IFSA Summer Internships in Mexico
GAIN EXPERIENCE IN EDUCATION, PUBLIC HEALTH, MARKETING, AND MORE
Sunny and welcoming, Merida offers a variety of opportunities to sample a future career while you explore the influence of Mayan and Spanish cultures. During your eight–week stay, there’s also time to explore world-famous archeological sites and refreshing cenotes, and enjoy local favorites, like cochinita pibil and sopa de lima. Add an optional elective to earn additional credits.
Details at a Glance
3 - 7
Single Room Option, Homestay
Some placements may require 4 semesters of university-level Spanish. Learn More.
Not in most cases. Learn More.
Enhance your learning and develop marketable skills with an eight-week Summer Internship in Mexico.
Language of Instruction: English and Spanish
If you’ve never studied Spanish before, you’ll take this introductory seminar taught intensively at the beginning of your summer session to complement the IFSA internship experience. By introducing key words and phrases in the classroom—and venturing out into the city to practice them—this class also provides insights into local customs and daily life in Mérida. (1 U.S. semester credit hour)
International Internship Seminar
Language of Instruction: English
All internships include participation in the International Internship Seminar which uses a blended learning framework with online and in-person components. Online modules provide structured opportunities to reflect on the practical experience of the internship, learn more about your host country’s business culture, and further develop the professional skills needed for a successful transition from undergraduate coursework into a career or graduate school. Plus, you will engage with an online global cohort of IFSA internship participants, gaining exposure to business cultures around the world. At your IFSA location, you will meet in-person with fellow interns to participate in exclusive field visits, learn from guest speakers about working across cultures, and attend workshops on leveraging your strengths for your future job search at home or abroad. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
You may enroll in one additional class in either Session 1 or Session 2. Not all classes may be offered in a given term. Click on each link below for a detailed class syllabus.
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 from their own cultural context. Students will participate in a series of field visits to rural communities, as well as medical facilities to conduct clinical observations. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
Can I take my classes in Spanish?
To enroll in our Spanish-taught classes at this program, you must have a specific language level. Please visit our Language Requirements page for more details. If you have questions about whether you qualify, contact your IFSA Enrollment Counselor.
IFSA internships include real-world work experience, along with developing intercultural skills and experiences that are key to personal, academic, and professional success. Expect to devote a total of 120 hours working with your host organization, with supervision from your seminar instructor, coordinated by on-site IFSA team members. In addition, interns complete the International Internship Seminar for 3 U.S. semester credit hours. Internships are not remunerated.
Students have interned at galleries and museums, business incubators, development agencies, not-for-profit civil organizations, hospitality and tourism firms, and human rights advocacy groups in Mexico.
Your goals are carefully considered, tailoring the placement process to ensure the best possible fit. Keep in mind that final placements depend on your skills, prior experience, and availability. Although every effort is made to match your placement with your preferred field or area of business, it can’t be guaranteed. Most internships are conducted in Spanish. If you do not have had at least four semesters of Spanish language instruction, you can ask your IFSA Enrollment Counselor about opportunities to conduct your placement in English. However, an internship in English will still require some Spanish-language skills.
Application. After you submit your application, resume, and IFSA Internship Intent Form, an IFSA Enrollment Counselor and an on-site IFSA Team member will work with you to identify your professional strengths, review your goals, and refine your internship interests to establish a match. From there, you’ll have an interview with your potential internship host. You will be provided with tips and resources to prepare for your interview.
Sample Placements. The following are examples of internships IFSA students have recently completed. Placement options vary from term to term.
Organization: Working with one of largest hotel chains in Latin America, you will have an opportunity to think about tourism and what that represents in a country that so heavily relies on it, the type of population this is catered to, and its impact on a fragile economy and ecosystem.
Subject Areas: Hospitality & Tourism, Media/Multimedia Studies, Marketing, Sociology
Potential Projects: You can work on marketing research and analysis, handling social networks, and translation of specific ads and promotional materials.
Organization: This public hospital specializes in health care for the entire south east of Mexico. You will work with a medical doctor on two projects related to post-COVID-19 social impact and educating the general public on health practices.
Subject Areas: Medical Anthropology, Public/Global Health
Potential Projects: You can study post COVID-19 behaviors including the inequities of society; incidents of gender violence as a result; intrafamily violence; racism and discrimination; hunger; increase in crime levels. Or, you may assist in teaching the general population what it means to go to the doctor, working on myths and stereotypes, and developing strategies to provide a health education to the larger community.
Organization: This K-12 school has an ambitious English curriculum but struggles to maintain a high level of English language education. Serving a low-income community, challenges include a lack of teacher training and few native English-speaking tutors.
Subject Areas: Early Childhood Education, Education Studies, Elementary Education, Teaching English as a Second Language
Potential Projects: You can tutor and lead remote English language classes, work with the English coordinator on revising and redeveloping the school’s English curriculum and extra-curricular activities, or work with the school’s English teachers on phonetics, grammar, and general support to better serve their student body.
- 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) full-time semester of study at your home institution before the beginning of the term.
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.
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 control, such as local regulations and health protocols, get in the way. As result, we cannot guarantee activities and excursions.
- Mérida City Tour: Enjoy downtown Merida experiencing the Mérida en Domingo art festival in Plaza Grande, a music festival, and a beautiful bike ride along Paseo de Montejo Avenue.
- Historic Landmarks Outing: Visit historical and cultural landmarks such as Catedral de San Ildefonso, Zocalo, Casa de Montejo, and the Governor’s Palace.
- 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.
- 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 the excursion to Chichén Itzá.
- 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.
Housing and Meals
HousingSingle Room Option, Homestay
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 from the IFSA Program Center—or 30 to 45 minutes away via public transportation (that’s just 10 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. Homes have laundry machines and hosts do your laundry once a week. (Machine capacity may be smaller than you are used to in the U.S.)
- Nearby. Cafes, restaurants, and public transportation.