Yucatan, Mexico

January in Yucatan

Study Beginning Spanish Language or Mayan History, Culture, and the Environment
Click to scroll down and read more


Click to Open

Immerse yourself in the Yucatán Peninsula’s magnificent biodiversity and Latin America’s largest indigenous culture. January in Yucatán is the perfect place to begin your Spanish language proficiency and discover the ancient Mayan culture.  Your home base is Mérida - a pretty city filled with brightly colored buildings and clean, tree-lined streets. Its Spanish colonial architecture 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 your academics with cultural activities that enhange your experience.

  • Explore

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





Location & Culture

Click to Open

Mérida is the capital of the Yucátan state and the largest city on the Yucátan Peninsula with a population just under 900,000 people. It is known for its Mayan ruins, art, and architecture and has the largest intact indigenous population (60%) of any city reflected in its regional foods and music. But Mérida is a modern city, as well, with shops, a youth symphony, public and private hospitals, and dozens of public and private institutes of higher learning. In addition, Mérida is a hub for travel in the Yucátan Peninsula and beyond, with connections to Mexico City, Belize, and Guatemala.

Popular tourist attractions are its Mayan museum, provincial palace, Uxmal architectural ruins and nearby cenotes, important archaeological UNESCO World Heritage sites, as well as its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and Celestún National Park.

Mérida is tropical with a distinct dry and wet season. Rainy season is June through October. The average daytime high temperature is 33°C (91°F) with nighttime temperatures around 18°C (64°F). Geologically, the Yucátan has karst topography of limestone, leading to 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. It 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 dinosaurs, among others.

The Culture

Excursions & Activities

On the January in Yucatán program, you may:

  • Explore Chichén Itzá and nearby Cenote Sagrado where humans were sacrificed to the rain god Chaac. 
  • Birdwatch in Celestún Wildlife Refuge, home to countless pink flamingos. 
  • Explore Merida´s magnificent Botanical Garden. 
  • Fall in love with colonial architecture in Mérida’s historic center. 

Daily Life

Click to Open

    Homestay – an excellent opportunity for immersion into the local language and culture. Homestays with some English are an option for students with little or no Spanish language background.


    Homestay – two meals per day: breakfast and dinner. Students can use the kitchen at CIEE to prepare meals, and there are many grocery stores, street food vendors, and restaurants nearby.

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


Click to Open


Courses taught at the Global Institute - Yucatán are typically for CIEE students only. 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.

Program Requirements

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

Program Credit

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

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.

Language of Instruction



Click to Open

Course Information

Course Notes

  • Students studying in Mérida for more than one session may only take Communicative Spanish once.
  • “(GI)” denotes courses that originated at CIEE’s Global Institutes and that are offered at multiple Global Institutes and CIEE Centers.

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 Global Institutes and CIEE Centers.

Dates & Fees

Click to Open

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 2022 Nov 1, 2021 Dec 27, 2021* Jan 17, 2022*

*Dates for this program are provided as tentative dates. Please consult with your study abroad advisor to confirm dates before purchasing your flights.

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

Click to Open

Get Started

Here's what you need to do to take the next steps:
  • 1

    You're one step closer to an amazing study abroad experience! 

    Apply Now
  • 2

    Share your plans and confirm you're on track to meet all required steps to go abroad. 

  • 3

    Contact Us

    Send us an email if you still have questions or need information about applying to this program.