Study Abroad


Spanish Language Through Cultural Engagement in México

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This course is now accepting applications for the Winter 2014-15 term.

UMAIE Course Number: T4474
SAU Course Equivalency: SPAN 314, Introduction to Hispanic Cultural Studies, (four credits)
Instructor: Shirley Nieto-Flores and Donny Vigil, University of St. Thomas, Minnesota
Dates: Jan. 3-28, 2015. (NOTE: SAU Spring semester begins January 14)
Location: Mérida, Mexico
Price: $3,315-$3,615 (subject to change)

Program Description

Students will have the opportunity for experiential learning via a homestay with a Mexican family; the study of language and culture in small classes at the CIS; and excursions to historical places such as Dzibilchaltún, the archeological sites of Chichén Itzá and Uxmal, the artisan center at Progreso, and various museums and cultural centers in Mérida itself.

The primary goals of this course is language immersion and historical/cultural understanding. Classroom instruction is in Spanish and students will have diverse opportunities to learn about Hispanic culture and history. The program is structured to foster the students' personal contact with the cultures and history of southern/southeast Mexico/Mérida, and raise their awareness of the interaction between language, culture, and society. The curriculum seeks to relate what the students learn in the classroom about the language and the culture to a variety of salient themes that help to define Hispanic culture.

The city of Mérida, capital of the state of Yucatán in the Yucatán peninsula of southeast Mexico, benefits from a deeply ingrained Mayan indigenous past and present, an evocative colonial heritage that pervades the bustling city center, and a strong regional identity and prosperous economy. This unique, large city reminds us of first contacts between European and Mayan indigenous communities, as it is situated at the juncture between the peninsular coastline and greater Mexico. In this thriving area of Mexico, students will see socioeconomic and ethnic communities in context, and will study the junctures where Mexico's colonial past and modern present coexist.

Students will interact in various real-life situations and learn about Mexican history, geography, culture, and current events while taking classes at the CIS and living with Mexican families. The surrounding areas of the Yucatán Peninsula offer an archeological archive in which students will come into contact with Mexico's Mayan indigenous history, which they may compare to the living indigenous presence in Mérida and other locales that they will visit during excursions.

Through a variety of activities outside the classroom and the visits to various sites (archeological, historic, and artistic), the students will embed the practice of the language in various sociocultural contexts. The sites that we visit during this program also serve to enhance the sense of cultural richness and diversity they will experience during their stay in Mérida.

What is Included

  • Round-trip airfare from Moline, Chicago or Minneapolis 
  • Hotel accommodation in double and triple rooms
  • Continental breakfast daily
  • Travel assistance
  • International health insurance

What is not included

  • Passport fees
  • Transportation to/from airport
  • Fees for textbooks and materials
  • Meals not covered by the program fee
  • Personal baggage fees

How to Apply

Priority Deadline: April 12, 2014
Step 1: Complete the online application.
Step 2: Submit a $500 application deposit to the Center for International Education (Cosgrove Hall, lower level). Make checks payable to SEMINARS INTERNATIONAL.
Step 3: Turn in a completed Liability Form to Cosgrove Hall, lower level.
Step 4: Pay your remaining balance by November 1. Submit your payment to Cosgrove Hall, lower level. Make checks payable to St. Ambrose. Or pay online with a credit card.

Applications will be accepted until October 1.
Students that apply after the April 12 Priority Deadline may find that their desired program is full.

Application and payment details

Applications will not be reviewed until all application materials have been received.
The $500 deposit is deducted from the total program cost.
If you are not accepted into the program, or if the program is cancelled, the application deposit is refundable.
If you are accepted, the application deposit is non-refundable after September 17.
The final payment is non-refundable after November 1.
Failure to meet payment deadlines may jeopardize your place in the program.