Don’t get me wrong, UPD will always be my alma mater, and our campus is awesome in its own right. UNAM’s campus is simply amazeballs, though. I guess that comes inclusive with the UNESCO World Heritage tag. There are many similarities between the two universities in terms of local prestige and overall academic atmosphere, although UNAM’s main campus is way bigger and more artsy than our campus back in Quezon City. But then again, it’s not all about the venue...
The choice to study Spanish at UNAM was made based on several factors. One, I wanted a campus in Mexico City because I prefer living in the capital. Two, the website should inform me of everything I need to know before I fly. It’s a long flight, y’all, with several stopovers. The absence of other detailed university websites meant that I was choosing UNAM by default. There is a breakdown of tuition fees on the website. The course descriptions are detailed on the website. Heck, you can even find rooms to rent on the website!
And yeah, you can also enroll via the website if you are a returning student. For first timers, you have to do it personally at the office of the Centro de Enseñanza para Extranjeros (CEPE). The only other one-stop shop website kinda thing that I can think of is that of the University of Vienna, where you can pay for your tuition and house rent with just a few clicks and your credit card. That was really convenient. Long story short, enrollment at UNAM has been quite a breeze, which wasn’t all that bad for a first impression.
When I visited the campus on my first day, I was welcomed by pirated DVD vendors hawking their stuff a few cartwheels away from the entrance. UP Manila has those; Diliman, not that much. Could you really blame me if I immediately felt at home? It took a week or two before I decided to explore the campus itself, given its sheer size and lack of time on my part. And so one day, I hopped on the metro at MA de Quevedo and got off at Universidad, which is one of two metro stops for the university.
Copilco is on another line, I think. Universidad, on the other hand, was right smack at the center of the action. Following the throng of students making their way to the campus, I ended up in a vast green area full of trees and teenagers engaged in various activities ranging from sleeping under a tree to several levels of PDA. The scene immediately triggered memories of UPD’s Sunken Garden, in fact that entire area occupying the middle of the university oval. Oh, to be young! I suddenly miss the academe. Nostalgia...
I got lost that time but it was fun because I didn’t have any commitments and I just wandered about without any worries in mind. That’s when I discovered how big the campus really is. I did not take a lot of photos and videos, though, because I think the ambiance and the scenery is almost similar to UPD’s anyway. What I was really trying to capture were the differences, which explains the collection of photos and video clips that I actually ended up with. Those murals are unique and make this campus stand out!
But that one happened at a different time, a few days ago. The highlight is the very iconic central library, with its intricately designed facade that will certainly catch anyone’s attention. Even before I came here, I was already bombarded with images of that building whenever I Googled UNAM. It is photogenic alright, but it looks more impressive onsite, what with the university ambiance prevalent at the venue. Selfies here are common, and I had to battle it out with half a dozen camwhores to get mine. No, no one got hurt.
Across the main avenue is a stadium, which is also artsy artsy and worth a few photo-ops, but I was too lazy to cross the street. Sue me. And so I just checked out the Department of Law which had an open air hangout spot complete with power sockets for your electronics, like, a pair for each bench. At the entrance is a statue of that eagle on a cactus with its beak clenching a snake, the very same emblem you see on the Mexican flag. A plaque on the wall says that this law department was established in 1553.
It does say “450 Years of Law in America” which is weird because the university itself was not established until 1910. Or maybe that department predated the university of something. Whatevs. Anyway, there’s another eye-catching mural next to the Postgraduate department. Long live art! We also had a field trip one time at the Botanical Garden, which was fine but not that appealing to me. I’m allergic to plants and people. I prefer animals. But meeting the Agave plant responsible for tequila was cool.
[MEXICO CITY] UNESCO World Heritage Campus