Puebla, Mexico - conquistadores, unexpected, charming, friendly, social I loved Puebla from the moment I arrived, it was full of really friendly people, with a really good vibe to it. As the city's got about 4 different unis, it's full of students, and even though I was working as a language assistant, I felt it was really easy to make friends. I didn't work that many hours when I was there, so I got the chance to travel across the South and in the Central regions of Mexico - it was a really incredible experience, I met some amazing people and I really enjoyed what I was doing (even though I don't really want to go into teaching). The people are really friendly and a lot of opportunities arise from knowing the right people - I got my flat because I had a friend of a friend, and most of my mates were made through contacts and saying yes to things. A word of warning: Mexicans are real party animals, so don't expect to get away from the aptly named 'cruda' that easily!
Useful local words: 'Pinche' (bloody), 'pedo' (literally, fart, but also drunk, mood, nice, problem), 'pendejo' (term of endearment or meaning idiot - widely used), 'neta' (the truth, really)
What not to pack: A dictionary as Mexican Spanish is really different!
What to pack: Sunblock and a notebook.
Couldn't have done without: My camera, Skype, my cash cards and my flip-flops. And my sense of humour.
Word of advice: Although Mexicans are really friendly people, have your wits about you - you might be expected to pay on numerous occasions due to the 'me estás invitando' notion: you are not inviting them out, but rather offering to take them out. I never got anything stolen off my person, but you have to be careful in certain areas of D.F. (Mexico City). Say yes to nearly everything and you'll see what a wicked place this is!
Natacha Cullinan, French and Spanish, Bristol University