UNAM and Mexico’s University City

unam

The Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, or UNAM, is Latin America’s largest university and its main campus is located right here in Mexico City.  Recently ranked number one in Latin America and among the top 100 universities and higher education institutions in the world, UNAM is a public university and the source of much national pride.  Upholding the ideal of equal opportunity education for all, admittance to UNAM is earned through testing not the ability to pay or repay tuition costs.  Once admitted tuition is free as are most of the university services. 

This is the university Carlos’ sister Maria attends and her costs per semester total the equivalent of less than one dollar in administration fees.  UNAM has over 260,000 students and getting accepted is no easy task.  It took Maria a couple of years and many failed attempts before finally passing the entrance exams.  It is not uncommon for people who can afford to attend a school within the private sector to first attempt to earn admission to UNAM because of its prestige and quality of education.  However, for many others the private, tuition based universities in Mexico simply aren’t an option and the public system provides everyone an equal chance at a quality education.

The university itself is a showcase of modern architectural achievements.  Originally founded in 1553, most of the modern campus was built between 1949 and 1952 and modeled after Spain’s University of Salamanca.  The most impressive is the building that houses the university library.  Covered entirely with mosaics depicting scenes from Aztec culture, colonial times, the creation of modern Mexico and Latin American culture, the Biblioteca Central is one of the most well known landmarks on the UNAM campus.  Other impressive structures include La Rectoria with a three dimensional mural halfway us the side of its south wall, the Facultad de Medicina building and the Estadio Olimpico, both showcasing impressive murals by Francisco Eppens and Diego Rivera.

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