Challenge your assumptions and study how Mexico balances the needs of a complex 21st-century society with an enduring, multi-ethnic legacy. Merida offers a case study of a country that has made great strides in providing, for example, a healthcare system that is more inclusive than many of its neighbors. The program facilitates intensive language study through coursework, cultural activities and optional immersive homestays. For students interested in pre-health sciences, global health becomes a lens through which Mexican politics, society and culture can be examined.
Adjust the Mérida program to fit your study interests, from total Spanish language immersion to study of content areas like biology, art and communications.
Academic offerings break down into two main areas. Mixing and matching is encouraged.
Considered the basis for the Mérida program, this course provides the cultural and historical context for understanding your study abroad experience in present-day Mexico with special reference to the state of Yucatán. Taught by the resident director, the course includes excursions, experiential activities, outside speakers and journal writing. Taught in English. (3 credits)
Connect the classroom with the world outside through academic excursions that link Yucatecan culture and history with coursework. Past excursions include:
Internships offer hands-on experience (3 credits) in a field related to majors or academic interests. Recent internships include:
Service-learning connects meaningful service opportunities with academic learning, personal growth and civic responsibility (1-2 credits). Recent service-learning opportunities include:
For those interested in health careers, the program helps students gain insights on this critical global issue. In its efforts to address major health challenges Mexico has innovated solutions, like a tax on sugary drinks, that other countries are seeking to emulate. Healthcare in Mexico becomes a lens through which students examine issues of inclusivity and equality in a complex, multi-ethnic society.
Through courses such as Healthcare in Yucatán (taught in English) and Spanish for Health Professionals (taught in Spanish) you will learn firsthand how health professionals work and speak.
The program in Mérida creates seemingly endless opportunities for students to connect with local life, from Spanish language partners who are Mexican peers, to homestays, to classes at affiliate universities, to internship and service-learning placements. Students build relationships with locals that open a window into Mexican culture and lead to lasting friendships.
While steeping her students in Mexican history, Valerie Grimsley gets students to think about their future. With a passion for human services, Valerie is a specialist in vocational rehabilitation, which comes in handy as she helps Central College students plan their careers. Valerie is a Central College alumna, and she attended the Mérida program twice while an undergraduate. She has lived in Mexico for over 20 years and has directed the Central College program in Mérida since 2008. Based on that experience, she works to tie the entire Mérida experience together, finding coursework that meets a student’s academic needs and language level.
Students on the Mérida program choose the living arrangements that make them the most comfortable. Yucátán State’s tranquil, safe atmosphere combines beautifully with the Central House’s residence-style living to make students feel at home. As a result of the choices offered to students and the support of Central’s staff in Mérida, students regularly report feeling safe during their time in the Yucátan, from start to finish.
Individualized attention to students distinguishes Central's resident directors from their peers. Starting long before arrival in Mérida, the director works individually with each student, coaching them to maximize their time abroad. Nothing is more central to the work of a resident director than giving students the support they need.
Holistic programming integrates academics, personal journey and intercultural learning. Program excursions are linked to coursework to help students gain the most complete understanding of the Yucátan possible, while building skills transferable to future experiences in cultures that are not their own. Guided by the resident director, students engage in intentional reflection to process and understand their personal experiences.
Before diving into cultural and language immersion, students benefit from an extensive orientation program that concentrates on the basics of Mexican culture and life in Mérida. Orientation includes language placement testing, preliminary advising and, if appropriate, lessons that prepare students to meet their homestay families.
Central College offers a pre-departure and re-entry course for credit. The course is led by faculty and staff and is designed to meet student’s needs at the various stages of preparing for (Pre-departure) and reflecting on (Re-entry) their time abroad.
Students choose to live with in the Central House, formerly a governor’s residence, or with Mexican host families that are interested in sharing their home, language and culture. Central’s staff in Mérida carefully review and select homestay families, and enjoy longstanding relationships with many of them. Meals are provided Monday-Friday for all students.
*Program dates are tentative. Do not purchase airline tickets based on these dates. Please check the official program calendar in your online acceptance account to confirm dates.
Central College students pay the same tuition rate for each of the international programs that they pay on the Central campus, plus the price for accommodations. In addition, students who transfer to Central College from another college or university must complete one semester at Central prior to participating in Study Abroad.