Mexico Explorers

The award sees two Balliol students each receive up to £4,000 to travel to Mexico for 4-8 weeks at the end of their degrees. Successful candidates should have a demonstrable interest in learning about Mexican culture and society; have an intention to visit a variety of places around the country; excel in their academic and extra-curricular activities; and have a good level of Spanish.

Travellers usually visit Mexico during the July–September period, and should expect to stay with Martin Foley (1951), the benefactor of the programme, for up to a week during their trip. A small number of other Old Members, details of whom will be provided to successful candidates, may also offer to host travellers.  

Type of award
Eligibility or selection criteria

Any Balliol student who is not a Mexican citizen and who is in the final year of undergraduate study or the last two years of graduate work may apply.  Postgraduates must obtain the permission of their supervisors before applying.

Applicants will, ideally, have a good knowledge of Spanish; if an applicant is successful and has limited Spanish, they will be expected to go on a short language course before their trip.

Amount awarded

Up to £4,000.

How and when to apply

Students who wish to be considered should put their names forward to the Student Finance Officer in Hilary Term. An application form will be circulated to interested students shortly after 9th Week. A shortlist of applicants will then be interviewed.

Further information

It is expected that travel would usually completed by the following Michaelmas, with the Final Report submitted to the College Office by mid-October.

Successful recipients of the grant will be provided with contact details for Mr Foley and a small number of other Old Members in Mexico with their award letter.

In all cases of travel, whether as part of a course (e.g. field work, year abroad, medical elective) or an extra-curricular activity (e.g. a project for which College has provided financial support, a College reading party, or Westerman Pathfinders award), students are responsible for taking out appropriate medical and travel insurance for the whole of their time away, including any independent trips made alongside, and for consulting relevant travel advice, for instance the Foreign Office travel advice. Reading party participants are expected to sign waivers prior to departure. Students are not permitted to travel to countries or regions for which appropriate travel insurance cannot be obtained. 

Funding source(s)

Please note that this is not an endowed travel grant, but is generously funded on an annual basis each year by Martin Foley (1951). Mr Foley has indicated his intent to continue the scheme for the foreseeable future, and so its availability in future years may be anticipated but should not be presumed.

Mr Foley has lived in Mexico City for a number of decades, and founded this programme out of a desire to build cultural and intellectual links between Balliol and Mexico. He has also endowed the Foley-Béjar Scholarship Fund, which supports Balliol students from Ireland, Spain, and Mexico. His life work has been in the Arts & Cultural Heritage, and with his partner Feliciano Béjar (d. 2007) – who was a well-known Mexican artist and sculptor during his lifetime – raised 19 children.