STUDY ABROAD DREAM!

Congratulate yourself and your family for making this happen. You are on your way to the study abroad adventure that you’ve earned!

Programs Available
  • Year
  • Semester
  • 4 Months
  • 3 Months
  • 2 Months
  • 1 Month
Application Deadline
  • Year/Fall Semester: April 1st
  • Spring Semester: October 1st
  • Short-Term: Variable
Apply Now

Quest International, a nonprofit organization, promoting international cultural awareness and compassion by providing educational programs for American and International students to live and learn together.