Summer study abroad: students are Merida bound
May 13, 2010 By Cindy Long
around the country. Here, the female students taking part in last
fall's Centre-in-Merida program pose during such an outing.
Even studying is more relaxing in Merida, where students tend to
hold study groups in hammocks.
The day after Centre College’s 2010 commencement, seven students will be winging their way to Merida, Mexico, for the first-ever summer abroad trip to the Yucatan capitol.
During this three-week program, students live in the homes of local residents and take a course on the culture and history of the rich Mayan region. Although short in duration, the trip is packed with educational activities, making it the perfect study abroad opportunity for students who can’t take a regular semester-long or CentreTerm (Centre’s unique three-week winter term) trip.
Along with anthropology professor Dr. Phyllis Passariello, students will explore ancient Mayan cities, study the folk culture of the Yucatan region, and be introduced to the unique ecology of the Yucatan peninsula including its many caves, underground rivers, estuaries, cenotes, and both the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Ocean.
According to Passariello, the trip will differ from the semester-long residential trip in a variety of ways.
"The students will all live with me in the large director's house," Passariello says. "I will be, in effect, the 'homestay' mother/family, providing lodging and all meals for the students, as well as being the academic program director. This is my own choice, since I know the Yucatan and Merida very, very well, and also, I like to cook, and I plan to incorporate some local 'foodways' study into the program.
"As a former Governor's Scholars Program (GSP) instructor, I have in my mind the GSP model: a kind of total immersion, not only in Yucatec culture and ecology, but also a 'learning immersion' situation, where we all live and learn together," Passariello continues. "We are, in effect, all students, together, in an intense learning community."
(Centre has been a host for The Governor's Scholars Program since 1983, bringing outstanding high school seniors to campus for five weeks of intellectual and social exploration. Watch for stories beginning in June!)
Other early summer study abroad options include three-week trips to Strasbourg, France; an archeological dig at the site of Cana of the Galilee in Israel—also new this year—with religion professor Dr. Tom McCollough; and numerous other destinations available through the Kentucky Institute for International Studies (KIIS) Summer Programs including Argentina, Austria, Brazil, China, Costa Rica and many others.
Centre is committed to transforming its students into global citizens, and this commitment has led to the College being ranked No. 7 in the nation in the 2010 U.S. News & World Report college rankings for percentage of students who study abroad.
For more on Centre study abroad programs, click here.