Lette Berhe

Lette Berhe

University of New Mexico: More than Aliens and Deserts

Before 2008, when most people thought of New Mexico they thought of UFOs in Roswell and Route 66. But once the TV show Breaking Bad first premiered the state, and the city of Albuquerque, were put on the world stage. 

If you don’t know a lot about the state of New Mexico, you’re not alone. Our alum Emilio Pérez de Juan hadn’t either when he chose to move from Seville, Spain, to Albuquerque to study at the University of New Mexico (UNM). 

I’ve watched many episodes of Breaking Bad [but] I didn’t know too much [about New Mexico].

When Emilio came to Epro 360 his goal was to study at a top U.S. university. But he was open to any location. This flexibility helped him see that the University of New Mexico was the right choice for him. 

Choosing the University of New Mexico not only meant that he was going to study at a top #300 U.S. university, but it also meant that he was going to receive a scholarship of $15,500 per year. 

So this month we’re heading down to the Southwest to discover what UNM has to offer.

Fun Facts 

Classroom Culture

Are you thinking about choosing a large university? This is what you’ll get at UNM with over 21,000 students and 200+ degree programs. 

But surprisingly, lots of students doesn’t mean huge classes. The university’s student/teacher ratio is only 19 to 1. 

Why is this a good thing? 

Because smaller classes give you a better opportunity to connect with your classmates. And allows you to have more one-on-one contact with your professor. 

Having a more personalized education means being able to ask more questions which can help you learn even more. 

Emilio, for example, really felt supported by his professors. His original plan was to study  computer engineering at UNM, but his physics teachers made an impact:

…My idea was to finish a computer engineering degree…I hated physics in my country [but] I only needed two physics classes [at UNM] to really love it….I’ve talked to my advisor and I’ve decided to double major. 

The professors he had helped him fall in love with a subject he used to hate. And now he is planning to stay at UNM for 5 years, in order to graduate with two degrees – one in computer engineering and one in physics. 


Duck Pond, UNM campus
Duck Pond at University of New Mexico


University Research 

Universities in the U.S. are known for being great research centers. And UNM is one of them. 

Named one of 131 institutions in the country that are considered an R1 research institution, UNM’s dedication to innovation has helped

  • 135 start ups come out of UNM Tech.
  • students and staff receive 700+ U.S. patents.
  • establish a 5-year plan to keep advancing research efforts. 

It is no coincidence then that the state of New Mexico holds one of the highest numbers of Phds.

But how hard is it to get involved in research? For Emilio not hard at all. 

Next semester my computer programming teacher asked me to start research with him. So I think if you show you are good at something, they want you…[My professor just asked ] ‘Hey Emilio. Do you want to do research with me?ʼ

Campus Life

Even though the university puts time and money into academics and research, this is not their only focus. Enjoying your time as a UNM Lobo is just as important. 

Love movies?  

You can spend your Wednesday night at the on-campus movie theater. Choose from small indie movies or big Hollywood films. 

What about sports? 

At UNM you will get the college sports experience you want, with over 15 NCAA’s Division I varsity teams to cheer for. 

Football fans will especially love being a part of a rivalry that goes back to 1894 between the University of New Mexico Lobos and the New Mexico State Aggies. One of the most important moments of the Rio Grande Rivalry is the Red Rally. An annual bonfire and pep rally the night before the Lobos-Aggies game, it is a campus event you don’t want to miss.

Aerial view of UNM
Aerial view of UNM campus


Living in Albuquerque

You will have plenty to keep you busy on the 800-acre (323 hectare) UNM campus.  But don’t forget that Albuquerque is New Mexico’s largest city – with over half a million people.

All you have to do is walk off campus and you’ll be on Central Avenue, one of the city’s main streets. 

Go east and you’ll find yourself in the historic Nob Hill neighborhood. This is where you want to be if you love everything vintage and want to see the night sky lit up by colorful neon signs.

Or spend the day in and out of the local shops before eating at one of the retro diners. 

But if you go west on Central Avenue you will be in the more modern Downtown Albuquerque. Recently the city has put millions into the downtown area to make it a lively cultural center. 

You can spend the first Friday of every month at the ABQ Artwalk. And afterwards bar hop to check out some live music. 

Under 21? That’s okay. 

There are plenty of trendy restaurants for you to choose from, too.

Route 66 

Is a Route 66 road trip on your to-do list? Then you are definitely in the right city. 

The historic Route 66 passes right through Central Avenue, so you won’t have to go very far. 

But if you want the open road experience, you should take a drive east of Albuquerque. 

Why east?  Because you’ll find Route 66’s “Signing Road.” 

Keep a lookout for “Musical Road Ahead” signs, which will take you to the section of the road where hidden metal plates trigger the playing of “America the Beautiful”. 

But to make sure your car is filled with this patriotic song, you have to drive the 45-miles- per-hour speed limit. 

Sounds like a great way to spend a Sunday morning! 


Sandia Mountains, New Mexico


The Turquoise Trail 

Not as famous as Route 66, driving along the Turquoise Trail is the perfect day trip to take with friends.

One of New Mexico’s scenic highways, the drive will take you from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. Along the way you can take the small detours that will take you to the Sandia Crest for stunning mountain views. 

Also take a look at the events calendar because you can plan your weekend to stop by a blues or arts festival. 

New Mexico may not have been on your list of top places to live. But it has a unique local culture and strong dedication to education. 

As a student at UNM, you will stay busy on and off campus and have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world just like Emilio. 

I thought I was going to meet people from different countries. But not at this level…[But] I think [meeting people from other countries] is cool because…it opens your mind. 


If you’d like to learn more about New Mexico and some of our favorite universities in the region, check out our Southwest regional guide.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram if you want to find out when our next university spotlight is published (spoiler: the University of North Carolina at Greensboro). 

If you think you’re ready to start your journey to study in the U.S., sign up for a free consultation today! 

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