Widely renowned as the University of Mexico City, I visited UNAM in order to do some research for my page son Mexico City History. The Campus is situated in the Ciudad Universitaria, where the Olympic stadium of 1968 is also built.
I did not know what to expect at the University of Mexico City. I had studied about it in history of art at school because some of the finest Mexican architects and artists were involved in its construction in 1910. It is a World Heritage site and includes many epic murals around the campus by artists such as Diego Riviera and David Alfaro Siqueiros.
La Ciudad Universitaria, the base of the University of Mexico City, really is a student town. In order to arrive closest to the campus, I took the metro that stopped at Copilco. Mainly populated by students with rucksacks, the metro station was lined with giant murals and immediately gave the sense that I was in a liberal area.
I didn’t need to consult my map to find the entrance to the campus, I just followed the trail of students. The streets are lined with independent shops, cafes, street vendors, book vendors, printing houses, bars, creperies, you name it, and the atmosphere is conducive to an almost idyllic portrayal of student life.
As you enter the University of Mexico City, and epic murals in the foreground and background catch your eye, you are surrounded by mountains that provide a backdrop to this fairly green campus. Students play football and basketball recreationally, whilst others hang out or eat brain food on the grass or walls.
I asked for directions to the Central Library and was informed by a young lady that it was straight ahead and unmissable; “the only building completely covered in paintings”. I remembered this from my history of art lessons and that there were no windows to the library.
I entered the library with my university of London ID at my disposal expecting some sort of check point and interrogation, but being a public library, I waltzing in and went about my business uninterrupted. After all, I was not planning to take out any books so what’s the fuss. The library extends upwards quite a few floors and is sufficiently stocked. I managed to get the information I need to write about the history of Mexico.
For lunch, I went to get a salad from a stall amongst a cluster of vendors (there are many clusters like these) just opposite the campus. It cost M$40, but was completely fresh and I got to chose the toppings. I also grabbed a freshly squeezed cup of orange juice. This is the sort of vibe I would love to have at my university in London. Instead, we get fried chicken shops and Budgens.
I didn’t manage to get a look around the Olympic Stadium but will surely update this page when I do.
The University of Mexico City (UNAM) is worth a visit. It is like a liberal academic utopia, which in fact is the reason it was built. It was founded by Justo Sierra who wanted the university to have freedom to choose its own curriculum and manage its own budget without the involvement of the government (thus Autónoma). UNAM is closely linked to the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso which I have also visited.
Studying at the University of Mexico City (UNAM) – Year Abroad Students
UNAM has the following faculties:
• School of Architecture • School of Sciences • School of Political and Social Sciences • School of Accounting and Administration • School of Law • School of Economy • School of Higher Studies (F.E.S.) Acatlán • School of Higher Studies (F.E.S.) Aragón • School of Higher Studies (F.E.S.) Cuautitlán • School of Higher Studies (F.E.S.) Iztacala • School of Higher Studies (F.E.S.) Zaragoza • School of Philosophy and Letters • School of Engineering • School of Medicine • School of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics • School of Dentistry • School of Psychology • School of Chemistry
UNAM also has the following schools:
• National School of Plastic Arts (E.N.A.P.) • National School of Nursing and Obstetrics (E.N.E.O.) • Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores Unidad León (ENES León) • National School of Music • National School of Social Work • National Preparatory School • National School – College of Science and Humanities
The university offers intensive Spanish and Mexican Culture courses that extend over the period of 6 weeks and cover 120 hours. You can also opt to stretch this out over a semester. There are a range of levels.
Bicycle sharing on UNAM’s Campus
I just came across this video on Vimeo which highlights another terrific feature of the UNAM which I forgot to mention. The University of Mexico City has excellent infrastructure for cyclist and a bicycle sharing program that should be used by other universities around the world.
Click here to go to the University of Mexico City’s (UNAM) Homepage