- 18 years of age or above
- Good academic and disciplinary standing at Penn State
- 2.5 cumulative GPA or better at the time of application
- Sophomore standing or above at the start of the program
- Completion of Spanish 003 or equivalent
Dispelling cultural stereotypes through immersion in the daily life of Mexico is the thrust of the summer program in Puebla. Studying the arts, culture, and history of central Mexico creates the context for the program. Living with carefully selected Mexican families helps Penn State students develop their language skills while experiencing firsthand the cultural treasures of Mexico. This 9-credit program offers students a unique, creative environment and exposure to a variety of experiences.
Located on a high mountain plain in central Mexico, Puebla is a large city with a small-town atmosphere. A planned city established in 1532 by the Spaniards, Puebla also reflects the pre-Columbian heritage of the region. The city is known for its Spanish colonial architecture and its concentration of contemporary artists and cultural activities. Only eighty miles south of Mexico City, Puebla sits in a rich archaeological area. Day trips to sites including Cholula -- the location of the largest pyramid in the world -- compose part of the educational experience. As part of class contact hours, there also are longer, overnight excursions to other archaeological sites and to some of the contemporary craft villages throughout Mexico. Classes are scheduled four days a week to provide students with long weekends for independent travel as well.
Summer: This program will not run in summer 2021, but hopes are that program operation will resume in 2022. Contact the faculty leader or check back for information about future travel on this program.
Program Leader Information
- Esther Yáñez, Instructor, Spanish; Spanish 3 Content Supervisor
Students will be enrolled in 9 credits of Spanish. All students will take SPAN 399 and then will be able to choose two intermediate or two advanced Spanish courses.
If a student has NOT yet taken SPAN 253 W: Introduction to Hispanic Literature, their options are:
- SPAN 399: Visual Culture (3 credits)
- All students will take this course. Photographs, cartoons, graffiti, movies, cartels, blogs, advertisement, music videos, newspapers, underground magazines, blogs, are some of the manifestations of the contemporary visual word. This course offers an introduction to Mexican visual culture in its nearly infinite manifestations. Through careful looking, reading, writing, and discussions, students will be encouraged to think through the visual word in the construction of the historical, political, social and subjective dimensions from the end of the 19th century to our time. Among the issues to be examined are: the function, production, and consumption of visual images in different cultures; the foreign gaze; war and propaganda; the margins of the city; sexuality and abjection; political power; death and memory.
If student has already taken SPAN 253, their options are:
- SPAN 199/299: Spanish Grammar and Conversation (3 credits)
- This course is based on an integrated skills approach to intermediate Spanish that develops both your receptive (listening and reading) and productive (speaking and writing) skills simultaneously. In this way, you use multiple skills at once, as in real life, to develop your communicative skills in Spanish. Given that this is a grammar and composition course, however, we will place greater emphasis on developing your reading and writing skills.
- SPAN 253 W: Introduction to Hispanic Literature (3 credits)
- The objective of this course is to provide students with a survey of Hispanic literature (Spain and Latin America). Students are introduced to generic distinctions, critical methods, and theoretical approaches to Hispanic literature. At the same time, literary movements and sociopolitical forces that affected the development of Hispanic literature are examined. The course is divided into four parts focusing on poetry, short story, novel, and film. Students will learn of contemporary literary trends and theories and will be asked to use critical thinking techniques to comment on and write about what they read and watch. In order to prepare for each class, students should read or watch the assigned works carefully with the goal of arriving ready to participate actively in class discussions.
- SPAN 497: Special Topics: Central Mexican Culture and Civilization (3 credits)
- This course will provide an introduction to Mexican culture and art from pre-Columbian to contemporary. In addition, the course will provide students with experiential learning opportunities via service learning in Puebla. In this way the course will provide both a historical overview and an experiential cultural component in contemporary Mexican society.
Prerequisite: SPAN 002 or equivalent proficiency
- SPAN 499: Special Topics: Mexican Literature, Film, and Music in Translation (3 credits)
- Spanish 499 is an advanced course that aims to deepen the students’ knowledge of Mexican literature, cinema and music through the practice of translation. The goal of the course is to improve the students’ skills to understand complex literary and audiovisual texts in Spanish, and to gain an insight of Mexican culture. Using written texts, movies, series and songs, students will sharpen their reading, listening, and writing skills in L2. We will address universal and language-specific problems in translation such as word order, cultural references, idioms, slang, etc. Students will engage in the creation of subtitles, which will help them develop their problem-solving skills. The variety of materials and activities used in class will enhance the students’ intercultural communication; increase their engagement and motivation, and produce a fun and enjoyable learning experience.
Students are required to take the prescribed courses listed above as participants on the program. The Education Abroad Office will register you for these courses. To determine how these courses will fit into your degree requirements, you will need to work with your academic adviser. Suggested tips:
- Research courses offered on your program
- Meet with your academic adviser to discuss potential courses abroad and your degree requirements.
- Complete your Course Selection Questionnaire in the ‘Post-Decision’ section of your application to choose the courses you want from the program options.
- Keep in mind that courses abroad may change or may be unavailable for your selected term, so you will need to discuss possible back-up course options.
- You must enroll in a minimum number of 9 credits.
- You cannot take any courses abroad on a Pass/Fail basis
- If you are studying abroad in your final semester at Penn State, please note that Penn State may not receive your grades in time for graduation
Students will stay with Mexican families in homestays.
Most meals will be provided.
For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the budget sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully.
Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on major and class standing.
The Education Abroad Office awards a number of grants and scholarships to students who participate in an education abroad program through Global Programs. The application for the scholarships awarded through the Education Abroad Office is included with your program application. Eligibility is based on academic merit and/or financial need. You must have a current FAFSA on file to be awarded. There are additional scholarship opportunities through our partner universities, Penn State Academic Departments, and other sources. To view a full list of scholarships, eligibility requirements, and deadlines visit Funding Study Abroad.
Penn State students who plan to study on a Penn State approved program can use most forms of financial aid towards the cost of the program. Exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships. If you have specific questions regarding your aid awards, contact the Penn State Office of Student Aid.
Withdrawal & Refund Policy
Withdrawal and refund details are dependent on the timing and reason for your withdrawal from a Penn State Education Abroad Program. For specific details and steps on how to withdraw, read the Education Abroad Policies.
Once a student has committed to a Penn State Education Abroad program, they are financially responsible for any fees incurred on their behalf. Therefore, if a student plans to withdraw from a program it is their responsibility to immediately notify the Education Abroad office, in writing; email is preferred.
Regardless of the timing or reason for the withdrawal, the student will be responsible for paying the Education Abroad Administrative Fees. For faculty-led freestanding programs, there is a specific withdrawal penalty schedule.
Education Abroad makes every attempt at keeping the program and administrative costs to a minimum. However, when you commit to participating in a program, Education Abroad begins to make financial commitments on your behalf. In case of withdrawal, the following fees will be charged to your Bursar account
Upon Commitment - 90 Days Prior to Departure: 25% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
30 - 89 Days Prior to Departure: 50% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
29 Days - Departure Date: 100% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
Following the start of the summer semester, any adjustment of tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. More information can be found on the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.
If a student withdraws after the start of a program, any adjustment of Penn State tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. Students may be responsible for up to 100% of program costs. In most cases, partial credit cannot be awarded for leaving a program before its successful completion.
After the Start of the Program
For additional information on withdrawal policies, separate and apart from financial consequences, please consult the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.
Studying abroad can be one of the most exciting and transformative experiences of your college career. It is an opportunity to develop independence, build cross-cultural competencies, grow as a person, and enhance your academic program. Entering a new culture can be challenging for everyone. You may ask yourself: is this the right country for me? What are their cultural norms? How will my identity be perceived there? What can I do to prepare for this experience? What will my daily life be like? Below are resources to help you answer these questions.
Penn State Education Abroad works closely with campus resources and our partner institutions around the world to ensure that students of all abilities reach their goal of studying abroad. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged on an individual basis. If you have accommodation needs or further questions please consult with the Student Disability Resources office and your Education Abroad Adviser. Additional resources are available through the Global Programs Website. Disability information will not be used during the admissions process, but rather is meant to provide students with resources to help in planning a successful experience abroad.
Gender and LGBTQA Considerations
There are dramatic and subtle differences in how gender, identity, sexual expression, and sexual health are perceived in different countries. Before going abroad, it is important that you research the specific country or countries you will be visiting and have a full understanding of their cultural norms. Below are some resources to help you with that research and provide guidance for your life abroad.
Race, Ethnicity, and Faith Considerations
When choosing a study abroad location and preparing for your travels, you will want to be mindful of how your experience will be different than what you are used to in the United States. Your racial, ethnic, and spiritual identities may be interacted with and labeled by others differently than what you expect. Here are resources to help you prepare for these differences.
It is possible for non-U.S. Citizens to study abroad through Penn State. To do so successfully, you must plan early because this process may involve obtaining visas and other governmental procedures. Check with your DISSA Adviser prior to committing to a study abroad program and speak with your Education Abroad Adviser for specific information on the host country. If you plan on traveling to other countries during your study abroad experience, you will need to research and make plans to adhere to immigration policies for all of the countries that you plan to travel to and through. You are responsible for applying for visas for all applicable countries on your own. Advisers in the Education Abroad office cannot apply for your visa for you. Additional information may be available through your country's embassy and the consulate for your study abroad country.
Steps to Study Abroad
The planning stages outlined on the Global Programs website will help you have the best study abroad experience possible. We recommend that you begin this process at least one year prior to the semester you plan on studying abroad. Visit the Steps to Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.
How to Apply
Click the “Apply Now” button on this page to get started!
Application procedures can vary by program. Students should consult the application instructions available within each application. For more information, see the Application Process section of the Global Penn State website.
You must apply to this program by the Penn State deadline, February 1. For a list of deadlines visit the Application Process page of the Global Programs website.
Contact Education Abroad
If you have general questions about Education Abroad opportunities at Penn State, please email EducationAbroad@psu.edu.
Education Abroad Peer Advisers are Penn State study abroad returnees who advise students on education abroad opportunities at Penn State. Each Peer Adviser can explain program options, give an overview of the study abroad process, as well as provide information about their experience abroad. Peer Advisers have walk-in hours in Boucke Building during the fall and spring semester when classes are in session. For more information, visit the Education Abroad Peer Adviser website.
Education Abroad Advisers
Education Abroad Advisers can provide information about courses, support services, application processes, housing details, program costs, cultural expectations, pre-departure requirements, and much more. Education Abroad Advisers have two types of meetings - scheduled appointments and walk-ins. For more information about how to meet with an Education Abroad Adviser, please visit the Global Penn State website.
For information about upcoming events, scholarship opportunities, deadlines, and much more visit the Global Programs Events Calendar and follow us on social media!