4 semesters of college-level Spanish or the equivalent
What does this mean?
- Fall: April 1—Extended to April 15
- Spring: October 15
YEAR OPTIONS: Students interested in calendar or academic year-long options should contact IFSA-Butler for deadlines, fees and more.
About Mérida Universities Program
In Mérida, Yucatán, explore how Mexico balances 21st century realities with the enduring influence of the pre-Hispanic Mayan empire. Through the Mérida Universities Program, which includes multi-day excursions to Mexico City and San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, you will interact with complexities of the local culture and learn how the Mayan influence is thread differently throughout Mexico.
Mérida Universities Program Benefits
- Live and learn in Mérida, a cozy, colonial city located about 20 minutes from the coast where they experience 300 days of sunshine per year
- Study the rich culture of the Yucatán and learn Spanish in one of Latin America's safest areas
- Cultural events and excursions, including a multi-day excursion to archaeological sites, Mexico City and San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas
- Enjoy free evening concerts and a thriving nightlife in a student-friendly atmosphere
- Study alongside local students at two outstanding universities:
- Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY)—UADY offers a large student body that benefits from the university's 15 faculties, research institute and 19 libraries
- Universidad Modelo—a private, smaller environment with great student facilities
- Give back to the community by volunteering with local organizations or UADY's student volunteer group Hoy en tu Comunidad
- Take part in a directed research project or public health concentration
- Academic tutoring available upon request throughout the semester
What our students say
Exploring My Mexican Identity in México
How Volunteering Abroad Changed Me
Monsters in Mexico – A Digital Story
The IFSA Difference
Academics at Mérida Universities Program
Our Mérida Universities Program provides semester and full-year programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY) and Universidad Modelo in stunning Mérida, Mexico, allowing you to study alongside local students and experience two types of Mexican higher education institutions.
The following IFSA courses are specially designed for our students and worth 3 U.S. semester credits each.
- Advanced Spanish and culture: Students will be placed into sections of this mandatory course following a placement test administered onsite.
- Exploring Yucatán: Community and Culture: This required course is designed to assist students in getting the most out of their study abroad experience through thoughtful and meaningful reflections, analysis and discussion of contemporary Mexico through key concepts such as community and interculturality.
- Directed Research: This option offers the chance undertake field research on a contemporary issue of your interest. Students interested in doing any research in Mérida must take this course and meet the following criteria: advanced Spanish proficiency, a research topic related to an available UADY faculty, and completion of the academic research project form (available from your program advisor).
As an IFSA student you complete your courseload with integrated classes at the UADY and/or Modelo, maximizing your immersion into local student life. Your program advisor can help you find the courses you need, but you may explore courses through the links below:
Note that if you have native or near—native Spanish reading and writing skills and would like to be considered for exemption from the Advanced level Spanish course, please speak with your Program Advisor
Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY):
- College of Social Sciences and Humanities (anthropology, archaeology, social communication, history, Latin American literature and tourism)
- Architecture (architecture, studio art, visual arts)
- Accounting and Business (accounting, marketing, international business, information technology administration)
- Economics (economics, international business)
- Medicine (nutrition, public health, rehabilitation)
- Nursing (nursing, social work)
- Look for a link to licenciaturas (majors) on the homepage of that department
- After clicking on licenciaturas, look for a link to "plan de estudio," "asignaturas," "mapa curricular" or "temarios." These are the lists of classes offered in that particular major. In some licenciaturas, you can click on the course title to see a course description or syllabus. This is not available for all departments.
- Click here for course syllabi from the College of Social Sciences and Humanities department.
- For course descriptions in the psychology department, click here and then select the "Plan de Estudios" PDF.
- Click here for business classes.
On the general Universidad Modelo course website you can find coursework related to:
- Law (also the faculty in which political science courses are offered)
- Ciencias de la Salud (the faculty where public health courses are offered)
We know finding courses you need is important in your decision to study abroad. If you are looking for a particular course, please contact your program advisor for more information.
Sample Enrollment (12-18 U.S. semester credit hours):
- IFSA Contemporary Issues in Public Health in the Yucatan (3 U.S. semester credit hours): As part of the course, students will participate in all Hoy En Tu Comunidad (UADY student organization with public health focus) field projects or do a service project at UADY’S Unidad de Inserción Social. Students will also visit a Mayan community to meet a midwife, a bonesetter, and an herbal doctor, among other related activities.
- 1-2 Health-related courses at the UADY (3 U.S. semester credit hours) which may include:
- Sports medicine
- Clinical psychology
- Tropical diseases
- Medical anthropology
- IFSA Mandatory Advanced Spanish course (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
- IFSA's Exploring Community and Culture program (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
- 1-2 additional courses at the UADY (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
Students who complete the concentration will receive a special mention from the UADY’s Facultad de Medicina.
The only UADY licenciaturas in which students are not allowed to take classes are: médico cirujano (Spring only) and químico farmaceútico biológico.
Students are only able to take one class in the Facultad de Medicina at UADY, which includes the licenciaturasof médico cirujano (Fall only), rehabilitación, and nutrición. This course must be related to any subject in life sciences. Additionally, students must express interest in specific courses before departure and will likely need to provide a resume in Spanish and short letter of interest. Program advisors will contact applicants about the deadline and requirements each semester.
While students can technically enroll in biology, veterinary medicine, and zoology, the UADY science campus is located two hours outside of Mérida, so it may not be practical to consider taking classes there.
- Ayuntamiento: Government-sponsored program providing English classes to disadvantaged communities in and around Mérida.
- Centro de Cultura del Niño Yucateco (CECUNY): Government agency that provides creative programming and workshops in dance, art, literature, chess, choir and music for children between the ages of four and 12.
- Colegio Americano: Private school with kindergarten through high school grades and an excellent English program.
- Colegio Renacimiento Primaria: School with preschool through middle school grades, including special education and a bilingual program; curriculum also focuses on science, technology and culture.
- Hoy en tu comunidad: A private organization supported by the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán organized for students from different colleges to provide medical care and public health eduction to communities in and around Mérida.
- Instituto para el Desarrollo de la Cultura Maya del Estado de Yucatán (INDEMAYA): Government agency designed to provide training and support for the Mayan communities in and around Mérida, as well as maintain and promote Mayan culture and language.
- Pronatura: Private organization that works to conserve the ecosystem of the Yucatán peninsula and promote a healthy relationship between society and nature.
- Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT): Governmental organization that Works with Mayan cooperatives to create and manage tourist sites in their communities.
- Unidad de Atención Sicológica, Sexológica y Educativa para el Crecimiento Personal (UNASSE): Human rights organization founded in 1987 with the goal of providing free support for a variety of legal and public health issues, including sexual abuse, violations of workers' rights, prevention and/or treatment of cancer and HIV/AIDS.
- Vida Familia A.C. (VIFAC): A not-for-profit organization that provides workshops for pregnant women which aim to teach them the skills they need to be self sufficient and provide a better quality of life for their children.
Housing & Meals
The IFSA Team
IFSA has a dedicated team who are here to help you prepare to achieve your goals. Feel free to reach out. We are happy to answer your questions!