“Through my IFSA program, I volunteered at a travel startup where I initiated and developed a six-month lesson plan for the first English teaching program in a Mayan community, created a cost plan for program volunteers, and translated itineraries.”
What does this mean?
- DATES AND FEES
About Mérida Universities Program
In Mérida, Yucatán, explore how Mexico balances 21st century realities with the enduring influence of the pre-Hispanic Mayan empire. Through the Mérida Universities Program, which includes multi-day excursions to Mexico City and San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, you will interact with complexities of the local culture and learn how the Mayan influence is thread differently throughout Mexico.
Academics at Mérida Universities Program
FALL 2021 PROGRAM
Our Mérida Universities Program provides a semester in stunning Mérida, Mexico, allowing you to study alongside other IFSA students with classes taught by IFSA and the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY).
All classes will be taught in Spanish and are worth 3 U.S. semester credits each.
- Advanced Spanish I
- Advanced Spanish II
- Contemporary Issues in Public Health in the Yucatán: As part of the course, students will engage with lectures and presentations from experts on issues of impact of recent events in public health. When allowed and following safety protocols, students will also visit a Mayan community to meet a midwife, a bonesetter, and an herbal doctor, among other related activities.
- Contemporary Yucatán: Selected Topics – Identity and Migration: This course analyzes the contemporary dynamics of power and privilege in contemporary Yucatán. Students will develop an understanding of the current local political landscape, as well as the social and cultural perspectives. Featured topics include the Mayan indigenous population; identity and diversity in the Yucatán and Mexico; forms of political organization; violence, racism, and discrimination; and migration within the Yucatán and across Mexico into the U.S. As a general reference point for each of these themes will be the history of Yucatán and its relationships with the U.S. and the Caribbean.
- 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 faculty, and completion of the academic research project form.
- Ecology and Sustainable Development: One of today’s key challenges is raising awareness around the long-term conservation of natural resources and the urgent importance of local knowledge inventories to do so. This course addresses aspects of the history of ecology, as well as conceptual components of tropical ecosystems and the ways in which they interact in the environment. Approaching ecology as an interdisciplinary science enables a deeper understanding of its importance in the recovery, preservation, and protection of the environment. Students will examine theory in practice, through participation in multiple field visits, ecology’s relationship with sustainable development in the Yucatán.
- Exploring Yucatán: Community and Culture: This course is designed to assist students in getting the most out of their study abroad experience through thoughtful and meaningful reflections, analysis and discussion of contemporary Mexico through key concepts such as community and interculturality.
- Globalization and Economic Challenges in Latin America: Starting from economic changes in Latin America in the 1960s through future economic scenarios for Mexico in the 21st century, this class examines globalization’s historic impact as economies and financial systems become more interconnected. Supporting topics ranging from climate change, commercial conflicts, and strategic trade alliances with the U.S. and other regions. A series of field visits allow students to gain firsthand experience with the economic challenges and opportunities globalization presents in and around Mérida.
- History of U.S.-Mexico Relations: It is impossible to fully understand the history of Mexico without taking into account the neighboring country to the north, since they share a border of more than 1,900 miles. From its birth as a nation-state until today, Mexico has prioritized its economic, political, social, and even cultural relations with the United States. This course explores the origin, causes, and consequences of this historical interdependence, as well as Mexico’s continuous struggle to defend national sovereignty, promote non-intervention, and maintain self-determination as a legitimate right as an independent country.
- International Internship Seminar: 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 in-person internship in Mérida and further develop the professional skills needed for a successful transition from undergraduate coursework into a career or graduate school.
- Cultural History of the Mayan Area: Offered in partnership with UADY exclusively for IFSA students, this course is designed to give students an overview of the social, economic, political, ideological and cultural development of the Mayan civilization, from its origins to the time of the Spanish conquest, by contextualizing spatially and temporally the different pre-Hispanic Mayan communities, their characteristics and development processes.
- Multicultural Psychology: This course situates psychology in a global perspective to seek an understanding of how cultural differences impact behavior. Students will critically analyze theories associated with diversity and multiculturalism as well as their intersections with developmental psychology. We will explore the meaning of culture as a powerful—often invisible—influence to learn how it affects our thoughts and behaviors across the lifespan. What sorts of behaviors and thought processes do we share as humans? What do these observations tell us about the development of multicultural competencies?
- Racism and Discrimination in Mexico: Offered in partnership with UADY exclusively for IFSA students, this course explores theoretical frameworks and methodologies that help students to understand racism, ethnic discrimination, and xenophobia in Mexico. We will begin with a historical overview from the origin of the notion of race, and then interrogate the processes of institutionalized discrimination through government policies and social practices – many of which persist to the present day. Topics include coloniality, nationalism, Afro-descendant peoples, and anti-Semitic discourse.
- Unheard Voices: Contemporary Latin American Literature: This course proposes an alternative Latin American literary canon, elevating the contemporary works of underrepresented Mexican, Argentine, and Chilean authors. Students will develop an understanding of cultural tensions and political conflicts during this period through diverse voices. This course explores the many devices and texts that value or devalue a distinctive identity or a particular “agency.” In which ways do Latin American agencies of today undermine the Euro-centric identity paradigm of the 19th and 20th centuries? What are the political, poetical and, not least, literary transformations that those agencies imply?
SPRING 2022 PROGRAM
Our Mérida Universities Program provides semester and year 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 Mérida Universities Program is pre-approved at your institution, you’ll find classes recently taken by other IFSA students.
The following IFSA courses are specially designed for our students and worth 3 U.S. semester credits each.
- Advanced Spanish and culture: Students will be placed into sections of this mandatory course following a placement test administered onsite.
- Exploring Yucatán: Community and Culture: This required course is designed to assist students in getting the most out of their study abroad experience through thoughtful and meaningful reflections, analysis and discussion of contemporary Mexico through key concepts such as community and interculturality.
- 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 faculty, and completion of the academic research project form (available from your program advisor).
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 program advisor can help you find the courses you need, but you may explore courses through the links below:
Note that if you have native or near—native Spanish reading and writing skills and would like to be considered for exemption from the Advanced level Spanish course, please speak with your program advisor.
Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY):
- College of Social Sciences and Humanities (anthropology, archaeology, social communication, history, Latin American literature and tourism)
- Architecture (architecture, studio art, visual arts)
- Accounting and Business (accounting, marketing, international business, information technology administration)
- Economics (economics, international business)
- Medicine (nutrition, public health, rehabilitation)
- Nursing (nursing, social work)
- Look for a link to licenciaturas (majors) on the homepage of that department
- 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.
- Click here for course syllabi from the College of Social Sciences and Humanities department.
- For course descriptions in the psychology department, click here and then select the "Plan de Estudios" PDF.
- Click here for business classes.
On the general Universidad Modelo course website you can find coursework related to:
- Law (also the faculty in which political science courses are offered)
- Ciencias de la Salud (the faculty where public health courses are offered)
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 program advisor for more information.
Public Health Concentration
IFSA students participating on the Mérida Universities Program can take part in a specialized academic concentration focused on Public Health. This opportunity offers students in-depth exploration of the subject by completing coursework on Public Health and life sciences at the university, and working with local health professionals in rural and urban settings to examine traditional and non-traditional approaches to health care.
Sample Enrollment (12-18 U.S. semester credit hours):
- IFSA Contemporary Issues in Public Health in the Yucatan (3 U.S. semester credit hours): As part of the course, students will participate in all Hoy En Tu Comunidad (UADY student organization with public health focus) field projects or do a service project at UADY’s Unidad de Inserción Social. Students will also visit a Mayan community to meet a midwife, a bonesetter, and an herbal doctor, among other related activities.
- 1-2 Health-related courses at the UADY (3 U.S. semester credit hours) which may include:
- Sports medicine
- Clinical psychology
- Tropical diseases
- Medical anthropology
- IFSA Mandatory Advanced Spanish course (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
- IFSA's Exploring Community and Culture program (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
- 1-2 additional courses at the UADY (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
Students who complete the concentration will receive a special mention from the UADY’s Facultad de Medicina.
SPRING 2022 PROGRAM
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 licenciaturasof 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. Program advisors 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.
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:
- Ayuntamiento: Government-sponsored program providing English classes to disadvantaged communities in and around Mérida.
- 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.
- Colegio Renacimiento Primaria: School with preschool through middle school grades, including special education and a bilingual program; curriculum also focuses on science, technology and culture.
- Hoy en tu comunidad: A private organization supported by the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán organized for students from different colleges to provide medical care and public health eduction to communities in and around Mérida.
- Instituto para el Desarrollo de la Cultura Maya del Estado de Yucatán (INDEMAYA): Government agency designed to provide training and support for the Mayan communities in and around Mérida, as well as maintain and promote Mayan culture and language.
- Pronatura: Private organization that works to conserve the ecosystem of the Yucatán peninsula and promote a healthy relationship between society and nature.
- Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT): Governmental organization that Works with Mayan cooperatives to create and manage tourist sites in their communities.
- 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.
After you return to the U.S., IFSA will send an official Butler University transcript to your home university with your coursework converted to the U.S. credit 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.
Dates and Fees
This program may have supplemental fees. Please check with your IFSA Program Advisor.
Meet Your Program Advisor
What Our Students Say
Contact the Butler University Police Department at 317.940.9999 The officer on duty will contact the appropriate IFSA personnel.