Transatlantic Studies in Merida, Mexico


Merida, Mexico

Transatlantic Studies in Merida, Mexico


Study the history and influence of Spain on Mexico and earn 3 credits for a Spanish major or minor
Location: Merida, Mexico
Language of Instruction: Spanish
Term: Winter Break
Academic Disciplines: Spanish
Program Type: Faculty-led
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

  • Complete SPAN 346, a required course for the Spanish major and minor
  • Live with a host family
  • Participate in cultural activities

Mérida is the capital of the Yucátan state and has a population of around one million. The area is rich in history of the indigenous Mayan people and filled with colonial architecture. It’s also a modern city with several universities and important museums. During January, Mérida will be celebrating the anniversary of the city (founded in 1542) and there will be many performances, including dance, music, and theater. Outside of Mérida there are Mayan architectural sites, Spanish haciendas, biodiverse natural reserves, and cenote swimming holes.

This faculty-led program allows students to earn 3 credits of Spanish major and minor credit while living with a host family and exploring the local sites of interest to learn more about the history of the region and the influences across continents. KU Study Abroad & Global Engagement is partnering with CIEE, a study abroad provider, to offer this program.

All students on the program will enroll in SPAN 346: Transatlantic Hispanic Cultures (3 credits). This course is a requirement for both the Spanish major and minor. Students will have two class sessions prior to their departure for Mérida and one after returning.

While in Mexico, the group will have class during the week at the CIEE Yucatan Center. The KU faculty director will teach the course and there will be a couple invited lecturers as well as cultural activities to deepen the understanding of the classroom content.

CIEE will match students with a homestay family. There will be two or three students per homestay in individual rooms. The homestay will include breakfast and dinner as well as internet access.

Classes will take place weekdays at the CIEE Center and students will take public transportation or taxis to arrive. In addition to a couple of invited lecturers, there will be several cultural activities to complement learning. It’s planned that the group will visit the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, which holds more than 1,000 Mayan artifacts and a henequen hacienda, where the fiber was made into ropes and other products. Additionally, a weekend excursion to Chichen Itzá and Valladolid is planned. Chichen Itzá, located near Valladolid, is one of the most famous pre-Columbian cities built by the Maya and was named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World by UNESCO.

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Additional Resources

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

Open to KU students who will have successfully completed SPAN 324 and SPAN 328 by the time of the program. The minimum GPA requirement is a 2.5, though exceptions are considered after submitting a petition.

KU partners with CIEE to offer this program and CIEE requires that all participants are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Rafael Acosta, Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, will lead the program in 2023. Professor Acosta is originally from Mexico and his research focuses on comparative literature between Mexico and the U.S. He has previously led study abroad programs to Argentina and Spain.

Watch a video from Professor Acosta with information about the program.

Read more about Mérida from Mexican Tourism. The City of Mérida also has information about the city and events occurring. Keep an eye on that website for updated information for MéridaFest 2023.

Passport and entry requirements

All U.S. citizens must have a valid passport to enter Mexico. The U.S. Department of State recommends it's valid for six months beyond the return date. No tourist visa is required. For students who need to apply for an adult passport, please view the processing times and apply for one soon. KU Study Abroad & Global Engagement has a Passport Center where students can apply for a U.S. passport.

Non-U.S. citizens are responsible for understanding their entry requirements. Be in touch with KU Study Abroad with questions.