merida photo
I loved my Spanish classes because they were flexible, taught by an unbelievable professor, and they were multifaceted – there were a variety of opportunities to practice our Spanish in different situations.
– Emily Madsen
Drake University


Each Central program offers an in-depth orientation that will acclimate students to the country's language and culture as they get a feel for their new environment.

Merida orientation

Get to know your surroundings by beginning your semester abroad with a full orientation led by your resident director. Your week-long orientation is designed to give you the tools to begin to explore your new home in Merida. During this time, you will learn how to use the public transportation system, visit the historic “centro” or downtown area of Merida, get to know fellow students and finalize registration for classes.

Cultural excursions

Activities and excursions are an integral part of the program, connecting students to the community and Yucatecan culture. These excursions, facilitated by the resident director, speak to the cultural learning and understanding you’ll gain in your courses. Recent excursions include:

  • Visits to the Mayan ruins at Uxmal, Chichen Itza and Maypan
  • Exploration of colonial history at hacienda
  • Witnessing Mayan knowledge of the universe come to life during the spring or fall equinox sunrise at Dzibilichaltun
  • Observing Mayan customs and culture co-exist with tourism, immigration and globalization in chiapas (fall only)
  • Discussing the challenges of establishing bicultural reserves at Kiuic
  • Five-day trip to Mexico City, one of the world's largest metropolitan areas, to examine historical and archaeological sites, visit the world famous Museum of Anthropology and several sites related to the filming of Mexico's telenovelas (beginning spring 2015)

What's included

Program excursions include transportation and entry fees. Day trips may also include guides, some meals or bag lunch prepared by host families or Central House (depending on student housing). Weekend and week-long excursions include transportation, entry fees, lodging, meals or meal-stipend, and guide.

Outside of planned program excursions, many students choose to explore on their
own, either over the weekend or during a semester break. In the past, students visited
various haciendas throughout the Yucatan, as well as villages in the nearby state of
Campeche. Whether it’s swimming with the sharks in Holbox, touring an ecological
reserve in Calakmul, spending a weekend on a Caribbean beach at Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum, there are many options — most within a day’s travel time.