Universidad Panamericana

Aguascalientes, Guadalajara, and Mexico City, México

The exchange agreement

The exchange agreement between the University of Lethbridge and the Universidad Panamericana (UP) was signed in 1995 establishing an exchange to Mexico City and Guadalajara. In 2002, the exchange was expanded to also include UP's third branch, the Universidad Bonaterra - Campus Aguascalientes.

Semester dates

Fall semester
early August – early December
Orientation: early August
Suggested arrival: late July
Spring semester
mid January –  mid June
Orientation: mid January
Suggested arrival: mid January

The country

Mexico is a traveler's paradise, crammed with a multitude of opposing identities: desert landscapes, snow-capped volcanoes, ancient ruins, teeming industrialized cities, time-warped colonial towns, glitzy resorts, lonely beaches and an incomparable collection of flora and fauna. While Mexico is ethnically and culturally diverse, with an estimated population of about 106 million, it is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world. Particularly since the signing of NAFTA in 1994, Canada-Mexico economic relations have strengthened. Today, Mexico is Canada's fourth largest export market, while Canada is Mexico's second largest. For more information about Mexico see sites such as en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico

The 3 cities

Mexico City

While once the center of the entire Aztec empire, México City is now the political, financial, and cultural capital of México. As one of the world's most populated cities, is filled with exciting things to see and do. Monuments, parks, fountains and great tree lined avenues are everywhere you are likely to visit within the city. Skyscrapers sit beside splendid examples of colonial architecture; archeological sites share space with modern day structures, and freeways lead to charming neighborhoods of colonial buildings and peaceful plazas. Museums are around just about every corner and the rich heritage of México's colonial past is evident almost everywhere. It is an energetic metropolis and just an incredible place to visit. For more information about Mexico City, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico_City


Guadalajara, México's pearl of the west, is an incredibly diverse and stately city with amazing qualities, both modern and historic, that embrace all who visit. As the second largest city in México and boasting a population of over 3 million, you are constantly reminded that Guadalajara is a busy metropolis, and a major Mexican business center. Although this city beats to a busy pace, things here have a way of seeming to always remain serene. There are many places in Guadalajara where you will feel like you have stepped back in time to a different era. The Guadalajara area is known as the birthplace of the world famous Mariachi bands and also as the home of the Mexican hat dance. For more information about Guadalajara, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guadalajara, Jalisco


Aguascalientes, a Spanish name meaning "hot waters", is one of the loveliest colonial jewels in Mexico, with a central location, enviable climate (average temperature is about 26 °C year round), and a healthy economy. Capital city of the state by the same name, colonial Aguascalientes dates its roots to the early days of Spanish influence and its city's historic center has preserved civil and religious buildings that reflect its greatness during that era. In recent years Aguascalientes has attracted major industries and assembly plants, including the head Nissan factory, Xerox, and many important Japanese companies.

For all these reasons, it has been voted the number one place to live in Mexico. For more information about Aguascalientes, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes.

The university

A top quality private university, the Universidad Panamericana was established in 1967 and has an enrolment of 9,000 undergraduate students and offers business education with majors in international management, commerce, finance, accounting, and marketing. The main campus is located just south of Mexico City in a series of beautiful 17th century buildings surrounded by numerous floral gardens. The Guadalajara campus is located on the outskirts of Mexico's second largest city. UP's third campus, the Universidad Bonaterra in Aguascalientes, is the smallest of the three campuses with just under 1000 students, and therefore creates a very personalized learning environment.

UP's Business Faculty's graduate school, IPADE, (Instituto Panamericano de Alta Dirección de Empressa), is one of Mexico's pre-eminent graduate business schools and has close ties with Harvard Business School. As part of our exchange agreement, IPADE offers scholarships to U of L students wishing to complete their 2 year MBA program.

For further information, check the International Area at the Universidad Panamericana website.


While the major language of instruction is Spanish, there are a limited number of classes taught in English on each of the three UP campuses. Still, all students studying at UP must have some Spanish background. Semester-long Spanish language courses are one of the five courses that U of L exchange students to UP are required to take. U of L exchange students may take no more than two of their five courses at UP in the English language. Most courses at UP are taught in the morning and in the evening. Few classes are available in the afternoon, as many local students or professors work elsewhere during this time.

A complete course listing may be viewed on the particular campus website.


Universidad Panamericana offers home-stay (room and board) for $500/month (Aguascalientes), $450–600/month (Guadalajara), and $350–550/month (Mexico City). The Aguascalientes International Relations staff have also been able to arrange off-campus private housing (apartment or shared house) for prices beginning at $150/person, while students wishing to live off campus in Guadalajara or Mexico City must make their own arrangements. Prices in Mexico City and Guadalajara vary between $300–$450/month per person for a shared apartment.


Transportation is very inexpensive throughout Mexico. The cheapest way to get around in the city is the bus. The Universidad Panamericana sells cheap bus tickets for students. Taxis are also relatively cheap. Meters are usually not used, so it's best to settle on a price before getting into the taxi. For longer out-of-town trips, the Mexican bus system is great as it is clean, modern, and inexpensive.

Visa requirements

Canadian citizens or landed immigrants who wish to enroll in a Mexican university must obtain a student visa. Within 30 days of arrival in Mexico, the student must register at the National Registry of Foreign Citizens, National Institute of Immigration of the Ministry of the Interior (Instituto Nacional de Migración, Secretaría de Gobernación).

The visa application process may have changed since this page was updated. Please email International Programs (int.programs@uleth.ca) for more information.

For further details about this visa, contact the:

Consular Office of Mexico
1100-833 4 Av SW
Calgary AB T2P 3T5Tel: 1 (403) 264-1259
Fax: 1 (403) 284-1527
Email: mailto:concalgary@sre.gob.mx
Website: www.consulmexvan.com


Based on comments from our previous exchange students to the UP in Mexico, the costs for the exchange are approximately as follows:

  • Housing: $250 – 350/month (shared apartment); $500–600/month (home-stay including meals)
  • Textbooks: $100 – 200 total (depending on courses)
  • Food: $100 – 250/month
  • Local transportation: $60/month
  • Visa: $100 (no visa fee; only cost of required passport photos and postage charges)
  • Flight: $900 – 1200

Videos and photos

To view video clips of Mexican exchange students, and a former U of L exchange student to Mexico, as well as the talk about the Mexico exchange at our February 2005 U of L International Program Info Sessions, see the following links

Student contacts

"Great experience that I recommend. By far the best way to learn about a new culture and language."

John Anderson, UofL exchange student to Guadalajara campus

"The city is great; clean, safe, lively, colonial, full of street vendors and markets, and there is always something to do. Oh, and about school....it's fabulous!"

Kristin Roblick and Ana Palomino, UofL exchange students to Aguascalientes

"I am so sad that my exchange semester is finished. It was the highlight of my program!"

"The five months I spent in Mexico, D.F., at the Universidad Panamericana were probably five of the best months of my life. The city itself is amazing, with an immense park right in the middle of the downtown and a collection of eclectic, enjoyable neighbourhoods, restaurants and night spots that make the experience huge. I met people in Mexico that I now consider some of my best friends, and visited parts of Mexico that I cannot compare to anywhere else in the world."
Other comments from former exchange students to UP, Guadalajara campus

Former and current U of L exchange students to the Universidad Panamericana, as well as our current incoming exchange students from Mexico are happy to talk to students interested in the exchange. To request their contact information, please email int.programs@uleth.ca.