UCLA Travel Study

Mexico City: An American Crossroad

  • Dates


  • Location

    Mexico City, Mexico

  • Program Fee

    UC Undergrads: TBA

    UC Grad Students: TBA

    Visiting Students: TBA

    Fees are subject to change by action of the UC Regents: View full fee disclaimer

*Program not offered for summer 2022*

This program – a collaboration between the English and Spanish & Portuguese Departments – offers students the opportunity to explore Mexico in the American imagination. Mexico City, which the U.S. State Department considers to be as safe as Western Europe, is one of the great American metropoles. Students will be housed in the attractive La Condesa neighborhood. The courses consider the impact of Mexican and Mexican American literature and history on US Latinx identity using Mexico City as the primary catalyst of both contemporary chicanidad and transnational conceptions of “America.” Students have flexibility in choosing their curriculum, but all students will take at least one English Department course. Two tracks of Spanish language coursework will also be available: Spanish for Heritage Speakers and Beginning Spanish.  Completion of either language track will satisfy the UCLA Foreign Language Requirement.


Required Courses

All students are required to enroll in a minimum of 10 units from 2 courses.  If you select an elective Spanish language sequence (see Elective courses below), you will be enrolled  in 3 courses for 13 units.  All students will be required to take at least one of the following English courses:

  • ENGL 11 (5 units) and/or
  • ENGL M105A (5 units)

These courses will deepen your understanding of what it means to study culture, of the historical and geopolitical stakes of valuing certain forms of expression over others.  You will learn to reflect on your critical practice and to think about how your own definition of “America” is informed by living in the United States.  This program is an excellent foundation for further study of American (broadly defined) literature and culture and an ideal foundation for students considering careers with an international, American focus.

Elective Language Sequence Courses

Students may elect to substitute enrollment in a second English course with one of the following Spanish language tracks:

  • Curriculum I – Elementary (8 units)
    • SPAN 2A
    • SPAN 3A
  • Curriculum II – Spanish for Heritage Speakers (8 units)
    • SPAN 7A
    • SPAN 7B
Course Descriptions

English 11: Introduction to American Cultures (5 units)

This course is an introduction to the study of American cultures. What does America mean, and for whom does it mean these things?  How do American meanings shift over time and space? These are the central questions we will set out to answer this summer using Mexico City as our primary text supplemented with critical and creative American readings. In addition to being a General Education course open to all students, English 11 is required preparation to the American Literature and Culture major in the English department.

  • ENGL 11 fulfills UCLA GE Arts & Humanities: Literary & Cultural Analysis -or- Society & Culture: Social Analysis

English M105A: Early Chicana/Chicano Literature, 1400 to 1920 (5 units)

Enlgish M105A will explore how Mexican and U.S. history inform each other during the 19th century, asking why their conflicts form the basis of contemporary Chicana/o identity. It will conclude with the Mexican Revolution, which brings increased migration north, as well as the full-scale proletarianization and racialization of Mexicans in the United States. By the end of this course you will have a basic understanding of the historical forces shaping Chicana/o culture, the literary ways in which Chicanas/os have responded to these forces, and a solid grounding for further courses in Chicana/o Studies.

  •  ENGL M105A fulfills the Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability and Sexuality Studies requirement for English majors
  • ENGL M105A fulfills the Identities area requirement for American Literature and Culture majors
Elective Language Sequence Courses

Spanish 2A & 3A: Intensive Spanish (Elementary) (8 units)**

Prerequisite: One-quarter of college-level Spanish with a grade of B or better, or 1 year of high school Spanish with a grade of A- or better, or placement exam.

Spanish 2A and 3A are introductory courses in Spanish language and culture. The approach is proficiency-oriented, communicative and task-based in order to help you develop communicative competence in all four skill areas (listening, speaking, reading and writing) as well as cultural competence. Spanish 2 and 3 are conducted completely in Spanish.

Spanish 7A & 7B: Spanish for Heritage Speakers (Introductory & Intermediate) (8 units)**

Spanish 7A and 7B are designed for individuals raised in Spanish-speaking environments who wish to develop their communication skills, increase familiarity with grammatical structures, and satisfy the UCLA foreign language requirement. Coursework is tailored to meet the unique needs of heritage speakers.

**Students completing either Curriculum I (Spanish 2A/3A) or Curriculum II (Spanish 7A/7B) will receive credit for 3 of the 5 required courses for the English Department foreign language requirement and will satisfy the College’s Level 3 requirement of a foreign language.

Optional Fee-Bearing Courses

English 197 or 199 (4 units each)

Individual Studies or Directed Research with faculty supervision. If desired, students may choose to enroll in ENG 197 and/or ENG 199 courses in addition to the two English courses. There is an additional fee for these optional courses. Students can enroll in optional courses by submitting the Optional Course Registration Form, as well as proof of instructor consent, to info@ieo.ucla.edu. You can enroll up until the Friday of the second week of your program.


All schedules, itineraries, and group activities are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.

Classes generally do not meet on Saturdays and Sundays, with the exception of one mandatory overnight excursion on a Friday-Saturday.


You are responsible for purchasing your own books once the final reading list is confirmed. We strongly suggest you read as much of the material as possible before you depart. The following books are examples of those typically required for the program.  Additional readings not included in these books will be available in a course reader at Ackerman and for download on CCLE.

  • Keywords for American Cultural Studies (Burget and Hendler)
  • The Account (Cabeza de Vaca)
  • The Lieutenant Nun (Erauso)
  • The Squatter and the Don (Ruiz de Burton)
  • Twin Time (Gonzalez Peña)
  • Massacre in Mexico (Poniatowska)

Budget and Financial Aid

Budget UC Undergrads UC Grad Students Visiting Students
Program Fee TBA TBA TBA
Textbooks (estimate) $150 $150 $150
Airfare (estimate) $800 $800 $800
Meals (estimate) $500 $500 $500
Spending Money (estimate) $800 $800 $800

Program fee includes registration and course fees, accommodations, some meals, program excursions and health insurance.

Airfare, textbooks, optional courses, other meals, optional excursions, and any COVID-19 testing required for travel are additional.

Fees are subject to change by action of the UC Regents. View full fee disclaimer.

Document Fee

Non-UCLA students will be charged a $50 Document Fee. This is a one-time document fee which covers fees for first-class mailing of official transcripts, diploma and much more. Please visit the Registrar’s Office Website for more information. Matriculated UCLA Students: Please visit the Registrar’s Office Website for document fee information.


All undergraduate students will be charged a $61 IEI fee per summer. The IEI (Instructional Enhancement Initiative) fee is a course materials fee that is charged in order to support the use of technology in undergraduate education at UCLA. For more information please click here.


We recommend that you budget accordingly to cover optional sightseeing, laundry, internet cafes, emergencies, etc.  How much to budget depends on your travel, entertainment, and souvenir choices. It is always best to overestimate your spending. Take the time to research the cost of living in your destination and the activities you want to participate in while abroad.

Purchasing Airfare

Please do not purchase airfare until instructed to do so by your Travel Study Program Coordinator.

Optional Course Fee
Optional 199 UC Undergrads UC Grad Students Visiting Students
Course Fee TBA per unit TBA per unit TBA per unit

Fees are subject to change by action of the UC Regents. View full fee disclaimer.

Financial Aid

Financial aid for Travel Study programs is available to qualified UCLA students. All other students should inquire about financial aid at their home institution. For details about the financial aid application process, please visit the Financial Aid section of this website.

On Location


Students will stay in double placements in a hotel located in the La Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City.  La Condesa is a safe area with access to many restaurants, green space, and within walking distance to museums and historic sites in Chapultepec Park.

UCLA Travel Study reserves the right to change housing locations. Should this be necessary, we will arrange comparable accommodations elsewhere.


Information about meals coming soon.  There will be 2-4 group meals included in the cost of the program, but most meals will be at your own expense. Students will have shared kitchenette access.

If you have strict dietary requirements, this program may not be able to accommodate your needs. Please let us know when you apply for this program if you have special dietary needs as well as any physical or medical conditions. We will advise you accordingly.


This program includes several excursions as part of its curriculum.  In Mexico City, students may visit some of the following sites: el Centro Histórico, el Palacio Nacional, Parque Ecológico de Xochimilco, Templo Mayor, Bosque de Chapultepec,  el Museo de Antropológico, el Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), and el Museo Frida Kahlo. 

This list is subject to change, and a full schedule of excursions will be available at a later date.

Free time is built into this program for independent sightseeing. If you plan on traveling extensively, we recommend that you budget additional spending money.