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Merida: Language, History, and Culture in the Yucatan
Merida, Mexico (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Spring,
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Restrictions: DePaul University applicants only
Click for Tuition + Program Fee Spring Quarter,
Winter Quarter
Dates / Deadlines:
Thank you for your interest in this program! We are not currently accepting applications. In general, applications open about 6 months before program application deadlines.
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Term-long Academic Level: Undergraduate
Recommended GPA: 2.5 Living Arrangements: Homestay
Language of Instruction: English, Spanish Liberal Studies Domain: EL
Program Description:

Immerse yourself in Mexican culture by studying Spanish and engaging in community service in Mérida, México. The Mérida program is centered around community engagement and service-learning, in addition to Spanish language learning. Mérida students lead educational activities for local public school children, take Spanish language and culture classes, and live in homestays.

This program is designed to offer an immersive experience that heightens students' critical understanding of the history and life of Mexicans, particularly as it relates to this region of the country. Students will study Spanish, community engagement, and another course taught by a DePaul professor who accompanies the group. In addition to class sessions, students will also participate in a number of excursions in and around Mérida that complement their coursework and highlight the uniqueness of the region.

Mérida, México is the state capital of the Yucatán, located in southeastern México. The Spaniards established this capital in 1542 among the empty buildings of a Mayan classic city called Tiho or Ichcaanziho, renaming it Mérida after a city of Roman ruins in Spain. Mérida is a beautiful city that displays the richness of the dynamic between the Mayan and Spanish colonial history in the region. As one of the centers of the Mayan people, Mérida sits minutes away from some of the world's most incredible anthropological sites, such as Chichen Itza, a major Mayan city; and Tulum, the site where the first Spaniards shipwrecked and encountered the Yucatec Mayans in 1511. The city is home to a major national university and several important regional museums. The natural beauty of world-renowned beaches, including Cancún and Progreso, along the nearby coastline accentuates the historical, anthropological, and cultural wealth of this region and city.

DePaul SoJournal article Reflecting on Chiapas 2016 by Nicole Grinbarg
DePaul SoJournal article Everything You Would Possible Need to Know for Studying Abroad in Merida by Nicole Grinbarg
Washington Post article about Merida: "Mexico beyond the drug violence"
Merida Yucatan by DescargaBuroCreativo

Study Abroad Diaries: Mérida, México by Parker Asmann:


In Winter 2018, the program will be led by Dr. Rocío Ferreira, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Programs in the Department of Modern Languages. Her main areas of teaching and research include nineteenth and twentieth century Spanish-American, Brazilian, and Andean literature, feminist theory, and women's studies. Dr. Ferreira has led the Madrid study abroad program several times in the past and she has extensive experience in the Yucatán Peninsula.

Students earn 16 quarter hours of credit: eight credits in Spanish language, four credits in Community Service Studies (taught in English), and four credits for a course taught by DePaul faculty member (usually taught in Spanish, but may be taught in English depending on the year). The following courses are required:
Four required classes DePaul Equivalency Credits per course
Spanish Language Courses: SPN 198/ SPN 298/ SPN 398 Principiante/Básico I --> SPN 198
Principiante/Básico II --> SPN 198
Intermedio I --> SPN 298
Intermedio II --> SPN 398
Avanzado I --> SPN 398
Avanzado II --> SPN 398
8 credits (2 courses)
CSS 201/CSS 390: Critical Community Engagement Experiential Learning (EL) 4 credits
Spanish 317 Arts and Litertaure (AL) 4 credits

Spring Quarter Service Internship Option
A select number of students have the option of staying in Mérida for the Spring quarter and conducting a service learning internship while continuing their Spanish language study. Coordinated by the Steans Center for Community-based Service Learning and DePaul University's local program director in Mérida, students will remain in Mexico until June to work in a credit-bearing internship with local community organizations with which DePaul has formed relationships. Participants will augment their internship by taking language courses to strengthen their language skills and enhance their learning during the internship. Students who wish to participate in the Winter/Spring Option must have at least Spanish 104 or demonstrate proficiency above this level before going to Merida.

Students will, therefore, take a total of 12 DePaul credits during the Spring quarter component. Eight credits (two courses) will be in Spanish language, while the remaining 4 credits will be for the internship. The following courses will be offered during the Spring quarter:

Four required classes DePaul Equivalency Credits per course
Spanish Language Courses: SPN 198/ SPN 298/ SPN 398 Principiante/Básico I --> SPN 198
Principiante/Básico II --> SPN 198
Intermedio I --> SPN 298
Intermedio II --> SPN 398
Avanzado I --> SPN 398
Avanzado II --> SPN 398
8 credits (2 courses)
CSS 395: Community Internship: Mérida Experiential Learning (EL) 4 credits

To apply to this program, students must submit two (2) academic recommendation forms from faculty familiar with your academic work (one must be from a Spanish language instructor).


Students live with Mexican host families from a variety of backgrounds and professions. This allows them to practice Spanish learned in class and to gain a unique insight into Mexican culture and lifestyle. Hosts are carefully screened and most have hosted students for years. The housing coordinator in Merida arranges placements, based on information students provide about their needs and preferences. The homes are located close to the university. Three meals per day are included in the program fee.

All students participating in study abroad will be charged both tuition (billed at the regular DePaul tuition rate, based on the number of credits enrolled) and a program fee. Click for the Winter quarter fee or the Spring quarter fee for your program. Please read the program fee details carefully to understand exactly what is included, as this can vary from program to program. If the program fee is posted, be sure to note whether the fee is current or from a previous year (past program fees may serve as a guide until the current program fee is available). If the current program fee has not yet been posted, please check back closer to the application deadline. Read the details carefully to understand exactly what is included. Please also note the withdrawal policy.

If you are planning to study abroad and do not have a passport, apply for one immediately. Some programs require students to obtain student visas. In that case, contact the country's local consulate or embassy for up-to-date instructions. As of this publication, students on the Mérida program who are U.S. citizens traveling on a U.S. passport DO NOT need a visa. To find out more information about the visa process for your select country(ies), visit our Visa Information Page. Please note that visa requirements can change quickly. Study Abroad will update this website to reflect changes as they become available.

DePaul University is committed to student safety. Although Mexico has been put on the State Department Travel Warning list at the country-level, the areas in which DePaul operates study abroad programs are considered by the State Department to be stable and safe. Click here for the complete report. Please note that much of the warning is about the northern regions of Mexico along the U.S.-Mexico border, so make sure to scroll down the page to the section on the state of Yucatán, in which Mérida is located. More than 7,000 U.S. students study abroad in México annually (IIE, Open Doors). If students or their parents have any questions regarding the safety of study abroad in México, please call our office at 312-362-6962.


Questions about this program? Contact Martha McGivern at martha.mcgivern@depaul.edu or visit during open advising hours.

Contact program alumni to learn about the student experience:
Name Email Term Attended
Emily Becker emilybecker94@gmail.com Winter 2017
Johnetta Davis johnetta01@gmail.com Winter 2017
Karla Velasco karla_velasco@rocketmail.com Winter 2017

DePaul University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or handicap in admissions, employment, or the provision of services. Inquiries regarding this policy should be addressed to the Director of Human Resources, 1 East Jackson Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60604.

Circumstances, such as an unexpected event abroad or a curriculum change, may require DePaul University to make changes to the program. DePaul University reserves the right to cancel or alter programs and courses without notice.

This program is currently not accepting applications.