Centre In Mexico

 

Milton Reigelman

Internationalizing College Faculty Through Study Abroad

Milton Reigelman, Director of International Programs

In the last decade, virtually every college and university in the country has added “global citizenship” or “cross-cultural learning” or “international focus” to its mission and strategic plan. To support this new emphasis, faculties and administrators across the country have worked furiously to “internationalize” their curricula in various ways: by setting up programs in Islamic studies or world ecology, by sponsoring faculty travel seminars to foreign places, by requiring students to achieve “competence” in a foreign language and select one course from a list of courses that might include “Japanese Film,” “The European Union Today,” “The Latin American Novel,” etc.

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Study In the Yucatan

There are two options for studying abroad in Merida, Mexico, a vibrant, historic, and beautiful city on the Yucatan Peninsula, cradled between Mayan ruins and the Caribbean coast. The first is through Centre-in-the-Yucatan, and the second is through a small Spanish-immersion program at Marista University.

Centre-in-the-Yucatan

What makes this program unique?

1. Each student, as part of the required course, works at a site relevant to the student’s personal and professional interests, such as museums, schools, medical facilities, social organizations, the city government, or a business, etc. This means that the students’ learning and development are achieved through a personally determined experience and involvement in sites where they are immersed in local culture and where their language skills can improve dramatically.

2. All students are placed in homestays in upper-middle class families that have hosted Centre students for many years. Each homestay is handpicked by our on-site coordinator and matches the needs and preferences of students selected for the program. Students have access to modern bathroom and kitchen facilities and generally have their own bedroom. Mérida students universally regard this comfortable living arrangement as one of the things that make this program uniquely attractive. Their spoken language improves dramatically, and they come to regard their homestay family as a second family. Out of respect for the homestay families, students have a 2:00 a.m. curfew.

3. The Centre-planned and paid-for excursions around the Yucatan peninsula and to another area of Latin America are highlights of the program. Recent programs have spent a week in Cuba, an unforgettable experience in this time of transition for our Caribbean neighbor.

4. The American dollar goes much further in Mérida than it does in the U.S. Because the airfare to Mérida is much less than it is to other Centre sites, and because Centre spends about $1200 per student on Centre excursions, students have found this program to be a great value.

Dates

The fall 2017 program begins Saturday, September 9, and concludes thirteen weeks later on Saturday, December 9. The director will meet you at the Mérida airport (or at the hotel, if you come by bus from Cancun) when you arrive on September 10 and will arrange for your transportation back to the airport to make your return flight. The best time for visitors will be determined by the director. If you arrive early or stay late, you are responsible for finding and paying for a place to stay. The director or coordinator will be happy to provide advice on where to stay. You should not ask your homestay families to stay with them after the program officially ends.

The Spring 2018 program begins on Saturday, February 3, and concludes thirteen weeks later on Saturday, May 5. The director will meet you at the Mérida airport when you arrive on February 4 and will arrange for your transportation back to the airport to make your return flight. The best time for visitors will be determined by the director. If you arrive early or stay late, you are responsible for finding and paying for a place to stay. The director or coordinator will be happy to provide advice on where to stay. You should not ask your homestay families to stay with them after the program officially ends.

Cost

The comprehensive fee (for tuition & fees, room, and board) is the same as for study in Danville, except that (1) there is a $375 non-refundable deposit/surcharge due by March 15, and (2) students pay for their own airfare to and from Mérida, which currently costs $350-$700. Fifteen dollars of the deposit/surcharge will go into the Centre carbon mitigation fund; there will also be a $20 fee for the Travel Clinic, which all students studying abroad must attend. All financial aid arrangements in Danville continue in Mexico. Students with remaining loan eligibility are eligible to borrow additional money for educational expenses. Also, remember that you may be able to save some money by canceling your automobile insurance while away.

Note on Program Excursions
Centre spends about $1,200 per student on special opportunities for students in the Yucatan and in Mexico, including one extended excursion (often to Cuba). The first excursion typically occurs near the beginning of the program and introduces students to the Yucatan peninsula and its coastal regions. The second excursion typically occurs later in the program and introduces students to another area. Centre-in-the-Yucatan students often travel on their own in small groups after letting the director know where they will be and who they will be traveling with. Centre requires any student who wishes to travel overnight alone—without at least one other student—to have a parent e-mail the director giving permission.

Housing

In Mérida, students live with carefully selected Mexican families in middle-class or upper-middle-class neighborhoods. Each homestay is handpicked by our on-site coordinator and is matched according to the needs and preferences of students selected for the program. Students have access to modern bathroom and kitchen facilities and generally have their own bedroom. This arrangement has proven to be a highlight for Centre students in Mérida during the past few years. You will come to regard your homestay family as a second family.

Courses

Both fall and spring semesters will be directed by Professor Benjamin Knoll, Associate Professor of Politics. Prof. Knoll will accompanied by his wife, Katie, and their three daughters. Both Professor Knoll and his wife speak Spanish and both have extensive experience in Spanish-speaking environments. In addition, Professor Knoll has previously participated in Centre abroad trips and Katie has worked as a high school Spanish teacher and has lived in Panamá and Spain.
All students will take Contemporary Mexican Politics and Society, a 400-level Politics course. This course will provide an overview of the Mexican political and electoral system with a special focus on the 2018 Mexican presidential election. This course will also focus on other important contemporary political and societal issues in Mexico and U.S.-Mexican relations. This course will be taught in English with no prerequisites. It counts as an upper-level elective toward the Politics major and minor and also counts toward the Latin American Studies minor.

• All students also take a Spanish course at the appropriate level. Spanish majors may take a course in both language and literature:
Fundamentals (SPA 110) offered in fall only; spring students who have not had Spanish must take Spanish 110 for a grade in the fall at Centre.
Spanish 120 (offered in spring)
Intermediate Spanish (SPA 210/220)
Advanced Spanish Conversation (SPA 240)
Spanish American Culture (SPA 271)
20th-Century Latin American Literature (SPA 360)

• In addition, students take two of the following courses:

1. Ancient Maya Culture (ANT 451)
Students will learn the principles and processes behind the development of universal high culture, using the example of the ancient Maya. The course traces the cultural development of the Maya prior to the conquest by Europeans in the 16th century. Taught by Prof. Fernanda Suarez.
2. Human Ecology in the Yucatan (ENS 251)
What do humans need to live in a sustainable manner for generations to come? How do the actions of the human species limit this potential? This course will focus on the sustained needs for human population: food and fiber, shelter, water, and waste disposal. Students will consider how technology and the services of natural ecosystems collaborate to provide these services in the Yucatan and compare them to strategies used elsewhere. Taught by Prof. Eduardo Galicia.
3. Introduction to Political Ideologies (POL 120). An introduction to the major political ideologies that characterize Western liberal democratic political systems. This includes an intensive focus on the development of contemporary American liberalism and conservatism as well as recent variants of each. The current versions of these ideologies are investigated by applying the ideologies to issues and political discussions of today.
4. Merida’s Economy: Past, Present and Future (ECO 253/323). Merida is the cultural and financial capital of the Yucatan state. In this course, students will be introduced to Merida’s political, cultural, and economic history in order to understand the present state of Merida’s economy. Students will compare and contrast the economies of Merida and Mexico and analyze their economic and development challenges. Prerequisite: None for 253; ECO 110 for 323.

Application, Deadlines, & Requirements

• Students who have studied Spanish are given moderate preference, although students who have not studied Spanish are eligible as well. Students without any Spanish take Spanish 110 in Mérida in the fall, or in Danville if traveling in the spring. Failure to do so will result in being dropped from the spring program.
• The application process will be discussed during the three campus-wide informational meetings on November 21, November 29, and January 5.
• Applications for 2017-2018 due no later than noon, February 15, 2017.
• Students must pay the non-refundable deposit of $375 by March 15 to reserve their spot.

Marista University

Special Immersion Program at Marista

The Universidad Marista de Merida, with a student population of about 2,225, was founded in 1996 and is part of the Marist brotherhood congregation, a Catholic order founded in 1817 in France.

Students who want to improve their Spanish language skills should first seriously consider applying to the Centre-in-the-Yucatan program that runs fall/CentreTerm/spring in Merida, Mexico. In that long-standing and popular Centre program, all students do a homestay with a Spanish-speaking family and do a mini-internship in the community as part of their required course.

If you wish to apply to the Marista program, you must be independent and have very advanced Spanish speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing skills since all courses are taught in Spanish. Student applying to the immersion programs will also be vetted by our Spanish faculty.

Because the number of slots in the immersion programs are limited, you may apply at the same time to the Centre-in-the-Yucatan program in case you are not selected for an immersion program.

Dates

The fall 2017 program dates will be announced soon but will most likely begin in early August and conclude in mid-December.

Cost

The comprehensive fee (for tuition & fees, room, and board) is the same as for study in Danville, except that (1) there is a $375 non-refundable deposit/surcharge due by March 9 and (2) students pay for their own airfare to and from Mérida, which currently costs $350-$700. Fifteen dollars of the deposit/surcharge will go into the Centre carbon mitigation fund; there will also be a $20 fee for the Travel Clinic, which all students studying abroad must attend. All financial aid arrangements in Danville continue in Mexico. Students with remaining loan eligibility are eligible to borrow additional money for educational expenses. Also, remember that you may be able to save some money by canceling your automobile insurance while away.

Housing

As part of the Marista program, students live in a house with other international students.

Application, Deadlines, & Requirements

• Students must be independent and have very advanced Spanish speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing skills since all courses are taught in Spanish. Students applying to the immersion program will also be vetted by our Spanish faculty.
• The application process will be discussed during the three campus-wide informational meetings on November 21, November 29, and January 5. Students will apply online at https://aegis.centre.edu/fmi/webd/#StudyAbroadApp.
• Applications for 2017 are due no later than noon, February 15, 2017.
• Students must pay the non-refundable deposit of $375 by March 15 to reserve their spot.

Spend a semester in one of nine countries:

Chinese flagChina  British flag England  Scottish flagScotland
Japanese flagJapan Mexican flagMexico French flagFrance
Northern Ireland's flagNorthern Ireland Spanish flagSpainGerman flagGermany  

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