Experiencing an American Spring Break … in Mexico!

Spring break is purely an American experience. As an exchange student, this was the first time I have ever enjoyed this break, and it was probably one of the best moments I had this year.

Here is what I learned about spring break culture:

“San Diego is very close to Mexico, of course, which is one thing that I love about the city. I decided I could not leave the United States without visiting Mexico first.”

American college students celebrate spring break in a very particular way. While living in Canada, we had no such thing such as spring break. Our breaks were usually called “reading week” and it’s usually a time when students rest before midterms, get some work done and volunteer. What I find exciting about spring break here in the States is the fact that it takes place right after midterms, which gives you more time to relax and forget about school!

During this week, many college students spend their time going to the beach, exploring the city, partying and of course traveling!

And what would be a better way to fully grasp the American experience than fully taking advantage of this break? I decided that spring break should be a time of new experiences for me, so I booked my flight to Cancun, Mexico.

The main thing I love about studying abroad in the U.S. are the multiple opportunities to travel inside, but also outside, the country. San Diego is very close to Mexico, of course, which is one thing that I love about the city. I decided I could not leave the United States without visiting Mexico first.

I was very pleased by the many resources for students that I found to help me plan my trip, but also the many pieces of advice about safety that I received from professors before leaving.

Because I spend a lot of time reading before leaving for Cancun, I truly had an amazing experience. I was able to discover a new city, authentic Mexican food, a new culture and amazing people. I was pleasantly surprised by how nice people were to me and my friends and it made me feel at home. I was able to fully discover the beauty of the region by visiting Tulum, the jungle, Islas Mujeres and many other places that are different from anything I’d ever seen.

Taking public transportation was also a very helpful way to discover the city. What made those buses so charming were the multiple conversations, laughter, smiles and the Mexican music playing in the background.

I also loved the fact that you could find many students in the city, coming from all over the world to discover the city.

My advice to international students traveling for the first time during spring break would be to just do it! Try something new and visit new places, but read a lot about your destination before you leave and make sure to get informed about how to get around the city, places you should not go and the different ways tourists usually get tricked.

Spring break in Cancun was really a fun time for all of us; I will definitely plan to come back for my next spring break — all the way from Canada!


Radia Mbengue is studying at SDSU on a yearlong exchange from the University of British Columbia in Canada. She is originally from Senegal.

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