Merida, Mexico Study Abroad Program Past Review

By (Anthropology/Sociology; Psychology, Centre College) for

Centre College: Merida - Centre in Merida

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile? This is my class' collective class blog about our experiences. It covers many topics and should be very helpful to anyone thinking of applying to this program.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Fall 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The professors were great. Dr Passariello's classes were interesting and engaging. The program director (Claudia) managed the program well and her assistants (Omar and Maria Luisa) were very halpful academically and personally.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The team of directors in Merida was efficient as well as involved in our daily lives. I have personal relationships with each of the administrators and have talked with each of them since returning to America.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in the Centro in a beautiful house with an amazing family. My roommate and I were given the master suite and told to treat the home as our own. We had access to our family's beach houses and the extended family's houses. <br /><br /> My neighborhood was safe, close to public transportation, and within walking distance of clubs, restaurants,and class.

* Food:

The food was good most of the time, but when it was bad it was really bad.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We were given many opportunities to travel and go to cultural events. They were all informative and fun.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Even when I had to go to the doctor, my professor accompanied me and the entire process took less than an hour.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Probably $1000 total. With this, I went out multiple times a week, ate in great restaurants many times, bought great gifts for my family, and even went to an all inclusive resort for 5 days. The resort cost less than $200. It is totally possible to live large and do everything that you want on $1000, but living on less would also be possible. The peso to dollar reate is good for Americans right now and cost of living is low in the Yucatan.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you fly Mexicana airlines, their baggage weight limit is strictly enforced and requires large fees per kilo past the limit.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
Language acquisition improvement?

My host nephew was blown away upon our goodbye at how much my language skills had improved. I am completely confident in my Spanish abilities now. Although I may not be able to use every verb tense or know the name for every object, I know enough to get around, have in depth conversations, and enjoy life.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Pack light, seriously. It will make travel so much easier. Look into bargain nights and go where the locals go. Avoid Playa del Carman, Cancun, and Cozumel unless you only want to speak English. Talk to all the locals you can. Some of our best friends were locals. Get away from your group some, there are great people to meet that are not from Centre.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Folklore and Expressive Culture of Mexico

Course Department: ANT 364
Instructor: Phyllis Passariello
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was very helpful in my overall understanding of Mexico. The books were relevant and the courswork interesting. I love Phyllis' hands-on approach to learning. I was not academically challenged to the point of stressing over class, but I believe that Phyllis leaves room for students to challenge themselves if they find the topic interesting. We had relevant field trips often and field projects. The professor was more than knowledgable on the topics presented. I always participate in classes, and did the same here.
Credit Transfer Issues: None
Course Name/Rating:

Field Methods of Anthropology

Course Department: ANT 301
Instructor: Phyllis Passariello
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was very interesting. Phyllis gave us all the tools necessary to succeed. Unfortunately, most students in this class did not complete the work ontime. This brought down the quality of class sessions. I enjoyed the class reading material, especially the Oscar Lewis book and accompanying assignment.
Credit Transfer Issues: None.
Course Name/Rating:

Intermediate Spanish II

Course Department: SPA 220
Instructor: Tere Gullotti
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This class was not challenging. It was not a good set up. The 220 and 210 classes were combined and the teacher had to split her time between the two classes. She was a great person and very interesting, but the style of instruction was not conducive to learning the structures and vocabulary that we should have.
Credit Transfer Issues: None
Course Name/Rating:

Maya High Culture

Course Department: ANT 451
Instructor: James Callaghan
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was my most challenging course in my study abroad experience. The overall class was about on par with classes at Centre. Not impossible, but heavy on reading. Apart from this, I believe that this was my most practical course. Studying the history of the Maya contributed greatly to my experiences seeing the Maya sites of Mexico. I felt like I knew enough to truly be a student instead of a tourist at the sites. Callaghan is very helpful and knowledgable about this topic and expects his students to come out thinking critically about the subject. The midterm took me 8 hours to complete. It was difficult, but if you put in sufficient effort and stayed engaged in class, the class is very enjoyable and didactic.
Credit Transfer Issues: None.