Summer Travel Study

Spanish: Spanish in the Mexican Context

  • Dates

    TBA: Summer 2020

  • Location

    Mérida, Mexico

  • Program Fee

    UC Undergrads: TBA

    UC Grad Students: TBA

    Visiting Students: TBA

    Fees are subject to change by action of the UC Regents.

Spend a summer in one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico! Mérida is one of Mexico’s safest and cleanest cities and provides the perfect setting for your study of Spanish language or Mexican literature. The streets of Mérida are lined with colonial mansions and you can still take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage.

Mérida’s residents, who are proud of their colonial roots and their Mayan heritage, will welcome you warmly as they host you and invite you to enjoy the celebration of their cultural pride. You will participate in a number of cultural excursions to the most important Mayan ruins, the Yucatecan cenotes, and protected wildlife reserves. Mérida is a half hour from the sea and features a tranquil lifestyle with all of the modern-day conveniences.

Its cultural offerings, size, and safe character make Mérida the perfect place to study the Spanish language and Mexican culture, as well as Pre-Hispanic and modern Mayan culture.

This program also includes a multi-day excursion to the Caribbean coastline to visit the Mayan ruins of Tulum, among other cultural attractions.


Program Courses

All students will enroll in one of the following curriculums while attending the program:

  • Curriculum I – Elementary (8 units)
    • SPAN 2A
    • SPAN 3A
  • Curriculum II – Intermediate (8 units)
    • SPAN 4
    • SPAN 5
  • Curriculum III – Advanced (8 units)
    • SPAN 150
    • SPAN 170

Course Descriptions

Curriculum I

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.

Curriculum II

Spanish 4 & 5: Intensive Spanish (Intermediate) (8 units)

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

Spanish 4 and 5 emphasize advanced conversation and include a review of major grammatical points and vocabulary expansion. Courses cover reading and writing skills as well.

Curriculum III

Spanish 150 & 170: Mexican Identity: Literature & Culture (8 units)

Prerequisite: Spanish 25 or 27, or placement exam (or the equivalent for Non-UCLA students).

These courses are an intensive study of representative works of Mexican narrative (essay, short story, and novel) analyzed within social, political, and historical frameworks with focus on themes of conquest, revolution, and identity, as well as the culture of Mexico through the examination of philosophy, history, art, music, dance, film and architecture. You will approach existing models of interpretation critically, and generate ideas with respect to cultural diversity and Mexican identity. We will analyze the literary and cultural production from ancient civilizations to the present as expressions of a complex, multifaceted and multicultural identity.


Grades are based on attendance, class participation, journals, and examinations. The instructor reserves the right to vary this format.


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


You are responsible for purchasing your own textbooks.

Budget and Financial Aid

Budget UC Undergrads UC Grad Students Visiting Students
Program Fee TBA TBA TBA
Textbooks (estimate) $150 $150 $150
Airfare (estimate) $1000 $1000 $1000
Meals (estimate) $500 $500 $500
Spending Money (estimate) $500 $500 $500

Program fee includes registration and course fees, accommodations, 3 meals a day, and program excursions.

Airfare, textbooks, optional courses, other meals and optional excursions are additional.

Fees are subject to change by action of the UC Regents.

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.

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.


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.

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

To maximize the language immersion experience, students will reside with local families in Mérida. Host families are well acquainted with receiving foreign students in their homes. Students will use widely available public transportation to travel to class.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided as part of the homestay. If you have strict dietary requirements, this program may not be able to accommodate all your needs. Please let us know when you apply for this program if you do have special dietary needs as well as any physical or medical conditions. We will advise you accordingly.

Tentative Excursions
The program includes substantial cultural excursions, including such world-renowned sites as Uxmal, Chichen-Itza, Celestun, Izamal, and a multi-day excursion to the Caribbean coastline to visit Tulum and Xcaret. 

Originally constructed on Mayan ruins, Mérida was the center of prosperity during the 19th-century hacienda boom. In the historic center, you will find one of the oldest cathedrals in Mexico dating back to the colonial period as well as the Municipal Palace, destroyed and rebuilt after the Yucatan’s surge for independence in the 19th century. You will be able to visit the mansions and elegant Paseo de Montejo and appreciate the elaborate architecture that reflects the prosperity of the owners of the henequen haciendas. Throughout Mérida, you will be surrounded by the rich Mayan cultural heritage and the Mayan languages still spoken. Mérida is a city that delights in the celebration of its roots and you will be able to enjoy Mérida en Domingo, las Vaquerias, las Serenatas and other weekly celebrations throughout the city.