This article first appeared in BTS Issue 4.

iWinterMX Aeronautics Industry Programme at Tecnológico De Monterrey (ITESM)Designed for international students interested in acquiring the basic knowledge and skills to venture as young professionals in the aeronautic industry field, the programme provides the opportunity to live in three vibrant Mexican cities – Querétaro, Chihuahua and Estado de México. Students will learn about the aeronautical industrial ecosystem, key technological trends, and the relevance of this Mexican industry in the international setting as they travel and work in multicultural environments.

By Ng Ri Chi, Freshmore (Class of 2023)

Last winter, my friend Kai Feng and I went for an exchange at Tecnológico de Monterrey’s (ITESM) iWinterMx aeronautics industry programme. We had little idea what we were signing up for, but we were also drawn in by the sense of adventure.

Impressive drawings by the professor who taught us aviation regulation and organisation

The programme involved us moving to different cities in Mexico every week, where we took aeronautical classes in the different campuses of ITESM. The lessons included the different engineering systems in aeronautics, manufacturing processes as well as some rules of flight. Some of the lecturers had previous experiences in the aeronautics industry, and the experiences they shared with us really brought the lessons to life.

The plane was flying!

Part of the course work was also to build a model aeroplane, which had to be flown at the end of the course. The model looks deceivingly simple to build but the process was very much more complicated and tedious than we thought. However, by building that, we also spent fruitful time bonding with our fellow course mates from Mexico, Korea, China, Denmark and Australia.

Being near the US and having lower cost of business means that it is a booming centre for the manufacturing and refurbishment in the aeronautics industry. Part of the course was also to visit aeronautic companies, including Bell Helicopter and Aeromexico. However, I was most impressed by ETU, a local SME that went from just manufacturing turbine parts to being Mexico’s first company to be certified to AS9100C level.

Company visit to Aeromexico in the State of Mexico
Everyone had a second serving of barbacoa (slow cooked meat) and sidral (apple cider)

Throughout our stay there we were well taken care by our student chaperones and the staff at each campus. They made us feel safe and at home, despite us being half a world away from Singapore. They also exposed us to a variety of Mexican food, which were all very different from what Singapore has but just as good. For example, corn is a major staple food in Mexico, and it is usually made into a torta or flat bread topped with different ingredients (for example, barbacoa or slow cooked meat). Another really good dish is rice with mole sauce. The sauce is made of up to 20 ingredients roasted and ground together, and has a really complex flavour.

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