Leadership & Service in Youth Development
Gain experience working alongside NGO leaders committed to supporting youth mentorship and social work initiatives. Find rewards in supporting children to adolescents and their families while learning project-planning skills and tools to help other service organizations.
Lifelong Skills and Friendships
After just 3 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.
Credentials for Your Future
Topics for your college essays, experience to inform your future career, a Certificate of 50 hours of Service Learning.
Hours of Service-Learning
Weeks of Community Engagement
In the heart of the Yucatán peninsula, Mérida is a small city known for its Spanish colonial architecture and archeological treasures.
Yucatán is known not only for its Mayan cultural heritage, Spanish colonial architecture and accessibility to some of the most amazing pyramids in the Americas, but it also boasts unique geology and biodiversity. You can swim in cenotes (underground freshwater lakes), and learn about the Chicxulub crater, which Merida sits in the middle of, formed by the impact of a large asteroid that fell to earth 66 million years ago, causing the fifth great extinction – including the dinosaurs!
Merida is also a lovely city to just stroll around in, sampling exotic regional foods like marquesita (a hard crepe filled with cheese or chocolate) or a champola (ice-cream made with coconut milk), or listening to local street musicians and hanging out in the zocalo or its numerous plazas full of shady trees and gazebos. You can practice your Spanish with friendly locals and homestays, and in so doing, learn to appreciate the different customs and social mores of Mexico’s largest indigenously-populated city. All of this will help you in your work with the children’s healthcare project as you immerse yourself and come to appreciate this unique society that has its own way of doing things.
You will be living in a beautiful city, Merida, that 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 ten best cities to travel to by Forbes and Lonely Planet. Mérida also has 16 highly-ranked universities and research universities. Besides these achievements, Mérida is also a student-friendly city buzzing with cafés and cultural activity.
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.
Activities & Excursions
- Enjoy the brightly colored colonial buildings along Paseo Montejo, the tree-lined street known as Mérida’s “Champs Elysees”.
- Learn about the ancient art and history of the Yucatan at the Mayan World Museum. You’ll be well prepped for group excursions to archaeological sites!
- Tour the Music Palace and city art galleries.
- Take a trip boat at El corchito, a natural reserve where you’ll immerse yourselves into the mangroves. Shop for exotic fruits and tasty snacks at the bountiful Lucas De Galvéz marketplace.
Sample Overnight 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 Sacamucuy cenote (swimming hole) and then swim in its crystal-clear waters.
- Visit beautiful Valladolid, known as “The Sultan of the East.” It’s designated as a Pueblo Mágico and it’s Yucatan’s third largest city.
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
- Program open to all current high school students: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors.
- For scholarship eligibility requirements, please check our Scholarship page.
For more information, refer to the detailed Program Essential Eligibility Criteria.
Program scholarships and tuition include iNext Travel Insurance, but do not cover the cost of flights. Find additional details about what’s included with your tuition.
|Program Summer Session I 2024 3 weeks||Start Date||End Date||Costs $4,750|
|Program Summer Session II 2024 3 weeks||Start Date||End Date||Costs $4,750|
(Dietary Needs Accommodated)
All Ground Transportation
Optional Flight Chaperone
(Flight Cost Not Included)