Yucatan, Mexico

Spanish Language & Mexican Culture

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Information for term Spanish Language & Mexican Culture

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

Rolling Admissions

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Dates: Jun 13 – Jul 10, 2021 (4 weeks)

Application Deadline

Rolling Admissions

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Dates: Jul 11 – Aug 7, 2021 (4 weeks)


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Soak up both modern and Mayan culture in the scenic Yucatán Peninsula.

Live, learn and explore in one of the safest and most beautiful cities in Mexico. People come here to visit ancient Mayan ruins and amazing geological formations, yet still discover so much more. Did you know that Mérida has 16 universities and research institutes? It’s a student-friendly center buzzing with cafés and cultural activity.

What’s a typical day like? Mornings are for interactive classes, building your Spanish skills with one of our expert language professors. Afternoons are for fun, organized activities with your classmates and local high school teens. Together you’ll try your hand at pottery or Mexican cooking, visit marketplaces and museums, or play futball (soccer) or Frisbee in a local park. There’s still plenty of time for listening to local street musicians and chilling out under a shady tree with a marquesita (a hard crepe filled with cheese or chocolate) or a champola (ice cream made with coconut milk).

It’s easy to stroll around and soak up the culture. Spanish colonial buildings painted in a rainbow of bright colors line clean, quiet streets. Marketplaces selling exotic fruits and authentic handicrafts are a great place to practice your conversational and bargaining skills.

Back home with your homestay, your proficiency in Spanish will grow even more, as you prepare and share meals and talk about your day. With newfound confidence, you’ll learn to speak Spanish independently in shops, markets, and cafés throughout the city. Before long you’ll be chatting with locals over an agua fresca (made with juice from the local rambutan fruit), realizing how far you’ve come in just a few short weeks.


    60 hours of instruction in Spanish by CIEE professors


    4 college credits may be used to apply toward your future college degree, to demonstrate your ability to do college-level work, or to test out of a language level in college


    A certificate of language learning in Spanish, and documented language growth through pre- and post-program testing

Location & Culture

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In the heart of the Yucatán peninsula, Mérida is a small city known for its Spanish colonial architecture and archeological treasures. 

Mérida is a pretty city of 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. But although Merida is a tourist destination, the city of 900,000 has the highest percentage of indigenous people (60%) of any city in Mexico. That’s just part of what makes it such an ideal place to study Spanish language and Mexican culture.

Mayan culture is still reflected in modern Mérida, from its regional foods and music, to its textiles and traditions. Mérida is also a safe and modern city filled with shops, hotels, restaurants and museums. Researchers and students are in good company, as Mérida hosts more than a dozen universities and several national research facilities.

Along with world-class museums, monuments, historic buildings, cultural centers, theaters, and sports facilities, Merida has botanical gardens, a zoo, and plenty of green space to catch some shade. Just 20 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico, it is surrounded by biodiverse nature reserves, UNESCO archaeological sites, and historic Pueblos Mágicos, authentic villages which look like something out of a storybook.  

Did you know? Mérida sits within the Chicxulub crater, formed by the impact of a large asteroid that fell to earth 66 million years ago, causing the fifth great extinction that included dinosaurs! You can learn more at a dazzling interactive exhibit at the Mayan World Museum with your classmates.

Daily Life

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Daily Life

"After my trip with CIEE I have definitely grown in ways I never could if I had stayed in the US."

Learn more about daily life on a high school study abroad program by reading our blogs.

  • Housing

    Carefully Screened Homestay

  • Local Support

    24/7 Support from your CIEE program leader and in-country CIEE staff members


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Activities & Excursions

Sample Activities

  • View the brightly colored colonial buildings along Paseo Montejo, the tree-lined street known as Mérida’s “Champs-Élysées.”
  • Learn about the ancient art and history of the Yucatán at the Mayan World Museum. (You’ll be well prepped for group excursions to archaeological sites!)
  • Tour the Museum of Contemporary Art and city art galleries.
  • Bird-watch in Celestún Wildlife Refuge, home to mangroves and countless pink flamingos.
  • Shop for exotic fruits and tasty snacks at the bountiful Mercado Lucas De Galvéz marketplace

Sample Excursions

  • Explore the ruins of Chichén Itzá – one of the most famous pre-Columbian cities built by the Maya. Nearby, discover amazing geological formations like the sacred cenote Sacamucuy (swimming hole) and then swim in its crystal-clear waters.
  • Venture to Campeche, an ancient Mayan city just two hours south of Mérida surrounded by the largest tropical rainforest reserve in Mexico.

Download a sample itinerary ›

​​Please note this list of activities is based on past programs and subject to change at CIEE's discretion to both adapt to local circumstances and participant feedback. Our goal when revising itineraries is always to enhance your experience. Every activity is designed to provide you with a deep immersion in your topic, local culture and sights. Get ready for maximum fun!

Dates & Fees

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Dates & Fees


  • Program open to all current high school students: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors. 
  • For scholarship eligibility requirements, please check our Scholarship page.
  • At least one year of High School Spanish.



Program scholarships and tuition include iNext Travel Insurance, but do not cover the cost of flights. More details about tuition inclusions can be found here.

Optional College Credit Fee

$150  Learn more 


Application Due

Start Date

End Date


Summer Session I 2021 4 weeks Rolling Admissions Jun 13, 2021 Jul 10, 2021


Summer Session II 2021 4 weeks Rolling Admissions Jul 11, 2021 Aug 7, 2021


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