• Mexico
Fall, J-Term, Spring, Summer
Subject Areas
Anthropology Business Cultural Studies Economics Finance History Humanities International Business Latin American Studies Marketing Psychology Social Sciences Visual Arts +3
Need-based funding, Merit-based funding, General grants/scholarships, Payment plans
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Host Family


Starting Price
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Classes Some Meals Travel Insurance Wifi
Oct 30, 2023
Sep 09, 2020
4 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Embrace rich traditions on the magnificent Yucatán Peninsula.

Our Mexico programs place you in friendly, welcoming Mérida, capital of the sunshine-filled Yucatán state. Much more than a safe and pretty city, Mérida is also the center of one of Mexico’s most culturally diverse regions, influenced by Mayans, Spaniards, and other immigrants from Europe and Asia.

It’s a place where life is unhurried. From savoring authentic tacos and chatting with your homestay hosts to exploring the city’s tree-lined plazas, count on every moment here to elevate your Spanish-language skills and open your eyes to different way of living.

A highlight for many: Going back more than 1,000 years in time to trace the roots of Maya culture with a visit to a world-famous site like Chichén Itzá.

Video and Photos

Program Reviews

4.83 Rating
based on 6 reviews
  • 5 rating 83.33%
  • 4 rating 16.67%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 3.2
  • Support 4.85
  • Fun 4.7
  • Housing 4.85
  • Safety 4.85
Showing 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

How my Time in Mexico Helped me Find my Path into Medical School

IFSA study abroad has a commitment to engaging its students with the community, and I was given the opportunity to shadow a local doctor at the public hospital in Merida, Mexico. The time I spent shadowing during my semester abroad allowed me to see international medicine up close and personal. I learned about Merida, Mexico, in a way I never would have otherwise. I spent time in the public hospital, speaking with patients whose first language was Maya and second language was Spanish. I could define this experience as professional development, and probably will in the future, but it was more than that. I connected with patients in a way I had never believed possible in the American healthcare system.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The heat is real! Merida, Mexico, is in the tropics. The mosquitos and heat are endless. You will definitely become adjusted, but the first two weeks of the study abroad program can feel really long. Having the right clothes, sunscreen, and bug spray will make the program much more enjoyable.
83 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible Program

I had an amazing time in Mérida through this program and really improved my Spanish!

The opportunity to take classes at the local university (or universities) was integral to the significant improvement I saw in my Spanish and really allowed for a deeper understanding and integration into the culture. At the same time, the program classes give you a minute to step back and reflect in a more familiar environment. The program staff are also incredible and super supportive, so you always have a space where you can be comfortable sharing any concerns or issues you may run into.

As for living in Mérida, the host families are all incredible and really welcome you into their homes. Mérida is a beautiful and very safe city and I loved getting to know it throughout the semester. The surrounding area is also full of interesting and gorgeous places to visit, and the program does a great job of organizing excursions to expose you to different parts of Mexico and the Yucatan while also leaving time for individual travel.

Living in Mexico also gave me a totally different perspective on the relationship between our two countries that I think is really valuable and unique.

Overall, it was an unforgettable experience--the main drawback is how much you'll miss it when it's over (and yes, it is very hot).

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Since we picked classes right in the beginning, when I was still getting used to everything, I stuck with one or two IFSA kids in each of my UADY classes. While this was nice to some extent, I wish I would have taken the leap to take a class by myself, since I think that would have really forced me to get to know other Mexican students at the university better.
99 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful semester

I loved being abroad in Mérida. The best part was studying at the local university and being in class with students who were all from the area. I was the only English speaker in my classes so my Spanish improved a ton. I learned so much from my peers and made friends that will last a lifetime! Mérida has a lot to offer and the prices can't be beat. The food I ate in my host family was some of the best I've ever had and they always made an effort to incorporate me in their activities.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have enjoyed group trips outside of México.
95 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

You should probably pick this program

First and foremost, had some of the best times of my life here. Let's enumerate some pros of the program first:

-It's designed to favor those seeking independence and personal enrichment via being able to form a cohesive identity in a different culture.
-Fantastic location: you want cenotes, beautiful beaches, arresting landscapes, fascinating archeological sites, you've got it. You've also got Cuba + Guatemala + Belize (plus the rest of México, which compared to the Yucatán peninsula is like a separate country) within striking distance.
-Extremely immersive homestay. Without exaggeration, I was treated like (and eventually became) another member of the family.
-Gracious and engaging program leaders (shout out to Francisco + Diana!). Individually tailored support system.
-Nice balance of different locales for the in-program excursions (Mexico City and San Cristobal de las Casas were highlights).

However, Mérida can be very polarizing. This paragraph merely serves to check your expectations; I personally found none of the following to be a turn off. However, if you have issues dealing with the daily grievances of living somewhere quite hot (it was already 102 degrees Fahrenheit in March at one point), want to take public transportation everywhere (the bus system is horrendous but Uber is very cheap and ubiquitous in Mérida), seek academic rigor comparable to that of a respectable U.S. institution (in my experience, classes at the local universities [those of the Modelo in particular] were reminiscent of high school classes), or prioritize studying in a more "mainstream," or stereotypical, segment of Mexican culture (i.e. in the central/northern part), maybe you should reconsider studying in Mérida.

All in all, if you want an atypical study abroad experience that will challenge you in very rewarding ways, look no further. You're bound to come back changed for the better.

95 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Merida, MX

I would recommend the program to anyone who is very independent, motivated to learn spanish, and wants to travel outside of Merida on weekends. I didn’t find Merida to be that exciting of a city and it’s very hot so i would go for the Yucatan and en travel to other areas, but i found Merida to be a little too “tranquilo” for my liking. Also, the location for the program isn’t great—it takes about 40 mins or more to get downtown on a bus and at least 20 to get to school on a bus and there isn’t really anything in the neighborhood.

92 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best time of my life

Made great friends, learned a terrific language and developed a close relationship with a terrific host family that I still have today. My only complaint is that it got too hot too quickly (May is 110+ degrees every day) but you figure it out. Merida is very close to tons of things to do (best beaches ever, ecotourism, visit the pyramids, and more) and is a very safe place to be. I would live there if I could.

96 people found this review helpful.

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