Oaxaca, Mexico - Development, Culture and Social Change

Study Abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico

Fall Semester Program

Designed for advanced Spanish language students with an interest in Latin American Studies, this unique semester program explores the intersection of development, culture, and social change through the lens of the dynamic and evolving context of contemporary Mexico. Located in the southwestern Mexican state of Oaxaca – declared “Humanity’s Cultural Patrimony” by the United Nations – the program explores and affirms the rich diversity of contemporary Mexican society and culture. It engages the issues that challenge the country’s continued growth and establishes a foundation to understand the history of U.S./Mexico relations and the Mexican experience in the United States. Ultimately, the program strives to build knowledge and understanding of one of the United State’s closest yet least understood neighbors.

Focus

Spanish Language, Latin American Studies, development and social justice.

Courses

Students earn 16-17 credits.

Required Intensivo (4 credits)
Session I:
HISP 301/401

Electives (up to 13 credits)
Session I:
PHED: Salsa (1)

Session II: 8 credits
ANTH 387: Mexican Anthropology 1909-2004 – SO (4 credits)
SOCI 377: Oaxacan Society – SO (4 credits)
HIST 377: History of Mexico in Oaxaca – SO (4 credits)
HISP 401: Advanced Grammar and Composition – C (4 credits)
HISP 433: Special topic – LT (4 credits)
PLU Assistant Professor, Giovanna Urdangarain (Fall 2014)
UPS Professor, Josefa (Pepa) Lago Graña (Fall 2015)

Session III: 4 credits
ARTD 387: Oaxacan Arts – AR (4 credits)
COOP 477: International Work Experience* (4 credits)

List of Organizations

*Departmental credit may be arranged.

Faculty

Students take Spanish courses from the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca. The courses offered in Session II are taught by Oaxacan experts of their field. HISP 433 is taught by the PLU or UPS faculty Site Director.

Pacific Lutheran University awards all credits earned in this program. Semester-long study away programs fulfill PLU’s Cross Cultural Diversity requirement.

Fall Study Tours

Group Study Tours deepen knowledge of Mexico’s past as well as nuance and complicate students’ knowledge of pressing issues facing Mexico today. Oaxaca Program participants visit World Heritage archeological sites and museums as well as engage in meetings and dialogues with community, nonprofit, union and government leaders, Mexican scholars, artists, and intellectuals to learn about topics that include: U.S. Mexico relations, the impact of neo-liberal trends in both the urban and rural sector; push/pull factors impacting migration and related Human Rights and Social Justice issues; the tension between diverse identities (ethnic, gender, racial, class) and national identity, among others. The program places special emphasis that underscores the agency, creativity, entrepreneurship and effectiveness of grassroots efforts to respond to these and other challenges.

Homestay

You will live with a host family where you will be fully immersed in the Spanish language and Oaxacan culture. You will join your family for two meals a day. You are provided with a monthly stipend for the third meal, which gives you the freedom to eat locally.

Program Fee

The PLU comprehensive fee for Fall 2015 covers this academic experience (instruction and academic credit, housing and meal stipend, study tours, study abroad insurance, and visa fees). Financial aid applies.

Out-of-pocket Expenses

Roundtrip air travel, books, personal excursions, and other miscellaneous expenses are not included in program cost.

Global Scholar Award

All PLU Gateway & Featured Programs are Global Scholar Award eligible. This need-based award can cover out-of-pocket expenses up to $2,500 on PLU Gateway and Featured semester programs.

For non-PLU students, please check with your home institution or sponsoring study abroad organization on program cost.

Contact Us

Tamara Williams
Professor Hispanic Studies
Director, Oaxaca Program
williatr@plu.edu
253-535-7678

Tanya Ulsted
Study Away Coordinator & Gateway Programs Manager
ulstedtj@plu.edu
253-535-7628

Pre-requsisites

Sophomore, junior, or senior standing. Students must have a minimum 3.0 or higher G.P.A. Must be a student in good standing. Language prerequisite: Completion of Spanish 202, preferably 301, at PLU or the equivalent.

Demonstrated interest in one of the following: Latin American Studies and/or Mexican history, politics, economic development, and culture; Environmental Studies, Global Studies, Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, Latino Studies, International Relations, cross-cultural education, literacy, international law, public policy/administration

All courses are taught in Spanish.

Application Deadline

Completed application materials are due to the Wang Center by March 13, 2015 for Fall 2015. A $50 non-refundable deposit is due with the application. A $250 non-refundable program payment to confirm participation is required within 10 days of acceptance.

Application Components

  • Typed and signed application form
  • Short essays
  • 2 recommendation forms (1 faculty, 1 professional)
  • Copy of passport ID page
  • Application fee

Note: Applications for Fall 2015 will be available in January 2015.

Newsletter

Check out this newsletter (in Spanish) from the Fall 2014 Oaxaca group.

Find us on Facebook
Check out the Oaxaca Program’s Fall 2014 Facebook page for frequent updates (including photos and videos!) from the group.

Student Experience
Visit these blogs by PLU students, Sydney and Ellie, to keep up with their experiences in Oaxaca during Fall 2014.

Photo Gallery
Check out our Flickr Photo Gallery to see pictures from past participants in the Oaxaca program.

Bringing it Home
After studying in Oaxaca and returning to conduct research through a Wang Center Research Grant, alum Saiyare Refaei spearheaded the Parkland Community Mural Project to connect PLU with the local community.

Reflections on the Program
Learn about PLU student Alexis Stauffer’s experience studying in Oaxaca during Fall 2012 as a Hispanic Studies and Global Studies double major.

Immigration Rights Advocacy
Oaxaca alum Brian Erickson (2009) was recently quoted in an El Paso Times article on immigration rights. Brian currently works as a Policy Advocate for the ACLU of New Mexico’s Regional Center for Border Rights and recently spoke at the Wang Center’s 2014 Legacies of the Shoah Symposium.

Oaxaca Alum Discovers New Species
After studying away and receiving a Wang Center Research Grant, Reed Ojala-Barbour (2011) recently discovered a new mammal species while completing a Fulbright in Ecuador. Learn more about Reed’s work.

Alumni Stories
Check out what Oaxaca program alums, Carrie, Gai-Hoai and Jake did after PLU and how their experiences in Oaxaca impacted their vocational path.

Program Highlights

  • Fall Semester program (mid-August to mid-December)
  • Spanish language intensive
  • Host family
  • Study Tours to Mexico City, local villages and more
  • PLU/UPS faculty on-site
  • Internship option