Yucatan, Mexico

Spanish Language & Mexican Culture

Summer '23 applications open!
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Information for term Spanish Language & Mexican Culture

Application deadline, and cost information.

Extended Deadline

May 2, 2023

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: May 2, 2023
  • Dates: Jun 11 – Jul 8, 2023 (4 weeks)

Extended Deadline

June 2, 2023

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: June 2, 2023
  • Dates: Jul 9 – Aug 5, 2023 (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  was ranked the second safest city in the American continent in 2020, the Best Small City by Condé Nast Traveller, acknowledged as the American Capital of Culture by UNESCO, and recognized as one of the 10 Best cities to travel by Forbes and Lonely Planet? Mérida also has 16 highly-ranked universities and research universities. Besides, Mérida is also a student-friendly city 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 explore the city. Together you’ll try Mexican worldwide famous gastronomy in a cooking class, visit marketplaces and museums, or enjoy the nature 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. 

The Take-Aways


    Call Merida home for 4 weeks and come back with increased language proficiency and a greater understanding of the Mexican way of life. Bring home life stories to remember your cultural experiences. Demonstrate your language growth through a test before and after your program. On average across our programs, students learn in four weeks what U.S. high school students learn in one year.


    Earn 4 college credits to either apply toward your future college degree, or to use to demonstrate your ability to do college-level work, or test out of a language level in college!


    After just 4 weeks away, you'll build self-confidence, gain a broader world view, improve your interpersonal communication skills and make lifelong friends from all across the U.S.

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 995,000 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 that 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.

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.

Daily Life

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Daily Life


Each day offers a balance between interactive instruction and cultural activities with time on your own, too. Morning classes and afternoon activities may swap places. 

  • Breakfast at your homestay 
  • Engaging Spanish classes with expert language instructors, all native-speakers  
  • Bagged lunch with your fellow Global Navigators 
  • Out and about for authentic conversations in the community and a Cultural Activity  
  • Dinner and evening discussions at your homestay 


  • Overnight or day excursions to top sites 
  • Quality time with friends and everyone at your homestay 

Check out the blog posts to discover more about daily life and excursions on program. 

  • Housing

    Carefully-Screened Homestay

  • 24/7 SUPPORT

    1 Program Leader for every 12 students and support from local staff

Program Blogs

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Program Blogs


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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 Music Palace and city art galleries.
  • Shop for exotic fruits and tasty snacks at the bountiful 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. 
  • Enjoy a trip boat at El corchito, a natural reserve where you’ll immerse yourself into the mangroves. 

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, covid-related measures and restrictions 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 2023 4 weeks May 2, 2023 Jun 11, 2023 Jul 8, 2023


Summer Session II 2023 4 weeks Jun 2, 2023 Jul 9, 2023 Aug 5, 2023


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