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Field Research, UC Center Mexico City - Fall


This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.

Remember to also visit the Participants section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.

 

"​Being able to study and do field research in Mexico adds depth to my minor and major. I’ve learned to effectively communicate with the Latino community, particularly on topics related to my research. EAP opened the door to more career paths than I could have imagined."
-Kim Lo, UCLA
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Your UCEAP Network
 
 
 
 
Academic Information
Program Overview
On the Field Research Program, you devote the semester to a research experience that will distinguish you from most other undergraduate students, whether you list it on your résumé, show the final paper to professors at UC, or use it as a head start on graduate work.
 
During the first five weeks in Mexico City, you will spend a lot of time with the other students, writing and revising the proposal for your project, learning advanced techniques of field research, and becoming familiar with local libraries, archives, and other research centers. These activities are part of the Field Research Methodology class. In addition, the Contemporary Mexico class provides familiarity with major themes in Mexican history and scholarship, and you will also have an intense review of Spanish language. The Contemporary Mexico and Spanish language classes will also include other UC students who will continue their studies at the National Autonomous University of Mexico during the regular term.
 
The intensity of this period is punctuated by roundtable discussions that are held with Mexican scholars, one of whom will be the mentor who will supervise your research. The participating mentors will meet with you as a group to offer advance guidance on your proposal and help you decide which research site is appropriate for the project under discussion. By the end of this intense introductory section, you will be prepared to carry out a successful investigation.
 
The remainder of the semester is dedicated to individual field research at one of a number of sites throughout the country (listed in the Research Sites and Mentors section of this chapter). You are required to meet with your mentor at least once a week. The mentors are available to provide any academic advice you may need and help monitor your progress during the period you conduct your research.
 
At the end of the program, you present the results of your research in a substantial written paper that is the basis for your grade. You also conduct a presentation for your fellow program participants, instructors, and the Visiting Professor in Mexico City.
 
Field research may be conducted only at the established sites or the surrounding countryside under the supervision of the site mentor. Each mentor has specific areas of expertise; however, some flexibility exists if you wish to work in a subject other than what is noted in this guide; contact the UCEAP Systemwide Office to determine whether the proposed area can be accommodated.
 
Academic Culture
The academic culture of field research is exciting but demanding. The more thought you give to your topic before you leave California, the more productive and exciting these first weeks of the program will be. UCEAP recommends that you discuss your topic with a faculty member in your major department to help narrow your research focus and consider the ways in which your project will fit into your overall academic career.
 
Your research topic will only be finalized after you have had a chance to meet with the mentors.
See examples of past research projects by FRP students on the UCEAP website.
Once you arrive at your research site, you enter into the academic culture of professional scholars. Although you meet weekly with the mentor at your site, you are largely responsible for organizing your own time. Good fieldwork requires self-discipline and an organized, systematic approach. Do not expect to travel away from the research site for periods of more than a few days during this fieldwork period. Extended or frequent absence from the research site will inevitably have a negative impact on your work and ability to engage thoroughly with information, materials, and your mentor.
 
Course Information
You are required to take a full-time course of study while abroad. All students take four courses to meet the required 22.5 UC upper-division quarter units for the semester:
 
1) Spanish language course (4 units)
2) Contemporary Mexico course, cross listed under History and Political Science (4.5 units)
3) Field Research Methods course in the subject area of your research (5 units)
4) Special Studies Research course in the subject area of your research (9 units)
 
Part of the final grade for the 9-unit research portion of this program is the evaluation your mentor forwards to the Visiting Professor. The evaluation includes the mentor’s assessment of your commitment and approach to research work, as well as the mentor-student academic relationship. Too much travel away from the research site will have a negative impact on this part of your grade.
 
You are responsible for giving your mentor a copy of the final paper before leaving the field site so that he or she can prepare a narrative evaluation for submission to the Visiting Professor, who is the UC instructor of record.
 
You also submit a copy of the written project directly to the Visiting Professor when you return to Mexico City at the end of the program and share your research results with the other FRP participants.
 

Internships

In rare cases, it is possible to do an unpaid internship in lieu of fieldwork to conduct your independent research. If interested, you must petition to apply for an internship at the beginning of the program; the Visiting Professor and staff will determine whether it is possible. As with fieldwork, participation in an internship requires that you present a substantial paper at the conclusion of the program to earn 9 UC quarter units for the internship course.
 

Graduate Coursework

Graduate students are welcome in the Field Research Program; the program is particularly well suited to MA candidates. If you have very specific research plans, state them clearly in the Graduate Preliminary Inquiry Form to ensure that your needs can be accommodated. In general, the extensive intellectual resources of the program are valuable to any graduate student with serious research interests in Mexico. Previous graduate participants have reported excellent results.
 

Grades

For general information about grades, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
 
Research Sites & Mentors
UCEAP closely monitors the security situation in Mexico. Due to recent safety concerns, certain field sites have been suspended. Be aware of the UCEAP Travel Warning. Be mature and flexible when considering your research site. Also remember to avoid travel in any of the areas listed by the Travel Warning. Students found traveling in any of these areas are subject to immediate dismissal from the program.
 
Mexico City (Distrito Federal)
Marina Alonso Bolaños, Universidad Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM)
The nation’s capital provides innumerable opportunities to conduct research in fields as diverse as art restoration, elementary and secondary education, contemporary music, or public policy.
 
Mérida (Yucatán)
Juan José Jiménez, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán
Mérida is the largest city in the Yucatán peninsula and provides opportunities to examine Mayan culture and history along with the cultural changes brought on by the region’s economic development. Mérida is also a good site for research in the environmental sciences and ecology. Professor Jiménez, representing anthropology and archaeology, works in the areas of natural resource conservation and advises for such fields as sustainable development, public health, and maquiladoras.
 
Oaxaca (Oaxaca)
Patricia Mena, Universidad Pedagógica de Oaxaca
As the capital of this southern state with large concentrations of indigenous peoples, Oaxaca offers opportunities to study native cultural traditions and history from an anthropological perspective. Professor Mena, an expert in sociolinguistics and bilingual education, also supervises research on questions of gender, education, migration, and ethnicity.
 
Querétaro (Querétaro)
José Enrique Brito, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro
Located 2.5 hours from Mexico City in the famous Bajío region, Querétaro is close to the historic cities of San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato. This is an excellent site to study colonial architecture, community studies, and Spanish-language literature.
 
San Cristóbal de las Casas (Chiapas) Gracia Imberton, Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas
Located in the mountains in the heart of Chiapas, San Cristóbal de las Casas is the gateway to the state’s Indian communities. A beautiful city rich in history, San Cristóbal is an ideal research location for students interested in traditional medicine and public health among indigenous women. Professor Imberton is an anthropologist at the Instituto de Estudios Indígenas whose research has focused on public health issues among the Ch’ol Maya of northern Chiapas. She has also coordinated the mentoring of research projects on regional politics and political identities, environmental issues, and migration.
 
Extending UCEAP Participation
 
UCEAP programs in Mexico offer unusually rich opportunities for combining different program experiences. In this program, you can extend participation to the spring term at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
 

Extension Process

You must meet UNAM selection requirements, including 3.0 cumulative and language GPAs, prior to departure and adhere to the extension process as follows:
  • Before departure, indicate your intent to extend your studies in Mexico on a completed Departmental and College Preliminary Approval to Extend (DPA) form.
     
  • Submit the DPA form with your UCEAP application.
     
  • Once abroad, you must meet with the Visiting Professor and submit a Request for Final Approval to Extend (RFA) form. The deadline to submit an RFA is November 1.
     
  • Requests for extensions are considered when there is space at the host university and the request is supported by the Visiting Professor, UCEAP, your UC campus department head, and your UC dean or provost.
     
  • Once your extension has been approved, UCEAP will notify your home campus registrar, Financial Aid Office, and Campus EAP Office. For information about the steps you need to take in regards to finances, see the Extension of Participation chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
 
If your extension is approved, you will be expected to complete the academic year in Mexico. A request to shorten the stay will be treated as a withdrawal from UCEAP, with possible financial penalties.
 
 
Cultural Awareness
​Educate Yourself
Get acquainted with your new host city, country, and culture before you leave California. The Inside Mexico website provides information regarding current events, arts and culture, and other practical information for English-speakers traveling or living in Mexico. Travel guides and travel-related websites, such as Lonely Planet, are also helpful resources.
 
While preparing for FRP, do some background reading in the field in which you will be doing your research. Get suggestions from faculty or TAs in your major department about widely recognized sources for the research questions you are planning to investigate.
 
Keep up with current events by reading articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals. Before departure, review these sources to prepare for the program and gain insight on the local culture and history.
 
Recommended News Sources
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
 
​You will attend a required orientation administered through the UCEAP Study Center. During orientation, you will participate in lectures and activities designed to help you acclimate to Mexico City and the country as a whole, and become familiar with the Study Center. The Study Center organizes a number of excursions and activities, including weekend day trips to such locations as Cacaxtla, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Teotihuacán, Puebla-Tonantzintla, or Xochicalco.
 
You will meet the Study Center staff on arrival day. During a group dinner that evening, the staff will provide you with a welcome package that includes metro, city, and campus maps; a schedule for the semester; phone cards; and emergency phone numbers.
 
In addition, the Study Center staff will review all practical components of the program, including the program calendar, academics, housing, student services, computer access, money and banking, phones, mail, public transportation, health, safety, emergencies, information on selecting a site mentor, research topics and papers, and final presentations.
 
Travel Planning
Travel to Your Host Country
Even if on full financial aid, you are responsible for reserving and purchasing your airline ticket. Your Financial Aid Office will not do this for you, and UCEAP does not arrange group flights to Mexico City.
When traveling, always carry your passport, ticket, prescription medications, and money. Never put valuables in checked luggage. In addition, do not ask others to carry any items abroad for you (laptop, camera, extra bags, etc.) and do not volunteer to do so for others. Airlines will not allow you to take them and customs abroad may charge you a high duty. This is a concern particularly with electronic goods.
 
You must arrive in Mexico City by the Official UCEAP Start Date. The official date/time and meeting place is provided on the Arrival Instructions Sheet in the Predeparture Checklist—print this and take it with you. The program calendar is also frequently updated on the UCEAP website. You are strongly urged to purchase a changeable airline ticket. Standby tickets are not appropriate. Flights are routinely changed or canceled. Confirm your flight schedule before your departure date.
 
If you fail to appear on the Official UCEAP Start Date, you may be subject to dismissal from the program (see Student Agreement). If you arrive early, you are responsible for finding your own lodging until the program starts.
 
Although late arrivals are generally unacceptable, certain unusual cases may warrant an exception. Late arrivals must obtain advance approval from UCEAP. Contact the Operations Specialist at UCEAP well in advance of the Official UCEAP Start Date.
 
Update MyEAP with any changes to your address, phone number, and e-mail in order to be kept informed of program changes. Predeparture updates will most likely be sent via e-mail.
 
Travel Documents
Non-U.S. Citizens
If you are not a citizen of the U.S., contact the appropriate Mexican consulate immediately upon your acceptance into UCEAP to determine your specific visa/ entry requirements. Depending on your country of citizenship, requirements may differ and the process may take longer than it does for U.S. citizens.
 
Mexican Citizens and Dual Citizens If you are a citizen of Mexico, or a dual citizen of Mexico and the U.S., you will not need to apply for a student visa. Make sure that your Mexican documents are updated prior to arriving in Mexico City.
 
U.S. Citizens
Obtain a passport immediately (if you do not have one already) or ensure that your current passport will be valid for one year past the duration of your stay.
 
U.S. citizens only need a Tourist Card (FMT) when engaging in language study in Mexico for less than six months.
 
If you think you will extend from one semester to the year, you will need to leave the country at the end of the Fall semester and reenter for the Spring semester.
 

Tourist Card

 
IMPORTANT: If you enter Mexico on a tourist card, you may be asked the purpose of your visit. If that happens, say you are visiting Mexico to study Spanish and travel. It is important that you say you are doing language study, as other types of study require a student visa.
 
Tourist cards (also known as FMTs in Mexico) are issued at the port of entry (usually at the airport or on the flight to Mexico) or can be obtained in advance at the Mexican consulate nearest your present address.
 
Tourist cards are granted for 60, 90, or 180 days. Request a 180-day card. Be aware that if your port of entry is other than Mexico City, you may not be able to obtain the full 180-day card.
 
Do not lose your Tourist card. You will be asked to present it at Immigrations (INM) upon leaving Mexico. If you have lost it, you may be subject to replacement fees, and you may need to file a report with INM in order to document that it has been lost/stolen.
 Refer to your UCEAP Predeparture Checklist for more information about Tourist Cards and Mexico Entry Requirement.
Packing Tips

Return Travel
Financial Information
Understanding Your Finances
​​
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
​​
 
 
Handling Money Abroad

Contact Your Bank before Departure

Many banks and credit cards offer online services that will allow you to check account balances and pay bills quickly while abroad. Check with your bank and credit card providers before departure to make any necessary arrangements. Also, find out how to contact your bank and credit card companies from abroad.
 
Some U.S. banks issuing credit cards or ATM cards do not have agreements with Mexican banks. Inquire with your U.S. bank before departure. Before you use your ATM or credit card in a Mexican ATM, ask the cashier if the bank will accept it. If the bank does not accept that type of card, the ATM will keep the card.
 

Expenses Upon Arrival

Arrive in Mexico with access to a minimum of 7,000 pesos to cover room, board, and incidental expenses for the first month. Access does not mean carrying 7,000 pesos cash with you to Mexico—this is discouraged for security reasons. Having access to this amount of money means having the ability to withdraw funds once you are in Mexico, since you will need to pay your rent in cash within the first few days. You will have to pay rent directly to the landlord in your home or apartment arrangement. Credit cards, travelers checks, and debit cards cannot be used for rent payments. Additional expenses include daily transportation, laundry, books and school supplies, computer usage, and personal items.
 
 

ATMs and Debit Cards

Using an ATM card is by far the easiest way to access your money abroad, and the exchange rate is the most favorable. You can withdraw funds directly from your U.S. account from an ATM in Mexico. ATMs are widely available in Mexico (although they do not always function) and you will receive cash in local currency (pesos).
 
Obtain an international ATM card from your U.S. bank for use in Mexico. Take two ATM cards with you in case one gets lost or stolen. The ATM card must be international and it must have a four-digit PIN in order to work in Mexico.
 
Cirrus, Star, or Plus systems can be used in Mexico. There may be a transaction fee involved (inquire with your home bank before departure). ATMs in Mexico frequently require persistence. Having a backup source of funds is strongly advised (e.g., credit card) in case a functioning ATM cannot be located.
 

Cash

Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
UCEAP participants note that having some cash in U.S. currency is convenient for exchanging smaller amounts, and it comes in handy for tips, airport purchases, and airport transfers. Take caution, however, as cash is not a secure way to transport funds.
 
 
 
Communications Abroad
Internet Access
The Study Center in Mexico City has four computers with Internet access, which are available for exclusive use by UCEAP students. There is also a printer available for academic papers.
 
Many students also utilize Internet cafés (which are common in Mexico City) to access the Internet, check e-mail, and write and print papers. The cost is about 10 to 25 pesos an hour. Expect Internet cafés to be your only computer access while at your research site. Service at Internet cafés in remote sites will likely be slow.
 
Phones
 
Mail & Shipments
 
Housing & Meals
Housing

Mexico City Housing

During the initial portion of the program, housing is arranged by UCEAP in private homes or apartments located throughout Mexico City. The UCEAP Systemwide Office will ask you to complete a housing questionnaire indicating your preference. Every effort will be made to provide you with your first housing choice, but this is not always possible. In general, the accommodations are about a 5–10 minute walk or a 20–25 minute bus ride from campus. Most students take the microbus for 2.50 pesos, and some take the metro for 3 pesos.
 
If the Study Center arranges your housing, you can expect to be provided with all bed linens and pillows, but not towels (these are considered personal items). You can bring towels and all other personal items from home or purchase them once you are in Mexico.
 
You can also make your own housing arrangements. However, finding housing in Mexico City for only a short period of time can be difficult. UCEAP recommends that you secure a place to stay before you go abroad. If you make your own arrangements, you must note this in the UCEAP housing questionnaire and include your address abroad. If you plan on living with a relative or friend in Mexico City, make sure you know which part of the city they live in, as commutes from some parts of the city to campus can take several hours.
 

Housing in the Field

Following the Mexico City portion of the program, you will travel to your chosen research site and arrange your own housing. Study Center staff will give you tips on how to do this and site mentors provide assistance; mentors often provide apartment suggestions. Prices for housing at most research sites will be similar to or less expensive than those in Mexico City. You will pay rent directly to the landlord during both portions of the program. In the past some students have worked out very affordable arrangements with the host families; for instance, purchasing food for the family in exchange for rent. In these cases, the families have been chosen and recommended by the site mentor.​
 
Meals
 
Daily Life Abroad
Local Transportation

Travel within Mexico

If you plan to travel to a research site other than Mexico City, consider the transportation costs to the location.
 

Public Transportation

See the Safety chapter of this guide for further safety precautions related to public transportation.
Public transportation generally is adequate to meet student needs, both within Mexico City and in the country at large. Mexico City has an excellent subway system (metro), with eight or nine lines traversing the city. It costs about three pesos to travel throughout the city on the subway system. The municipal transit system also includes an extensive bus and streetcar service, which connects to the subway. There is also a widespread system of inexpensive colectivos and peseros, which are taxi-vans that run along fixed routes. Fares are low by U.S. standards. Bus and subway service is suspended just after midnight. You are advised to call sitio taxis for transportation at night.
 
Taxis
The U.S. embassy in Mexico strongly urges U.S. citizens arriving at the international airport in Mexico City to take only “airport” taxis, which are white with a yellow band, after purchasing a ticket in the airport arrival hall. You should always call for a sitio taxi in Mexico City rather than taking a free-ranging green Volkswagen taxi. Sitio taxis are operated centrally and connected via radio by Servi-Taxis. Tourist taxis are available from larger hotels, but these are expensive.
 
Cars
Do not take a car to Mexico. Permits to operate cars are difficult to obtain, insurance is expensive, and parking and security are serious problems. Renting automobiles in Mexico is also expensive, and you may do so only if you are over 25 and have an internationally recognized credit card. Again, security is a concern. With all the other means of transportation available, driving in Mexico is not advised.
 
Buses
Buses are the most common form of intercity transportation and service is excellent throughout Mexico. Most major lines offer a new first-class service (Plus Service) that is comfortable and reliable. ETN is a reliable service provider with low rates for first-class routes. Routes extend to some of the smallest communities in the most remote places, and fares are relatively low. Purchase tickets online at the Ticket Bus website.
 
Planes
Air travel is reliable within Mexico, with modern equipment on most routes. Fares are cheaper than in California, but considerably higher than either bus or train fare.
 
Trains
Train travel is not recommended. Fares are low, but equipment is out of date and sometimes in poor repair. When traveling by train, allow for delays since schedules are seldom met.
 

Travel to Your Research Site

You are responsible for travel expenses associated with arriving at your selected field site. Many students travel by bus (see Buses section in this chapter) from Mexico City to other cities in Mexico. In some cases, bus trips may be so long that flying is a more secure and preferable option. Do not purchase your tickets to the research site until you have arrived in Mexico City and your project has been approved. The Study Center will provide you with more information about travel within Mexico.
Extracurricular Activities
Participating in extracurricular cultural and social activities while on UCEAP is an excellent way to meet people, improve your language skills, and integrate more fully into the Mexican community.
 

In Mexico City:

During the time that you are in Mexico City (D.F.), you will discover a wealth of cultural activity with its many museums, theaters, parks, monuments, and frequent special events. As one of the largest cosmopolitan cities in the world, D.F. will offer you a variety of modern experiences typical of any large urban center, in contrast with elements that are distinctly traditional. Many students find the blend of old and new worlds to be particularly interesting. Among other things, Mexico City is a center for international and national cinematography.
 
The following websites provide information on many cultural and current events in the Mexico City area:
 

In the Field:

At your research site, which will likely be less urban, there will be even more ways to immerse yourself in the culture. Spending time in rural areas and smaller towns will offer you a glimpse of a different Mexico. Many of your research projects will bring you into close relations with the community in which you will be living and working, and your involvement in volunteer activities may well expand. You may enjoy some of the many cultural festivals and events such as El Día de Los Muertos, the Feast Day of Guadalupe, or others more specific to the region. Your mentor/professor and others will be able to guide you toward the sorts of music- or sports-related activities that may interest you.
 
Information about travel, including youth hostels, can be obtained from travel guides and from popular travel-related websites.
 
The UCEAP Student Budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad
Students with Disabilities
Travel Sign-out Form
 
Insurance
UCEAP Insurance
 
Staying Healthy
Local Medical Facilities
 
If you have any preexisting health issues, carry a signed, dated letter from your primary physician describing all medical conditions, treatment, and prescribed medications, including generic names.
 
If you are placed outside of Mexico City during your research portion of the program, contact your FRP mentor for advice regarding medical services. The mentors can refer you to local doctors and hospitals. Depending on the situation, the Study Center Director will travel to the research site to assist. Cash is especially important to have on hand for medical emergencies outside of Mexico City, as medical facilities in smaller communities may not accept credit cards. You can always contact the UCEAP assistance provider, Europ Assistance/USA (EA/USA) for help.  See contact information above.  Make sure you carry a copy of your UCEAP insurance card with important contact information.
 
Physical Health

 

Prescription Medication
 
Mental Health
 
Health Risks
Staying Safe

Travel Registration and UCEAP Travel Warning

You are required to register online through the U.S. Department of State. Families and some students may feel that it is safer in the U.S. than in Mexico. This perception is not because the U.S. is more secure but because students may be more aware of their surroundings, more competent in quickly identifying risks and mitigating threats, and more knowledgeable about local resources and steps to take if there is a problem. Prepare for the program environment and listen to all information issued by UCEAP in California and in Mexico.

 
There is a UCEAP Travel Warning in place that restricts travel to specific regions in Mexico. Students found in violation of this prohibition will be dismissed.
 
UCEAP Travel Warning
UCEAP has issued a Travel Warning restricting student travel. Until further notice, students are prohibited from visiting or conducting research in several locations, due to the rise in drug-related violent crime.
 
Read the Travel Warning and inform yourself about the locations that you must avoid. Comply with this heightened state of alert, observe all safety measures implemented by the Study Center, and register all trips with the U.S. Department of State and with the University of California.
 
The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City posts additional information about local safety and health issues for U.S. citizens on its website. All UCEAP Study Center Directors are members of the U.S. embassy’s Warden’s Network.

 

Minimize Risk
 
Crime & Prevention

Drugs & Alcohol

The trial process in Mexico is different from that in the United States, and procedures may vary from state to state. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Mexican laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
 
The use of drugs is strictly forbidden by law. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Mexico are strict and severe, and convicted offenders can expect large fines and jail sentences of up to 25 years.
 
UCEAP will take disciplinary action for alcohol abuse or the use of illicit drugs. Never feel pressured to drink. Evidence shows that people who have been drinking are at greater risk of being the victim (and perpetrator) of attacks, robberies, muggings and sexual assaults. In a significant proportion of rape and sexual assault case—in some studies up to 81%—the victim was drinking before the assault. Alcohol can, and frequently does, cause a person to lose all common sense when it comes to their own safety. Avoid alcohol if you are on medication; some medications can intensify alcohol’s effect or cause other unpredictable reactions.
 
How can alcohol affect your personal safety?
Alcohol and drugs can impair judgment and increase safety risks. Alcohol is a mind-altering drug that affects physical coordination and decision-making abilities.
  • Some people are more vulnerable than others to the immediate effects of alcohol due to factors such as body size, gender, genetics, and when they last ate.
  • Too much alcohol makes you more prone to accidents.
     
  • The more drinks you have the greater the effect—this is true regardless of your age, gender or size.
     
  • Alcohol can help to reduce sexual inhibitions— although this can seem like a good thing, in the wrong situation it can have disastrous results.
     
  • Never walk home alone at night, especially if your judgment is impaired by alcohol. Go out in groups.

UCEAP will start disciplinary action for alcohol abuse and misuse.

Express Kidnapping

Express kidnapping differs from conventional kidnapping in that the criminals do not intend to hold the victim until a large ransom can be paid; rather, they coerce victims into giving up personal identification numbers (PINs) or pass-codes to their debit and credit card accounts in order to extract as much money from the victims’ accounts as they can in a short amount of time. While conventional kidnapping victims can remain hostage for weeks, express kidnappings typically last only hours or days. This type of kidnapping is becoming especially common in major cities of Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela.
 
Criminals are less discriminate in targeting victims for express kidnappings than they are for conventional kidnappings. There is no need to target an individual of great personal wealth; anyone with a decent-sized checking or savings account will do. Victims are generally targeted at random, and abductions can occur almost anywhere. Express kidnappings are less complicated than conventional kidnappings, which require safe houses, someone to stand guard, food supplies to last weeks, and a methodical negotiation strategy. Similarly, express kidnappers may be less sophisticated and more prone to panic and mistakes.
 
Vulnerable Situations for Express Kidnapping:
  • Withdrawing cash from a street ATM (as opposed to an ATM in the lobby of a hotel, or inside of a bank).
  •  
  • Hailing an unofficial or illegitimate taxi from the street.
 
To Reduce the Likelihood of Becoming A Victim:
  • Withdraw cash from ATMs located in a hotel, bank, mall, or otherwise secure location.
  •  
  • Only withdraw cash during the day and when there are other people in the area.
  •  
  • Do not withdraw cash after consuming alcohol; inebriation tends to lower one’s ability to accurately assess the security of a situation.
  •  
  • Only use taxis affiliated with, or arranged by, reputable companies or hotels.
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  • Travel with a debit card that is linked to an account with limited funds; this is likely to reduce the time a victim is held hostage, since the account will more rapidly reach a zero balance.
  •  
  • Do not travel with multiple exclusive credit cards. If feasible, leave all such cards at home.
  •  
  • If confronted, relinquish valuables at once; hesitation could cause the attacker to panic and lash out violently.
 

Phone Extortion (or Virtual Kidnapping)

Similar to express kidnapping, and also increasingly common, is a crime referred to as “phone extortion.” In these crimes, criminals call a victim and claim to have kidnapped a family member. Then they attempt to secure a quick, and generally small, ransom payment. In a typical scenario, criminals know in advance that a certain family member is away and out of immediate contact, perhaps in a movie theater or on a flight. This way, the person they call cannot quickly verify if the person in question has actually been kidnapped. Callers may also try to obtain information about a person’s relatives or associates in order to extort them as well.
 
In phone extortion, the caller is likely to press the victim to give over financial data such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or the caller may order the individual to wire funds into a stated account. Professional kidnappers, if they have a victim, typically understand that they will have to negotiate with a lawyer, law enforcement official, or professional K&R (kidnap & ransom) specialist. They will typically ask for exorbitant amounts, knowing that they will have to settle for a smaller negotiated amount. Phone extortionists will typically ask for $1,500 to $10,000 dollars.
 
Handling Phone Extortion
 
  • Designate a secret code ahead of time; a code that you and your family would be the only ones to know. If you get a call, ask to speak to the family member who has been kidnapped—this can establish the reality of the claim. If the caller will not allow this, ask the caller for the code. If this is a real kidnapping case, the criminal will be able to produce the code.
  •  
  • Immediately call the security hotline to seek advice.
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  • Do not give financial information to the caller.
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  • Do not transfer funds to an account given to you by the caller.

Express Kidnapping

Express kidnapping differs from conventional kidnapping in that the criminals do not intend to hold the victim until a large ransom can be paid; rather, they coerce victims into giving up personal identification numbers (PINs) or pass-codes to their debit and credit card accounts in order to extract as much money from the victims’ accounts as they can in a short amount of time. While conventional kidnapping victims can remain hostage for weeks, express kidnappings typically last only hours or days. This type of kidnapping is becoming especially common in major cities of Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela.
 
Criminals are less discriminate in targeting victims for express kidnappings than they are for conventional kidnappings. There is no need to target an individual of great personal wealth; anyone with a decent-sized checking or savings account will do. Victims are generally targeted at random, and abductions can occur almost anywhere. Express kidnappings are less complicated than conventional kidnappings, which require safe houses, someone to stand guard, food supplies to last weeks, and a methodical negotiation strategy. Similarly, express kidnappers may be less sophisticated and more prone to panic and mistakes.
 
Vulnerable Situations for Express Kidnapping:
  • Withdrawing cash from a street ATM (as opposed to an ATM in the lobby of a hotel, or inside of a bank).
  •  
  • Hailing an unofficial or illegitimate taxi from the street.
 
To Reduce the Likelihood of Becoming A Victim:
  • Withdraw cash from ATMs located in a hotel, bank, mall, or otherwise secure location.
  •  
  • Only withdraw cash during the day and when there are other people in the area.
  •  
  • Do not withdraw cash after consuming alcohol; inebriation tends to lower one’s ability to accurately assess the security of a situation.
  •  
  • Only use taxis affiliated with, or arranged by, reputable companies or hotels.
  •  
  • Travel with a debit card that is linked to an account with limited funds; this is likely to reduce the time a victim is held hostage, since the account will more rapidly reach a zero balance.
  •  
  • Do not travel with multiple exclusive credit cards. If feasible, leave all such cards at home.
  •  
  • If confronted, relinquish valuables at once; hesitation could cause the attacker to panic and lash out violently.
 

Phone Extortion (or Virtual Kidnapping)

Similar to express kidnapping, and also increasingly common, is a crime referred to as “phone extortion.” In these crimes, criminals call a victim and claim to have kidnapped a family member. Then they attempt to secure a quick, and generally small, ransom payment. In a typical scenario, criminals know in advance that a certain family member is away and out of immediate contact, perhaps in a movie theater or on a flight. This way, the person they call cannot quickly verify if the person in question has actually been kidnapped. Callers may also try to obtain information about a person’s relatives or associates in order to extort them as well.
 
In phone extortion, the caller is likely to press the victim to give over financial data such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or the caller may order the individual to wire funds into a stated account. Professional kidnappers, if they have a victim, typically understand that they will have to negotiate with a lawyer, law enforcement official, or professional K&R (kidnap & ransom) specialist. They will typically ask for exorbitant amounts, knowing that they will have to settle for a smaller negotiated amount. Phone extortionists will typically ask for $1,500 to $10,000 dollars.
 
Handling Phone Extortion
 
  • Designate a secret code ahead of time; a code that you and your family would be the only ones to know. If you get a call, ask to speak to the family member who has been kidnapped—this can establish the reality of the claim. If the caller will not allow this, ask the caller for the code. If this is a real kidnapping case, the criminal will be able to produce the code.
  •  
  • Immediately call the security hotline to seek advice.
  •  
  • Do not give financial information to the caller.
  •  
  • Do not transfer funds to an account given to you by the caller.

Express Kidnapping

Express kidnapping differs from conventional kidnapping in that the criminals do not intend to hold the victim until a large ransom can be paid; rather, they coerce victims into giving up personal identification numbers (PINs) or pass-codes to their debit and credit card accounts in order to extract as much money from the victims’ accounts as they can in a short amount of time. While conventional kidnapping victims can remain hostage for weeks, express kidnappings typically last only hours or days. This type of kidnapping is becoming especially common in major cities of Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela.
 
Criminals are less discriminate in targeting victims for express kidnappings than they are for conventional kidnappings. There is no need to target an individual of great personal wealth; anyone with a decent-sized checking or savings account will do. Victims are generally targeted at random, and abductions can occur almost anywhere. Express kidnappings are less complicated than conventional kidnappings, which require safe houses, someone to stand guard, food supplies to last weeks, and a methodical negotiation strategy. Similarly, express kidnappers may be less sophisticated and more prone to panic and mistakes.
 
Vulnerable Situations for Express Kidnapping:
  • Withdrawing cash from a street ATM (as opposed to an ATM in the lobby of a hotel, or inside of a bank).
  •  
  • Hailing an unofficial or illegitimate taxi from the street.
 
To Reduce the Likelihood of Becoming A Victim:
  • Withdraw cash from ATMs located in a hotel, bank, mall, or otherwise secure location.
  •  
  • Only withdraw cash during the day and when there are other people in the area.
  •  
  • Do not withdraw cash after consuming alcohol; inebriation tends to lower one’s ability to accurately assess the security of a situation.
  •  
  • Only use taxis affiliated with, or arranged by, reputable companies or hotels.
  •  
  • Travel with a debit card that is linked to an account with limited funds; this is likely to reduce the time a victim is held hostage, since the account will more rapidly reach a zero balance.
  •  
  • Do not travel with multiple exclusive credit cards. If feasible, leave all such cards at home.
  •  
  • If confronted, relinquish valuables at once; hesitation could cause the attacker to panic and lash out violently.
 

Phone Extortion (or Virtual Kidnapping)

Similar to express kidnapping, and also increasingly common, is a crime referred to as “phone extortion.” In these crimes, criminals call a victim and claim to have kidnapped a family member. Then they attempt to secure a quick, and generally small, ransom payment. In a typical scenario, criminals know in advance that a certain family member is away and out of immediate contact, perhaps in a movie theater or on a flight. This way, the person they call cannot quickly verify if the person in question has actually been kidnapped. Callers may also try to obtain information about a person’s relatives or associates in order to extort them as well.
 
In phone extortion, the caller is likely to press the victim to give over financial data such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or the caller may order the individual to wire funds into a stated account. Professional kidnappers, if they have a victim, typically understand that they will have to negotiate with a lawyer, law enforcement official, or professional K&R (kidnap & ransom) specialist. They will typically ask for exorbitant amounts, knowing that they will have to settle for a smaller negotiated amount. Phone extortionists will typically ask for $1,500 to $10,000 dollars.
 
Handling Phone Extortion
 
  • Designate a secret code ahead of time; a code that you and your family would be the only ones to know. If you get a call, ask to speak to the family member who has been kidnapped—this can establish the reality of the claim. If the caller will not allow this, ask the caller for the code. If this is a real kidnapping case, the criminal will be able to produce the code.
  •  
  • Immediately call the security hotline to seek advice.
  •  
  • Do not give financial information to the caller.
  •  
  • Do not transfer funds to an account given to you by the caller.

Express Kidnapping

Express kidnapping differs from conventional kidnapping in that the criminals do not intend to hold the victim until a large ransom can be paid; rather, they coerce victims into giving up personal identification numbers (PINs) or pass-codes to their debit and credit card accounts in order to extract as much money from the victims’ accounts as they can in a short amount of time. While conventional kidnapping victims can remain hostage for weeks, express kidnappings typically last only hours or days. This type of kidnapping is becoming especially common in major cities of Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela.
 
Criminals are less discriminate in targeting victims for express kidnappings than they are for conventional kidnappings. There is no need to target an individual of great personal wealth; anyone with a decent-sized checking or savings account will do. Victims are generally targeted at random, and abductions can occur almost anywhere. Express kidnappings are less complicated than conventional kidnappings, which require safe houses, someone to stand guard, food supplies to last weeks, and a methodical negotiation strategy. Similarly, express kidnappers may be less sophisticated and more prone to panic and mistakes.
 
Vulnerable Situations for Express Kidnapping:
  • Withdrawing cash from a street ATM (as opposed to an ATM in the lobby of a hotel, or inside of a bank).
  •  
  • Hailing an unofficial or illegitimate taxi from the street.
 
To Reduce the Likelihood of Becoming A Victim:
  • Withdraw cash from ATMs located in a hotel, bank, mall, or otherwise secure location.
  •  
  • Only withdraw cash during the day and when there are other people in the area.
  •  
  • Do not withdraw cash after consuming alcohol; inebriation tends to lower one’s ability to accurately assess the security of a situation.
  •  
  • Only use taxis affiliated with, or arranged by, reputable companies or hotels.
  •  
  • Travel with a debit card that is linked to an account with limited funds; this is likely to reduce the time a victim is held hostage, since the account will more rapidly reach a zero balance.
  •  
  • Do not travel with multiple exclusive credit cards. If feasible, leave all such cards at home.
  •  
  • If confronted, relinquish valuables at once; hesitation could cause the attacker to panic and lash out violently.
 

Phone Extortion (or Virtual Kidnapping)

Similar to express kidnapping, and also increasingly common, is a crime referred to as “phone extortion.” In these crimes, criminals call a victim and claim to have kidnapped a family member. Then they attempt to secure a quick, and generally small, ransom payment. In a typical scenario, criminals know in advance that a certain family member is away and out of immediate contact, perhaps in a movie theater or on a flight. This way, the person they call cannot quickly verify if the person in question has actually been kidnapped. Callers may also try to obtain information about a person’s relatives or associates in order to extort them as well.
 
In phone extortion, the caller is likely to press the victim to give over financial data such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or the caller may order the individual to wire funds into a stated account. Professional kidnappers, if they have a victim, typically understand that they will have to negotiate with a lawyer, law enforcement official, or professional K&R (kidnap & ransom) specialist. They will typically ask for exorbitant amounts, knowing that they will have to settle for a smaller negotiated amount. Phone extortionists will typically ask for $1,500 to $10,000 dollars.
 
Handling Phone Extortion
 
  • Designate a secret code ahead of time; a code that you and your family would be the only ones to know. If you get a call, ask to speak to the family member who has been kidnapped—this can establish the reality of the claim. If the caller will not allow this, ask the caller for the code. If this is a real kidnapping case, the criminal will be able to produce the code.
  •  
  • Immediately call the security hotline to seek advice.
  •  
  • Do not give financial information to the caller.
  •  
  • Do not transfer funds to an account given to you by the caller.

Express Kidnapping

Express kidnapping differs from conventional kidnapping in that the criminals do not intend to hold the victim until a large ransom can be paid; rather, they coerce victims into giving up personal identification numbers (PINs) or pass-codes to their debit and credit card accounts in order to extract as much money from the victims’ accounts as they can in a short amount of time. While conventional kidnapping victims can remain hostage for weeks, express kidnappings typically last only hours or days. This type of kidnapping is becoming especially common in major cities of Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela.
 
Criminals are less discriminate in targeting victims for express kidnappings than they are for conventional kidnappings. There is no need to target an individual of great personal wealth; anyone with a decent-sized checking or savings account will do. Victims are generally targeted at random, and abductions can occur almost anywhere. Express kidnappings are less complicated than conventional kidnappings, which require safe houses, someone to stand guard, food supplies to last weeks, and a methodical negotiation strategy. Similarly, express kidnappers may be less sophisticated and more prone to panic and mistakes.
 
Vulnerable Situations for Express Kidnapping:
  • Withdrawing cash from a street ATM (as opposed to an ATM in the lobby of a hotel, or inside of a bank).
  •  
  • Hailing an unofficial or illegitimate taxi from the street.
 
To Reduce the Likelihood of Becoming A Victim:
  • Withdraw cash from ATMs located in a hotel, bank, mall, or otherwise secure location.
  •  
  • Only withdraw cash during the day and when there are other people in the area.
  •  
  • Do not withdraw cash after consuming alcohol; inebriation tends to lower one’s ability to accurately assess the security of a situation.
  •  
  • Only use taxis affiliated with, or arranged by, reputable companies or hotels.
  •  
  • Travel with a debit card that is linked to an account with limited funds; this is likely to reduce the time a victim is held hostage, since the account will more rapidly reach a zero balance.
  •  
  • Do not travel with multiple exclusive credit cards. If feasible, leave all such cards at home.
  •  
  • If confronted, relinquish valuables at once; hesitation could cause the attacker to panic and lash out violently.
 

Phone Extortion (or Virtual Kidnapping)

Similar to express kidnapping, and also increasingly common, is a crime referred to as “phone extortion.” In these crimes, criminals call a victim and claim to have kidnapped a family member. Then they attempt to secure a quick, and generally small, ransom payment. In a typical scenario, criminals know in advance that a certain family member is away and out of immediate contact, perhaps in a movie theater or on a flight. This way, the person they call cannot quickly verify if the person in question has actually been kidnapped. Callers may also try to obtain information about a person’s relatives or associates in order to extort them as well.
 
In phone extortion, the caller is likely to press the victim to give over financial data such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or the caller may order the individual to wire funds into a stated account. Professional kidnappers, if they have a victim, typically understand that they will have to negotiate with a lawyer, law enforcement official, or professional K&R (kidnap & ransom) specialist. They will typically ask for exorbitant amounts, knowing that they will have to settle for a smaller negotiated amount. Phone extortionists will typically ask for $1,500 to $10,000 dollars.
 
Handling Phone Extortion
 
  • Designate a secret code ahead of time; a code that you and your family would be the only ones to know. If you get a call, ask to speak to the family member who has been kidnapped—this can establish the reality of the claim. If the caller will not allow this, ask the caller for the code. If this is a real kidnapping case, the criminal will be able to produce the code.
  •  
  • Immediately call the security hotline to seek advice.
  •  
  • Do not give financial information to the caller.
  •  
  • Do not transfer funds to an account given to you by the caller.

Express Kidnapping

Express kidnapping differs from conventional kidnapping in that the criminals do not intend to hold the victim until a large ransom can be paid; rather, they coerce victims into giving up personal identification numbers (PINs) or pass-codes to their debit and credit card accounts in order to extract as much money from the victims’ accounts as they can in a short amount of time. While conventional kidnapping victims can remain hostage for weeks, express kidnappings typically last only hours or days. This type of kidnapping is becoming especially common in major cities of Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela.
 
Criminals are less discriminate in targeting victims for express kidnappings than they are for conventional kidnappings. There is no need to target an individual of great personal wealth; anyone with a decent-sized checking or savings account will do. Victims are generally targeted at random, and abductions can occur almost anywhere. Express kidnappings are less complicated than conventional kidnappings, which require safe houses, someone to stand guard, food supplies to last weeks, and a methodical negotiation strategy. Similarly, express kidnappers may be less sophisticated and more prone to panic and mistakes.
 
Vulnerable Situations for Express Kidnapping:
  • Withdrawing cash from a street ATM (as opposed to an ATM in the lobby of a hotel, or inside of a bank).
  •  
  • Hailing an unofficial or illegitimate taxi from the street.
 
To Reduce the Likelihood of Becoming A Victim:
  • Withdraw cash from ATMs located in a hotel, bank, mall, or otherwise secure location.
  •  
  • Only withdraw cash during the day and when there are other people in the area.
  •  
  • Do not withdraw cash after consuming alcohol; inebriation tends to lower one’s ability to accurately assess the security of a situation.
  •  
  • Only use taxis affiliated with, or arranged by, reputable companies or hotels.
  •  
  • Travel with a debit card that is linked to an account with limited funds; this is likely to reduce the time a victim is held hostage, since the account will more rapidly reach a zero balance.
  •  
  • Do not travel with multiple exclusive credit cards. If feasible, leave all such cards at home.
  •  
  • If confronted, relinquish valuables at once; hesitation could cause the attacker to panic and lash out violently.
 

Phone Extortion (or Virtual Kidnapping)

Similar to express kidnapping, and also increasingly common, is a crime referred to as “phone extortion.” In these crimes, criminals call a victim and claim to have kidnapped a family member. Then they attempt to secure a quick, and generally small, ransom payment. In a typical scenario, criminals know in advance that a certain family member is away and out of immediate contact, perhaps in a movie theater or on a flight. This way, the person they call cannot quickly verify if the person in question has actually been kidnapped. Callers may also try to obtain information about a person’s relatives or associates in order to extort them as well.
 
In phone extortion, the caller is likely to press the victim to give over financial data such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or the caller may order the individual to wire funds into a stated account. Professional kidnappers, if they have a victim, typically understand that they will have to negotiate with a lawyer, law enforcement official, or professional K&R (kidnap & ransom) specialist. They will typically ask for exorbitant amounts, knowing that they will have to settle for a smaller negotiated amount. Phone extortionists will typically ask for $1,500 to $10,000 dollars.
 
Handling Phone Extortion
 
  • Designate a secret code ahead of time; a code that you and your family would be the only ones to know. If you get a call, ask to speak to the family member who has been kidnapped—this can establish the reality of the claim. If the caller will not allow this, ask the caller for the code. If this is a real kidnapping case, the criminal will be able to produce the code.
  •  
  • Immediately call the security hotline to seek advice.
  •  
  • Do not give financial information to the caller.
  •  
  • Do not transfer funds to an account given to you by the caller.

 
Civil Unrest
 
The driving distance between Mexico City and the U.S.-Mexico border is 1,365 miles.
 
Traffic & Transportation Safety

Road & Transportation Safety

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.
 
Some roads can be poor in some areas of the country. Dangerous curves, reckless driving (ignoring speed limits, lane changes, and/or not stopping at red lights), poorly marked signs, slow-moving or abandoned vehicles, and other obstacles pose road hazards. Limit all road travel to daylight hours throughout the country. Availability of public transport is inadequate. Never wear expensive jewelry or use electronic devices while using public transportation.
 
Sitio taxis in Mexico City are most often metered and registered by the government. Sitio taxis from Benito Juarez International Airport are paid in advance at the terminal (at the Sitio stands) and are well regulated. See Taxi Safety below.
 
Peseros, also known as colectivos, are privately-owned, unregulated transport vehicles common in Mexico City. Vehicles are generally minivans. Drivers are often untrained, and road crash rates are high. Vehicles are generally poorly maintained; many have faulty brake lights, no seat belts, and broken windows. Drivers have specific routes; a sign on the front window indicates major stops. Drivers stop anywhere along routes to drop off or pick up passengers. Fares are low. Drivers compete to get as many passengers as possible and often stop with no warning.
 
Buses
About 98% of passenger travel in Mexico is by bus. Mexico City is the country’s transportation hub and most inter-city bus service connects with Distrito Federal state.
 
Inter-city buses serve routes linking main cities. Purchase tickets at the station. Inter-city transport is typically on larger buses; older buses and economy buses provide service within cities and from larger cities to small, rural communities. Busses are often crowded and the ride may be rough. Older buses serving local routes are often called “chicken buses.” These buses are often slow and in poor mechanical condition, and delays due to breakdowns are common. Drivers may drive recklessly and may not use headlights at night. Riders tell drivers they want to get off by pushing a button near the back door or shouting “Bajan!”
 
Many low-cost carriers operate bus-trucks, buses created by adding a passenger compartment to a truck chassis. Bus-trucks do not meet safety standards. Bus-trucks are often old, poorly maintained, and overcrowded. Owners frequently add extra rows of seats. Petty theft is common on heavily used routes.
 
Sexual harassment is a significant problem on busses and other public transportation in Mexico City.
 
Mexico City Metro
The Metro provides service to the city’s northern and central areas and to nearby cities. Station exits are marked “Salida” and passageways to other metro lines are marked “Correspondencia.” A flat fare is charged regardless of distance traveled on the metro. Fares are low; purchase tickets at the booths in metro stations. Cars are typically overcrowded during rush hour, and the risk of pickpocketing increases. During peak hours, the Metro reserves some carriages for women and children only (once people are inside the metro car, this separation may not be strictly enforced). To avoid being victims of sexual harassment, women should not travel alone during rush hour or at night.
 
More information is available on the Mexico City Metro website
  
Taxi Safety
Unlicensed “gypsy” (taxi libre) cabs in Mexico City have become infamous for elaborate mugging and kidnapping schemes. Carjackings and taxi holdups are a major threat. The best defense is to avoid the use of libre taxi cabs, which commonly pick up fares on the street after being hailed by customers. Libre taxis are poorly regulated and often linked to criminal enterprises. Sitio, or radio dispatched base station taxis, are safer, more reliable, and worth the added expense.
 
Currently, all taxis in Mexico City are issued registration numbers beginning with the letter “A,” so sitio and libre taxis are virtually indistinguishable. Passengers who use libre taxis are often robbed by two or three armed individuals who enter the taxi a few minutes into the trip, having been called or signaled by the driver. Also, libre taxis are often connected to express kidnappings, abductions where the victim is turned around in a matter of hours for a small ransom or shuttled to a series of ATMs and forced to withdraw funds. Because 24-hour withdrawal limits are now the industry standard on ATM cards, express kidnapping victims are typically held for 24 to 48 hours to maximize withdrawal amounts.
  • Due to the danger involved in utilizing libre taxis and the increased difficulty in determining the difference between the different types of taxis, the best practice is to avoid hailing taxis on the street entirely. Instead, always telephone for a radio-dispatched sitio taxi rather than hailing a free-ranging green Volkswagen libre taxi.
     
  • Ask the sitio dispatcher for the driver’s name and the cab’s license plate number.
     
  • Before entering a cab, verify that the driver matches the photo ID posted on the taxi window and verify the name and license plate.
     
  • Once in a taxi, remain alert, keeping all possessions close by and in sight. Taxi drivers have been known to take things from passengers’ bags if they are left unattended.

Pedestrian Safety

Crosswalks, pedestrian lights, and pedestrian bridges are often lacking or inadequate. Pedestrians often fail to use existing bridges. Many crossings are poorly placed, unsafe, or inaccessible. Be alert when walking, as drivers often fail to obey traffic regulations. Taxi and city bus drivers commonly ignore posted speed limits and fail to stop at traffic lights. Pedestrians do not always obey traffic laws. Pedestrians account for about 40% of annual road fatalities in Mexico; the percentage is even higher in major cities. Many pedestrians have been killed by hit-and-run drivers.
 
As a pedestrian, it is your responsibility to make yourself visible and avoid dangerous behavior and situations. When possible, utilize the sidewalk; if not available, you should walk against the flow of traffic. Always obey crossing signals, but make sure to look both ways before crossing into the street. Even if you have the right of way, it is important to realize that vehicles may not always stop. Make eye contact with drivers and pay attention to the environment around you. If you are wearing headphones or talking on your cell phone while crossing the street, it is important to pay attention to your surroundings and take extra care to avoid dangerous situations. Crossing a busy street while blasting music into your headphones doesn’t exactly enhance your awareness.
Earthquakes
If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area or Los Angeles, you live in earthquake country.
 
Earthquakes present an uncontrollable and unpredictable risk hazard to life and property. Earthquakes may seem frightening, but you can do a lot to prepare yourself. Start by knowing what to expect: a major earthquake will have a huge impact. The power will go out as power stations are damaged, water may stop flowing as pipes break, some roads and bridges may be unusable, and phones will not function in your neighborhood.
 
During an earthquake: Drop to the ground, cover, and hold on. Take cover by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and hold on until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place. Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture. For more information, refer to FEMA’s earthquake preparedness website.
 
Sketch a floor plan of your home, identifying exits and safe and dangerous areas of each room. Mark safe spots (under doorways, in an inside corner of room, etc.) and dangerous spots (next to large windows, tall furniture, etc.) in each room. The best places to be during an earthquake are beneath supported archways, against inside walls and corners, or in doorways. Stay away from windows, hanging objects, mirrors, fireplaces, bookshelves, or tall unsecured furniture. Do not crawl under desks or beds as they could crush you if a heavy load falls on top of them.
 
Mexico City has quite a good early-warning system for earthquakes, the Sistema de Alerta Sísmica (SAS). Familiarize yourself with the alarm.
 
Street Harassment
As in many cities around the world, you may encounter street harassment in Mexico City. There is no overall “best” way to respond to every harasser in every circumstance, and you are the only one who can determine the best way to respond in any given situation. The more informed you are about options for responding, the better you can be at making that decision. If you encounter street harassment, talk to the Study Center staff for advice.
 
Suggestions for how to respond to a harasser:
  1. Use strong body language. Look the harasser in the eyes; speak in a strong, clear voice. Don’t give mixed signals, show assertiveness and strength.
  2. Project confidence and calm. Even if you do not feel that way, it is important to appear calm, serious, and confident.
  3. Do not apologize, make an excuse, or ask a question. Be firm.
  4. Repeat your statement or leave.
  5. Do not swear or lose your temper: This type of reaction is the most likely to make the harasser respond with anger and violence.
  6. Decide when you’re done. Success is how you define it. If you said what you needed to say and you’re ready to leave, do so.
  7. Don’t do anything if at any time you feel threatened. Walk away.
 
UCEAP Contingency Planning
 
Fire Safety
 
 
In An Emergency
 
 
 
 
The University of California, in accordance with applicable Federal and State law and University policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action office.

* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.