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Language and Cultural Studies in the Yucatán

  • Minimum GPA: 2.5 (4.0 scale)
  • Spanish requirement: 2 semesters of college-level Spanish or the equivalent
  • Length of programs: 6 weeks, early June to mid-July
  • Application deadline: April 1
  • Program advisor: Jennifer McKibben
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Program Snapshot


¡Bienvenido! We’re excited that you’re considering IFSA-Butler's Language and Cultural Studies in the Yucatán program at Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán for your summer abroad. Mérida is a cozy, colonial city located about 20 minutes from the coast. We’re sure you’re going to love studying there.

What the Language and Cultural Studies in the Yucatán program has to offer

  • An intense social science experience in a beautiful, historic area of Mexico
  • An exploration of the rich history of the prehispanic Mayan civilization and its influence in Mexican culture
  • Academic visits to archaeological sites throughout the Yucatán
  • Two levels of study available
  • Cultural events and excursions led by IFSA-Butler staff, including visits to historic towns, nature preserves, local museums, beaches, theaters and cooking lessons
  • Four-day excursion to Cuba included in the program fee


  • Host family housing is arranged by IFSA-Butler
  • The program fee includes three meals per day


  • Program is designed exclusively for IFSA-Butler students
  • Students earn 6 U.S. semester credit hours
  • Curriculum includes two mandatory classes: Spanish Language and Contemporary Yucatan: Selected Topics


Academic Structure

What is the academic structure of the Language and Cultural Studies in the Yucatán Program?
The program allows you to enroll in two classes specially designed for IFSA-Butler students at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán. These classes, taught in Spanish by local university professors, are intended to provide you with an understanding of the events and issues that make Mexico what it is today. There are two tracks – intermediate and advanced – and your placement will be determined upon arrival in Mexico.

Program Courses

What program courses does IFSA-Butler offer?
The following courses are specially designed for IFSA-Butler students on the Language and Cultural Studies in the Yucatán Program.  Click here to download all course syllabi, or click on a course title below to download an individual syllabus.

Please note that courses are subject to availability and enrollment minimums.

Intermediate Spanish and Culture or Advanced Spanish and Culture (Mandatory, 3 U.S. semester credit hours)
This is an intensive intermediate- or advanced-level language course conducted in Spanish by Mexican professors. It meets for 45 contact hours over the course of the summer.

Contemporary Yucatán (Mandatory)
Contemporary Yucatan is a selected topics course. Course topics are based on current events in the Yucatan and Mexico. Standard topics include History of the 19th and 20th Centuries as well as Yucatan and the Caribbean, which help to prepare students for the program excursion to Cuba.

Please note that partcipants on this program may not cross-enroll in classes offered on the Medical Spanish and Public Health in the Yucatán program, which runs concurrently with this program.

University Info

What is the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán like?
The UADY is one of the top universities in Mexico. It is especially renowned for archaeology and anthropology, thanks to its location among many of Mexico’s most fascinating archaeological sites.

University Courses

Students on this program do not directly enroll at the Universidad Autónoma del Yucatán. All program classes are specially designed for IFSA-Butler students only. Program classes meet on the UADY campus and are taught by UADY faculty.


How will I register for courses?
Courses are subject to availability and enrollment minimums.

What are the registration conditions?
You must take a full course load as determined by IFSA-Butler, which is 6-9 U.S. semester credit hours for the summer. Credit will be awarded on a Butler University transcript based on a typical U.S. summer course load. Taking less than a full course load may jeopardize your student status and result in personal academic repercussions and/or loss of financial aid.

All courses are graded on an A–F scale, and there is no provision for pass/fail or auditing courses unless pass/fail is the only method of assessment for the course. Students are not allowed to register for on-line, distance education or hybrid courses. See the “Academics” and “Program Fees and Financial Aid” sections in Preparing to Study Abroad for more information.


What do I need to know about exams?
You are not permitted to reschedule exams, request alternate assessment or arrange to have your exams proctored in the United States. If this occurs, IFSA-Butler will not be able to assist you in conducting an academic record appeal on the class in which you made this arrangement. Additionally, all academic obligations, including final exams, must be complete before leaving Mexico.


How will my home university know what my classes were and what grades I received?
After you return to the U.S., IFSA-Butler will send a Butler University transcript to your home university. The transcript reflects the courses taken, credits attempted and grades earned at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán during your summer abroad. We will also send an official transcript to your permanent home address.

Academic Tutors

What if I need academic help during the semester?
In addition to the formal Spanish class, our program organizes tutoring sessions for students throughout the summer. These may be scheduled at various times during the week, when students meet with the tutor on an individual basis. Please meet with the IFSA-Butler resident staff if you would like the assistance of a tutor.


Housing Options

What are my housing options?
Study abroad is much more than academics. Learning takes place not only during class, but 24 hours a day. One of the best out-of-class experiences is the homestay, which is a vital, required component of the IFSA-Butler program. One IFSA-Butler student is placed with a carefully selected, program approved host family for the duration of the study abroad summer.


The program fee includes three meals per day.

Housing FAQs

Is my housing included in the program fee?
Yes. Your program fee includes accommodation with your host family while classes are in session and during short university breaks. If you are studying abroad for an entire year, you will need to find alternate housing during the semester breaks. You will be responsible for the any commuting costs you may incur.

When will I receive my housing assignment?
You will most likely receive your housing assignment one to two weeks before your departure. However, in some cases you may not receive your housing assignment until you arrive in Mexico for orientation. Your program advisor will notify you of your housing assignment via email when it is ready.

Please keep in mind that while IFSA-Butler guarantees housing, we cannot guarantee your preferences.

Do I have to pay a housing deposit?
This program does not require a housing deposit.

Can I arrange my own housing?
All students who participate on the Language and Cultural Studies in the Yucatán program must live with a program approved host family for the duration of the program.

Location Info

Living and Studying Abroad in Mérida, Mexico

About Mérida
Population: 800,000
Location: State of Yucatán on the far eastern edge of Mexico

City features

  • The capital and largest city of Yucatán
  • A tranquil yet cosmopolitan center of culture in southern Mexico
  • Compact size makes it easy to explore the city’s squares and markets
  • Relaxed attitude and student-friendly atmosphere
  • Colonial Spanish architecture adds to Mérida's beauty and personifies the city's long history
  • A Mayan influence that shows in the local language and dress
  • Free evening concerts and a thriving nightlife
  • 300 days of sunshine each year!

Do more!

  • Explore nearby Mayan ruins of Uxmal and Chichén Itzá
  • Take a day trip to the beach port of Progreso or a weekend getaway to Cancún and Cozumel
  • Commune with nature at the bioreserve 60 miles west of Mérida

Official site of the State of Yucatán
Yucatán Today

Dates & Fees

Program Dates

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Your program end date may change due to circumstances beyond IFSA-Butler's control. Upon arrival at your host university, be sure to verify your exam schedule and program end date. We also strongly recommend that you investigate fees and penalties associated with your airline tickets in case you need to make date or route changes.

Program housing is available only until the day shown on the calendar as “Program ends.”

Exams must be taken where and when scheduled. Under no circumstances may students request that an exam time be changed.

Program Fees

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What's included in our summer program fees
Expense calculator

Payment Due: May 15

Program Fee Bills
IFSA-Butler will send a single bill for the entire program fee, which includes tuition, services, housing and meals.

Each student lives with a carefully selected host family. The program fee includes three meals per day.

Personal Cost Estimates

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Expense calculator

These figures are designed to assist students with financial planning but are only estimates based on past students’ experiences at the current exchange rate. They do not include any entertainment or vacation travel costs.

The above numbers are general estimates of expenses during a program abroad. We recommend taking into account your current spending habits, the cost of living in your host country and the current exchange rate. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor can be helpful as you attempt to work on a personal budget for your experience abroad.

**Meals: The housing component of our program fee includes three meals per day.

Personal Miscellaneous: Covers general expenses of college life, including course supplies, photocopying, toiletries, snacks, personal care, etc.

Commuting: Estimates are for transportation between housing and university. Transportation for personal or recreational purposes is not included in the above estimates.

All costs are in U.S. dollars.

Meet Your IFSA-Butler Team

IFSA-Butler has a dedicated team of staff who are here to help prepare students for their program in Mérida:

jenniferProgram Advisor Jennifer McKibben assists with the application process and is here to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. Jennifer studied abroad in Costa Rica for a year through an IFSA-Butler program. After completing her undergraduate degree in Spanish at Butler University, she moved to Costa Rica for three years to immerse herself in the culture and pursue a Master’s degree in Spanish-English Translation at Universidad Nacional. She is very passionate about helping students have impactful, enriching experiences abroad. Jennifer currently advises students planning to study abroad in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru. She can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4264.

beckiStudent Accounts Coordinator Becki Niccum assists with the financial side of study abroad and processes payments and invoices. Becki can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-3077.


Student & Parent Services Manager Donnetta Spears is available to both students and parents for travel questions and information. Donnetta has worked with IFSA-Butler since 2000, and she has traveled through parts of Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. As the mother of 4 college students (one who has studied abroad too), she has a deep understanding of the ins-and-outs of study abroad from a parent perspective. Donnetta can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 4252.

Once abroad, our students are in the capable hands of our on-site office, including our resident director. Click here to read more about Resident Director Diana Arízaga.

rhondaUpon return from your study abroad program, Assistant Director for Academic Affairs Rhonda Hinkle processes your Butler University transcript and assists with any academic record appeals. Rhonda completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Evansville and received her master's degree from Bowling Green State University. She also has taken doctoral courses at Ball State University. For Rhonda, study abroad not only increased her awareness of the world around her but also ignited her passion for travel and education. Rhonda can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 4259.

Get Connected

Connect with IFSA-Butler Students

If you really want to know what it's like to study abroad, connect with IFSA-Butler alumni and students who are currently abroad on an IFSA-Butler program. Check out the following:

Student Network
Student Blogs
Experiences Abroad Videos
For Students

Field Work and Excursions

Students in the Introducation to Medical Spanish course will shadow medical professionals at a local clinic. Students will rotate among the the clinic's specialties (general medicine, orthopedics, nutrition, psychology, physical therapy and more) and write a journal of these experiences. At the clinic students will also put into practice their theoretical learning and will learn more about cultural differences in medicine.

In addition, numerous field excursions and cultural activities are included in the program fee:

  • Bus tour of Mérida
  • Mérida en Domingo / Biciruta and Museum of Mayan World
  • End of orientation visit to Progreso and Dzibilchaltun
  • Day trip to Ek-Balam and Valladolid
  • Day trip to Grutas de Tecoh
  • Day trip to Uxmal and Yaxcopoil

A five-day excursion to Cuba is also included in the program fee. The excursion is subject to change.

Institute for Study Abroad, Alliance For Global Education and MORE CULTURE. LESS SHOCK. are registered marks of the Institute for Study Abroad, Inc.