Yucatan, Mexico

January in Yucatan

Study Mayan History, Culture and the Environment
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Information for term January in Yucatan

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

The application deadline has passed.

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Dates: Dec 27, 2022 – Jan 16, 2023
  • Credit: 3 semester hours / 4.5 quarter hours
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA


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Spend your January immersing yourself in the Yucatán Peninsula’s magnificent biodiversity and Latin America’s largest indigenous culture. This three-week winter program is the perfect opportunity to develop your Spanish language proficiency while you discover the ancient Mayan civilization. Your home base is Mérida - a gorgeous colonial city filled with brightly colored buildings and clean, tree-lined streets near the sea! This Yucatecan capital is the second safest city in North America, according to the World’s Safest Cities Ranking, and its Spanish colonial architecture, world-famous gastronomy, and world-renowned Mayan landmarks are a draw for visitors from around the world.

Unique Experiences

  • Live

    with a host family committed to making your stay unforgettable

  • Learn

    on a program that combines academics with cultural activities that enrich your learning abroad experience

  • Explore

    the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya: a world-class museum covering Yucatán from its geological origins to the present





Location & Culture

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Mérida is the capital of the Yucatán state and the largest city on the Yucatán Peninsula with a population just under 900,000. It is known for its Mayan ruins, art, and architecture and has the largest intact indigenous population (60%) of any city, which is reflected in its regional food and music. Mérida is a modern city with shops, a youth symphony, public and private hospitals, and dozens of public and private higher education institutions. Additionally, Mérida is a hub for travel within the Yucatán Peninsula and beyond, with connections to Mexico City, Belize, and Guatemala. 

Popular tourist attractions are important archaeological UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Mayan Museum, the Provincial Palace, Uxmal architectural ruins, nearby cenotes, the nearby Gulf of Mexico, and Celestún National Park. 

Mérida has tropical weather with a very distinct dry and wet seasons. The rainy season is from June through October. The average daytime high temperature is 33°C (91°F) with nighttime temperatures around 18°C (64°F). Geologically, the Yucatán has a karst topography of limestone, with many underground caves and cenotes. Two zoos, a botanical garden, the Museum of Natural History, and several science institutes also make Mérida a regional STEM center. The city sits within the Chicxulub crater, formed by a large asteroid impact 66 million years ago. The asteroid impact is responsible for the fifth great extinction, including all dinosaur species. 

CIEE wants all our students to feel welcomed, supported, and empowered to succeed while studying abroad. Local CIEE staff have provided details about conditions and cultural attitudes that students with specific identities might encounter in Yucatán.

The Culture

Excursions & Activities

In the January in Yucatán program, you may: 

  • Explore Chichén Itzá and nearby Cenote Sagrado where humans were sacrificed to the Mayan rain God - Chaac.  
  • Birdwatch in Ria Lagartos Wildlife Refuge, home to countless pink flamingos and beautiful sunsets with pink waters  
  • Explore Merida´s magnificent Botanical Garden.  
  • Fall in love with colonial architecture in Mérida’s historic center while enjoying a coffee or tea in one of the many terraces and coffee shops. 

Daily Life

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    Homestays: An integral part of the program, homestays allow students an insider’s view of Mexican culture and a great opportunity to practice and enhance their Spanish skills. Your host family provides a single room, private or shared bathroom, a desk, laundry once a week, Wi-Fi, and a copy of the house keys.
    All homestays are relatively close to coffee shops, malls, commercial centers, ATMs, and restaurants, and within 30- to-45 minutes commute to CIEE Yucatán Center. Depending on students’ housing profile and homestay availability, students may be placed in double homestay occupancy with single and/or double rooms and shared bathrooms. 

    Residence Hall: Subject to availability and seasonal demand, CIEE Yucatan may be able to place students at Campus Residencias (CR) in single or double bedrooms all equipped with a TV, bathroom, Wi-Fi, safe box, desk, chair, lamp, freezer, microwave, and kitchen accessories. Double rooms share a kitchenette and bathroom.

    The complex is exclusively for college students with a mix of local and international students and is located at a 20- to-30-minute ride to Merida’s beautiful downtown, shopping centers, museums, and CIEE Yucatan Center. CR offers a shuttle bus service at an additional cost and Uber is also an option. 

    Campus Residencias offers a wide range of facilities including a gym, swimming pool, study area, meeting room, cafeteria, BBQ area, green areas, and 24/7 first aid medical assistance. In addition, students have access to the laundry room, or they can opt to pay for linen service. 


    Homestays: Two meals per day are included. Although host families and students arrange their own meal schedules, usually it is breakfast and dinner, and students are responsible for the remaining meal, either preparing them at home or eating in one of many restaurants and cafés throughout the city. Students who are staying for a full year are responsible for their meals during breaks between semesters. 

    Residence Hall: Meals are not included at the residence hall. Students can prepare their own meals in the kitchenette, they can opt to pay for a meal plan use the cafeteria at UC at their leisure or explore the myriad restaurants throughout the city. 

Yucatan, Mexico

Where You'll Study

  • A

    Parque de Santa Ana

    and its nearby art galleries

  • B

    Market Lucas de Galvez

    the main fresh fruit and vegetable market in Mérida

  • C

    Mayan World Museum

    of Mérida

What People are Saying

  • "This was an amazing experience and anyone can benefit from this whether it’s through language development or cultural awareness"

    Alexus G., Virginia State University
  • "It’s an amazing experience that expands your Spanish skills"

    Noel T., Wofford College


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Courses are taught at CIEE Yucatán and are typically only for CIEE students . Classes are scheduled Monday-Friday and meet three to five times per week, and attendance is strictly enforced both for classes and required co-curricular excursions.  Students should expect an average of two hours of preparation required for each hour in class.  Instruction is supported and augmented online with our learning management system, Canvas.



Language Prerequisites

There are no specific language requirements for this program.

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Program Requirements

All students enroll in one 3-credit CIEE course per session.


Total credit: 3-4 U.S. semester/4.5-6 quarter credits per session.

Course Credit

  • CIEE courses: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 45 contact hours per session.
  • CIEE Communicative Language course: 1 U.S. semester/1.5 quarter credits; 15 contact hours.

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Academic Culture

Class pace is accelerated, and the workload is demanding.  CIEE courses follow U.S. academic culture and standards.  The class environment typically features a combination of traditional lecture and discussion with co-curricular excursions and activities.  Heavy emphasis is placed on student participation.

Class Format

Courses are for CIEE students only and are taught Monday – Friday.  Instruction is supported and augmented online by our learning management system, Canvas.


Students are graded on quizzes, exams, attendance, homework assignments, presentations, and class participation. As attendance is mandatory, absences affect final grades. The course includes compulsory activities with special assignments as part of classwork.

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Language of Instruction

English and Spanish

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.


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Course Information

Course Notes

  • Students studying in Mérida for more than one session may only take Communicative Spanish once.

Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be canceled due to insufficient enrollment.
"(GI)" denotes courses that originated at CIEE's Global Institutes and that are offered at multiple CIEE sites.

Dates & Fees

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Dates & Fees

You get more for every dollar when you study abroad with CIEE, because our high-quality programs include everything from excursions to insurance. There are no hidden charges, and no disappointing surprises when you arrive.



Application Due

Start Date

End Date

Fees & Housing

January 2023 Deadline Passed Dec 27, 2022 Jan 16, 2023
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Program Fees

CIEE offers the most student support of any provider in its program fee, including an airport greeting, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, pre-departure advising, and CIEE iNext travel insurance with benefits.

Participation Confirmation = $300 *

Educational Costs = $2,603

Housing = $700

Insurance = $47

Total Fees = $3,650

Estimated Costs

Students are responsible and manage costs related to travel, meals, books, and personal expenses. Below are estimates for consideration.

Meals not included in program fee = $100

International Airfare = $650 ††

Local Transportation = $100

Books & Supplies = $50

Personal expenses = $150

Total Estimated Costs = $1,050

Financial Aid

CIEE offers the most grants and scholarships of any study abroad organization, including $8 million/year in travel grants, merit-based scholarships, institutional and MSI grants, and Gilman Go Global Grants.

This breakdown has been prepared from the program budget for the purpose of calculating eligibility for financial aid. During the course of program operations, actual figures may vary. It should not, therefore, be used as a basis for calculation of refunds. CIEE reserves the right to adjust fees at any time.

Students required by their US home institution to study abroad via CIEE's School of Record will be charged a $500 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.

* non-refundable

Cost based on homestay accommodation. Dorm does not includes meals.

†† r?ound-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure

To help you budget, keep in mind that students are responsible for the cost of international airfare, local transportation, books and supplies, visas, and personal expenses. In addition, your college or university may charge additional fees for study abroad, or may require you to receive a transcript via CIEE's School of Record, which carries an additional fee of $500. January 2020 programs in Latin America are not eligible for CIEE Scholarships and Grants.

Our Staff

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  • 1

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  • 2

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  • 3

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