Merida, Mexico

IFSA Summer in Mexico

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Program Overview

DISCOVER ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS, CEYNOTES, AND COCHINITA PIBIL

One of the Yucatán’s most charming cities, Mérida basks in 300 days of sunshine a year. Full of Mayan and Spanish influences, it’s a fascinating place to explore cultural hallmarks as you flex your academic muscles.

This region may have deep ancient roots, but today’s culture is equally fascinating. Find out how as you explore Mayan migration, Yucatán tourism, politics, and more. You could also tease apart the impact of increasingly diverse communities on public and private health care in different settings.

This flexible program includes options for one or two four-week sessions. Take a class along with an eight-week internship with IFSA Summer Internships in Mexico.

This is an exclusive IFSA-Designed Program. Learn more about these affordable programs here.

Details at a Glance

Application deadline

Summer: April 1

Minimum GPA

2.00

Credit load

3–6

Housing

Single Room Option, Homestay

Instruction language

English, Spanish

Language prerequisites

Some classes may require 4 semesters of university-level Spanish. What does this mean?

Visa required?

Not in most cases. Learn more.

Apply Now

Academics

During your IFSA Summer in Mexico, customize your study abroad experience by taking a class during the four-week Session 1 or take a class during the four-week Session 2. You can also extend your studies by enrolling in both Session 1 and Session 2.

SESSION 1 CLASS

Identity and Culture in Contemporary Yucatán
Language of Instruction: Spanish
This class explores a series of themes related to the contemporary identities and cultures found on the Yucatán peninsula. This will allow students to develop a wide perspective of the current state of the local political scenario, as well as the social and cultural aspects. Topics include the Mayan indigenous population; forms of political organization; migratory movements within the Mayan population as well as other migrant groups entering the Yucatán; tourism; gastronomy; and geography and archaeology in the Yucatán. As a general reference point for each of these contemporary themes is the history of the Yucatán during the 19th and 20th centuries. This allows students to place themselves in the historical processes that have influenced the current image of the State of Yucatán. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

SESSION 2 CLASS

Contemporary Issues in Public Health in the Yucatán
Language of Instruction: English
Increasing diversity in the socioeconomic, ethnic, and racial composition of our communities has presented healthcare providers with new challenges when responding effectively to patient health and wellbeing. This class examines the public and private healthcare systems of Mexico, mainstream and traditional care in urban and rural settings, and local prevailing health issues such as cervical cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in order to understand the patients’ expectations and understanding of their health differ from their own cultural context. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Australia Outbound Program
Students enrolled at select Australia universities are invited to participate in Session 2 of this program. The program is open to students of all year levels and all fields. Students will earn 45 contact hours credit; the equivalent of one subject.

Please see the Australia Outbound term below in the Dates and Fees section for program fees and expected expenses in Australian dollars. For more information on the Australia Outbound program, please reach out to us at australiaoutbound@ifsa-butler.org.

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. Students attending select Australia universities are also eligible.
  • You must have completed at least one (1) full-time semester of study at your home institution before the beginning of the term.

Recommendation Letter
Not required.

 

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 classes 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 a selection of activities and excursions from previous terms; options may vary for your program. Due to the seasonal nature of many of program activities, we cannot guarantee a specific activity or excursion will be available in a given term or program.

Activities

  • City-as-Text Activity: Get to know Mérida’s beautiful downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. Learn both the legendary history of the city and the region as well as contemporary social processes that affect the city’s daily life, such as touristification and gentrification. This activity includes a talk about the city in the classroom and bus tour in the historical center.
  • Mayan World Museum Visit: Visiting this museum offers a cultural and historic context needed to fully appreciate excursions to the Mayan archeological sites of Chichén Itzá and Uxmal.
  • Biciruta Tour: Approach the city from a different perspective. Usually the streets are full of cars, but during this tour the roads are closed so that you can visit them. Both citizens and visitors enjoy touring the beautiful avenue of Paseo de Montejo in this unique way!
Excursions
  • Uxmal and Hacienda Yaxcopoil Trip: This fascinating archaeological site of Uxmal 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 Hacienda Yaxcopoil where you will connect pre-Columbian history with the henequen period in the history of Yucatán. The industrial processing of Henequen, a plant known as the “green gold,” had a great impact on the economy and structures of inequality in the region. (Session 1)
  • Cenotes Santa Bárbara Trip: Visit the group of cenotes known as Santa Barbara. In this excursion, beauty intertwines with ecological significance. Nestled within the lush landscapes of the Yucatán Peninsula, these natural sinkholes are not just geological wonders but also crucial ecosystems teeming with life. Cenotes play a crucial role in the hydrological cycle, serving as natural reservoirs that recharge the region’s underground aquifers. This, in turn, sustains the surrounding vegetation and provides freshwater resources for both wildlife and local communities. (Session 2)

Housing and Meals

Housing

Single Room Option, Homestay

Meals

All Included

Details

In Mérida, students live with local families in what’s known as a homestay. Homestays make it easy to immerse yourself in the region’s rich culture. They also provide many opportunities to build your Spanish language skills, if that’s part of your plan.   

Homestays: Who’s at home?  

We place students with carefully screened families, many of whom have been hosting IFSA students for nearly 20 years. Many have grown children who have left home and enjoy having young people around. Families host up to two IFSA students at a time.  

You might live with a retired couple and their beloved terrier, with frequent visits from their young grandchildren. Your hosts might have high school-age children and a grandparent living with them. Or you might join a single mom who shares her home with her adult daughter and grandson, with another adult child living nearby.  

  • Location. Host families live throughout the city. You might live close to downtown within easy walking distance to the IFSA Program Center—or 45–60 minutes away via public transportation (that’s just 15 minutes away via Uber).
  • Living space. Each student has their own bedroom. Bathrooms are sometimes private but could be shared with other family members. Your hosts provide a desk or other suitable place to study.  
  • Meals. Three meals a day included. Your homestay family understands that you also need time out to be with friends and explore—they’ll appreciate a heads-up when you plan to eat out. Students buy their own snacks.   
  • Language. Few families are fluent in English, but most can communicate. We do our best to place students without Spanish skills with English-speaking families. 
  • Other details. Internet included. Air conditioning is limited to eight hours at night, so expect to adjust to heat and humidity in this tropical environment. Most homes have a washing machine that students can use once a week. In some cases, the family offers to do the laundry. If the family does not have a washing machine, they will take the student once a week to the laundromat.
  • Nearby. Cafes, restaurants, malls, and public transportation. 

Dates and Fees

Term
Term begins
Term ends
Program costs
Application deadline
Summer 2024 - Session 1
May 27, 2024
June 21, 2024
$4,995
Passed
Summer 2024 - Session 2
June 24, 2024
July 19, 2024
$4,995
Passed
Summer 2024 - Sessions 1 & 2
May 27, 2024
July 19, 2024
$7,275
Passed
Summer 2024 (Australia Outbound)
June 24, 2024
July 19, 2024
$7,125 AUD
Passed

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Selena Rincon

Selena Rincon

Enrollment Counselor