How to Halfway Graduate from a Mexican University

I graduated from university here in Cancun 3 years ago. I studied Tourism Administration, a 4-year degree that required about twice as many courses as a USA university and no less than 5 internships, along with 240 hours of community service. My expat friends and I often joke that here in Mexico, they feel that more work must mean better work, which is why they Mexican companies looooove 6-day work weeks.

Back in 2009, my class had a lovely little graduation ceremony. I even have a graduation picture to prove it…

So that means I’m done, right?


At my university (and I believe at many other Mexican universities), after you graduate, you need to do one of 3 things:

  1. Take a 1-semester course to study for a huge final exam
  2. Write a thesis
  3. Have an overall GPA of at least 9 (in Mexico, grades go from 0 – 10)

I was lucky enough to have a GPA of 9.01, meaning I didn’t have to take the final course/exam or write a thesis. Hurray!

So I began my paperwork to get my 9.01 GPA approved to be able to get my official degree. Most students in Mexico take about 1.5 years to get all this paperwork done and approved. Due to several immigration paperwork issues (nothing bad, just incredibly annoying), my degree paperwork took about 3 years to complete.

Last night, I was finally able to attend the ceremony for my “Toma de Protesta”, which is when university graduates take an oath promising to uphold the university’s values and ethics when working in their chosen profession. It also means I am now officially a “licenciada”, a fancy title given to people who have completed their 4-year degree in Mexico.

Here's me (in black) shaking hands with all the university coordinators... again.

Me with my college friends Jhovana and Juan (sorry about the redeye)

I was also under the impression that at this ceremony, I would be given my degree and my “cedula profesional”, an official document to show potential employers that I have completed my degree… although I’m not sure why it’s necessary because every single person I graduated with was able to get a good job in the tourism field before receiving their cedula profesional.

However, I found out last night that I have only put in the paperwork for my degree and cedula profesional… I won’t actually receive them for another 6 – 8 months. No word yet as to whether there’s a 3rd hand-shaking ceremony in my future.

As much as I love the frequent visits to my university, I really just want this to be over with. I’ve jumped through enough hoops.

Come on, Mexico. What gives?