Study abroad in Mexico with IFSA

IFSA Mérida Universities Program

Program Overview

How do you top 300 days of sunshine a year, a reputation as one Latin America’s safest environments, and two outstanding universities? Add rich Mayan culture and countless opportunities to build your Spanish skills as you study and socialize with local peers at Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán and Universidad Modelo. It’s all in Mérida, a welcoming, modern city with ancient roots.

Details in a Glance

Application deadline

November 1

Minimum GPA

2.50

Credit load

15

Housing

Home Stay

Instruction language

Spanish

Prerequisites

4 semesters of college-level Spanish or the equivalent
What does this mean?

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Academics

Our IFSA Mérida Universities Program offers semester programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY) and Universidad Modelo in stunning Mérida, Mexico, allowing you to study alongside local students and experience two types of Mexican higher education institutions.

Looking for specific classes? Explore CHART, our exclusive class database — if the IFSA Mérida Universities Program is pre-approved at your institution, you’ll find classes recently taken by other IFSA students.

IFSA ELECTIVE CLASSES

Choose from several classes designed exclusively for IFSA participants. All IFSA classes are taught in Spanish and are worth 3 U.S. semester credits hours. Classes may vary by term based on faculty availability and student interest.

Advanced Spanish I or Advanced Spanish II

While in Mérida, you can opt to continue your Spanish language study. A mandatory pre-arrival language assessment will determine your appropriate language level. Based on your score, IFSA may require you to take a Spanish language class to support your academic success in Spanish-taught direct-enroll classes. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Exploring Yucatán: Community and Culture

Through intentionally designed field visits and meaningful reflection, this class takes you beyond tourism into rich intercultural dialogue and active engagement with your host community. While navigating daily life in the Yucatán, you will be challenged to embrace an anthropological perspective as you explore cultural identity and examine diversity in the context of Mexican political, economic, and sociocultural structures. Ultimately, you will develop personal strategies for engaging with differences of any kind following your study abroad experience, making it an ideal course for those seeking transferable skills and competencies for success in the global marketplace. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Contemporary Issues in Public Health in the Yucatán

An increased diversity within our communities has presented healthcare providers with many new challenges when responding effectively to patients’ well-being. This class provides an overview of healthcare in the Yucatán and examines the public and private healthcare systems in Mexico and the use of both mainstream and traditional approaches in urban and rural settings. Through numerous field visits, students will consider local prevailing health issues such as cervical cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, and deepen their intercultural agility as they seek to understand how patients’ expectations differ from their own cultural context. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Directed Research

This option offers the chance undertake field research on a contemporary issue of your interest. Students interested in doing any research in Mérida must take this course and meet the following criteria: advanced Spanish proficiency, a research topic related to an available UADY professor, and completion of a research project application form. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

DIRECT-ENROLL CLASSES

As an IFSA student you complete your courseload with integrated classes at the UADY and/or Modelo, maximizing your immersion into local student life. Your IFSA Admissions Counselor can help you find the courses you need, but you may explore courses through the links below.

While searching for classes fitting your interests and academic needs, you may find some host institution classes delivered in English as well as in Spanish. Classes taught in English are open to you as an IFSA student provided you meet the stated prerequisites. However, prior to arrival you should discuss with your home institution’s study abroad advisor any academic requirements related to study abroad in a non-English speaking location.

Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY):

  1. Look for a link to licenciaturas (majors) on the homepage of that department
  2. After clicking on licenciaturas, look for a link to "plan de estudio," "asignaturas," "mapa curricular" or "temarios." These are the lists of classes offered in that particular major. In some licenciaturas, you can click on the course title to see a course description or syllabus. This is not available for all departments.

Universidad Modelo:

On the general Universidad Modelo website you can find coursework related to:

  • Architecture
  • Business
  • Design
  • Engineering
  • Health Sciences
  • Law (including political science)
  • Humanities

We know finding courses you need is important in your decision to study abroad. If you are looking for a particular course, please contact your IFSA Admissions Counselor for more information.

Featured Health Classes

Direct-enroll classes in public health and the health sciences have been popular with previous IFSA students. The following examples are a selection of what you can find in CHART across both institutions.

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Epidemiology and Public Health
  • Food Microbiology
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Nutrition Epidemiology
  • Pediatric Physiotherapy
  • Physical Preparation
  • Public Health and Nutrition
  • Quality and Safety in Patient Care
  • Sports Rehabilitation

Lab & Field Trip Fees

Please review syllabi and course materials when registering for direct-enroll classes. Certain classes may have a one-off lab or field trip fee disclosed in the syllabus or during the first meeting of the class. These fees are not included in your IFSA program fee. You will be responsible for these fees, whether they are billed and paid by IFSA or billed to you.

UADY limits the number of visiting international students who can enroll in each class. For this reason, it’s important that you identify multiple classes that align with your academic interests and needs and discussed these options with your home campus study abroad and academic advisors prior to your arrival on-site.

The only UADY licenciaturas in which students are not allowed to take classes are: médico cirujano (Spring only) and químico farmaceútico biológico.

Students are only able to take one class in the Facultad de Medicina at UADY, which includes the licenciaturas of médico cirujano (Fall only), rehabilitación, and nutrición. This course must be related to any subject in life sciences. Additionally, students must express interest in specific courses before departure and will likely need to provide a resume in Spanish and short letter of interest. IFSA Admissions Counselor will contact applicants about the deadline and requirements each semester.

While students can technically enroll in biology, veterinary medicine, and zoology, the UADY science campus is located two hours outside of Mérida, so it may not be practical to consider taking classes there.

DIRECTED RESEARCH

Engage in individualized field research with faculty experts in Mérida on a contemporary issue of interest. Regular meetings with faculty will assist in the formation and execution of research plans, and they will guide you on how to thoughtfully and critically integrate academic research with experiential learning. You will sharpen your written and oral communication skills through the development of articulate and comprehensive research that is respectful to the sensitivities of the local culture. For more detailed information and examples, contact your IFSA Admissions Counselor.

VOLUNTEERING

Volunteering while studying abroad in Mérida is an enriching experience, both personally and academically. Students report that even volunteering a few hours per week enhanced their study abroad experience by providing them with access to the local culture and a deeper understanding of problems that face Mérida's inhabitants on a daily basis. Several volunteering opportunities exist in Mérida. Placements are made after you arrive onsite and are contingent upon a personal interview, your language level and available time commitment. IFSA has prepared a list of places where you, as a visiting student, can volunteer to do social service. While this is purely optional, a commitment on your part is needed in order to arrange a placement. Upon completion of your period of volunteerism, you will be issued a certificate indicating the number of hours you dedicated and the type of work you completed. Volunteering does not earn academic credit and will not appear on your Butler University transcript. Examples of places where students can be placed:

  • Centro de Cultura del Niño Yucateco (CECUNY): Government agency that provides creative programming and workshops in dance, art, literature, chess, choir and music for children between the ages of four and 12.
  • Colegio Americano: Private school with kindergarten through high school grades and an excellent English program.
  • Unidad de Atención Sicológica, Sexológica y Educativa para el Crecimiento Personal (UNASSE): Human rights organization founded in 1987 with the goal of providing free support for a variety of legal and public health issues, including sexual abuse, violations of workers' rights, prevention and/or treatment of cancer and HIV/AIDS.
  • Vida Familia A.C. (VIFAC): A not-for-profit organization that provides workshops for pregnant women which aim to teach them the skills they need to be self sufficient and provide a better quality of life for their children.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

Eligibility

  • You must be at least 18 years of age. Students under 18 may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
  • You must be currently attending or recently graduated from a U.S. or Canadian community college, technical college, two-year college, four-year college, or four-year university.
  • You must have completed at least one (1) semester of study at your home institution before the beginning of the term.

Recommendation Letter

Not required.

Language Requirement

Four (4) semesters of college-level Spanish or an Intermediate II level proficiency is required.

Visa Requirement

Not required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. A visa may be required if you are a citizen of another country.

Start your application now by clicking the Apply Now button.

TRANSCRIPT

Upon completion of your program, IFSA will send an official Butler University transcript to your home university with your coursework converted to the U.S. semester credit hour system. You will also have access to an unofficial transcript in your IFSA Student Portal. The transcript reflects courses taken, credits attempted, and grades earned during your term abroad. This service is included in your study abroad program at no additional cost. See our Transcripts page for more information.

Excursions

Activities and excursions are designed to pull you into the communities you visit and encourage cultural connections of every kind. There’s no extra fee to participate in these optional outings—everything is included in your program fee.

Below are examples from previous terms; outings may be different for your program. We’ll make every effort to run them all, but sometimes things we can’t our control, such as local regulations and health protocols, get in the way. As result, we cannot guarantee activities and excursions.

Activities

  • City-as-Text Activity: Get to know Mérida’s beautiful downtown and extensive development to the north. Along the way, learn about the expat community and gentrification and their socioeconomic impact on the city. Includes Mérida bus tour.
  • Mayan World Museum and Biciruta (Mérida en Domingo) Tour: This visit is designed to set you up with the cultural and historic context you need to fully appreciate excursions to Chichén Itzá and Uxmal.
  • Market Visit: Your taste buds are in for a treat with this introduction to regional Yucatán food and how it differs from traditional Mexican fare.
  • Yucatán Symphony Orchestra Concert: During the orchestra’s season, enjoy the top-notch classical music in one of the most emblematic buildings in Yucatán—the Peón Contreras Theater.

Excursions

  • Chichén Itzá and Yodkzonot Trip: Just an hour from Mérida is Chichén Itzá, one of the world’s seven wonders and one of the most visited places in all Mexico. This excursion includes a visit to the extraordinary Yodkzonot cenote, a community-based tourism project where you’ll learn to prepare a typical dish of Mexican cuisine.
  • Uxmal and Campeche Trip: This fascinating archaeological site and its Puuc style of architecture showcase the pinnacle of Mayan population design and art, with lessons that still inform modern Mérida. You won’t soon forget the impressive Pyramid of the Magician, constructed more than 1,000 years ago. This trip includes a visit to the state of Campeche, with its beautiful historic center and impressive walls built to protect the Caribbean port against attacks from the sea.
  • Las Coloradas Visit: Las Coloradas means “the colored ones” in Spanish. It’s the name of a tiny Mexican fishing village with a population of 1,000. During this day trip, visit the village and a nearby series of brightly colored pink lakes that cover the landscape on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. Includes a boat trip through wetlands that are home to crocodiles, sea turtles, jaguars, flamingos, and many sea birds.

Housing and Meals

Housing

Home Stay

Meals

All Included

Details

Your homestay will be arranged with a carefully selected host family and located within a typical commute of the IFSA program center. Only one student is housed per family for maximum cultural and language integration. You will have a single bedroom with a bed, shared bathroom, and desk or other designated place to study. Laundry and three meals per day are included. You may occasionally want to buy snacks and eat at restaurants beyond what is provided by homestay families.

Dates and Fees

Term

Term begins

Term ends

Program costs

Application deadline

Spring 2023

January 6, 2023

May 25, 2023

$15,975

November 1

Fall 2023

Early August 2023

Early December 2023

$15,975

May 1

Spring 2024

Mid-January 2024

Late May 2024

$15,975 (estimated)

November 1

Term

Spring 2023

Term begins

January 6, 2023

Term ends

May 25, 2023

Program costs

$15,975

Application deadline

November 1

Term

Fall 2023

Term begins

Early August 2023

Term ends

Early December 2023

Program costs

$15,975

Application deadline

May 1

Term

Spring 2024

Term begins

Mid-January 2024

Term ends

Late May 2024

Program costs

$15,975 (estimated)

Application deadline

November 1

Program Counselors

IFSA Student Stories