Haha, there is no shame in getting into a 'cheap one'. Places like AI and VFS are overpriced anyways. Besides, if you are getting real production experience and skills from a pro you can beat that! I checked the AIDB and it looks like there are 80 or so studios listed in Mexico. Do you have any workonline I can check out that you are comfortable showing? I haven't made a reel in a couple of years but I will be as soon as I get some stuff from my last job.
Nice dude...! 3DS is a good all-around package. I'm a Maya guy personally, but am quickly making the transition to Houdini. How are you finding school? I find some places have teachers that wouldn't survive real production, and others are closely tied to studios. How are the job prospects once you are out?
3d artist in training, eh? Now we're talking about something I know about! Are you in school or is it like a hobby? Do you have a preferred package? Feel free to PM me if you want to talk VFX some time...!