Liberal Arts & Cultural Immersion Semester Abroad in Mexico

Video and Photos

We had so much fun hiking up to this point!
We had so much fun hiking up to this point!
View from El Pípila statue!
View from El Pípila statue!
Cruising through the floating channels of Xochimilco
Cruising through the floating channels of Xochimilco
In the pyramids of Teotihuacán
In the pyramids of Teotihuacán
Walking through Atotonilco
Walking through Atotonilco
buying ice cream in Dolores Hidalgo
buying ice cream in Dolores Hidalgo
The famous Aztec Calendar
The famous Aztec Calendar
Horseback riding in the mountains of Guanajuato
Horseback riding in the mountains of Guanajuato

About

Culture and Language Abroad is a uniquely immersive study program based in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Guanajuato, Mexico. Unlike less personal exchange programs, we focus on designing individual curriculum experiences that are authentic to both student’s needs and local culture. CLA is a non-profit founded and operated by a dedicated team of international educators – who also happen to be Guanajuato natives – whose university and community networks assure that program participants will study and live like a true local.

Highlights
  • Live an learn like a true local for a semester or a year
  • Improve your Spanish skills
  • Earn up to 15 US university credits
  • Explore Mexico and break stereotypes
  • Get out of your comfort zone

Questions & Answers

Great question! Once you send a message or press Apply Now, the provider of this program will receive your message or application, and guide you to the next step. All you have to do is fill out a few details! The entire process should only take a few days and every message will appear in your personal inbox.

You will know within the next few days.

Your message will be sent to the provider who runs this program! You will receive a personal email as well as a message in your Go Overseas Inbox (top right of the page, "Inbox") once the provider responds to your question. At any point, you can ask more questions by pressing View within your Go Overseas Inbox.

Wait for the provider of this program to accept you! You will receive an email to your personal inbox as well as your Inbox here on Go Overseas within 48 hours.

Reviews

100%
based on 4 reviews
  • Academics 9.3
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 9.8
  • Safety 8.5
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
Default avatar
Naho
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

me encantó ❤️

I am very satisfied with the program. That time was indispensable. Fabiola and Samantha are so kind and showed us many places, and always took care of us. Also, they have good relationships with the host families. I found that living with a host family is very different from living alone in Mexico. You can eat Mexican food, talk in Spanish all the time with people who they live there, and you can learn lots of things by living with them. I enjoyed the time with my host family, and of course Fabiola and Samantha.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Chapulines is the most unfamiliar thing I ate in Mexico. It’s a locust, tasted by chili. For me it tasted like a small fish.
Default avatar
Lisa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

MAGICAL GUANAJUATO! BEST EXPERIENCE IN MY LIFE

I am a senior at Soka University of America, during my junior year I did a semester abroad in Spring 2019, and so far it has been the best experience that has ever happened to me in my life yet. Due to Mexico's proximity to the United States and Mexican immigrants, a lot of us tend to think that we know Mexican culture–I was not the exception. However, here are 3 reasons that I personally think we should choose CLA as a program for study abroad or summer experience. 1. Guanajuato is very rich in history and culture therefore it is UNESCO world heritage. 2. It is a university city. For me, it could not get any better. There is this rich culture in Guanajuato and in addition it has thousands of offers for a young population due to the presence of students. There is no better way of learning and experimenting the Mexican culture first hand than hanging out with fellow students. 3. CLA program offers almost a personalized approach to exploring Guanajuato. Fabiola (the director of the program) is very careful and specific on planning the excursions that will give the students a true understanding of the Mexican way of life. It offers a sense of comfort and trust as not only is she born and raised in Guanajuato but also she is very well traveled therefore she is very understanding of culture shocks and could ease her students in the experience. Something that I personally find very appealing to the program as a whole. Another great thing that I loved about the program is the accessibility of the program director 24/7 to her students. While the culture was certainly distinct from my own, CLA helped me experiment Guanajuato culture to a point that it did not feel so foreign that I could not connect on some level. But that is the charm of Guanajuato and its people, it is different enough to be intriguing and exciting, but not so different that you could not integrate yourself at some point. All the students who do a study abroad in Guanajuato, they always return there atleast once. It is that magical.

What was your funniest moment?
I am a very picky eater. We went to a restaurant and we were served guacamole, that had some sprinkled stuff that looked like caramelized onions, and I thought that it was that. I ate it, and i remember saying "wow this is so crunchy and salty, I love it. What is it?" They told me that it is "chapulines"–a mexican grasshopper. I nearly fainted! Definitely would not have tried it, if they had told me what it was and I am glad that they did not.
Default avatar
Lydia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Love this program - do not want to leave!!!

I am absolutely loving my experience with CLA. I am a junior at Goshen College, and would definitely recommend this program to college students. While Mexico is close to the United States, it is a completely different world and culture. This program is so special because the director, Fabiola, was actually born and raised in Guanajuato, GTO (the city you will be living in), and she graduated from the University of Guanajuato (the university you will be attending). So you are learning from a local citizen and a native Spanish speaker. I'm the kind of person that likes to go all in and get a really authentic cultural experience -- to me, it doesn't get any more authentic than this.

As far as academics go, I really love my professors and the classes I am taking. The different faculties are located all over the city, so it is important to choose classes with the schedules and traveling distances in mind. I recommend the "Spanish for foreign students" classes in the "languages" faculty. Although there are no obviously no Mexican students in these classes, the hours are AMAZING, and you get to meet people from all over the world. I have classes with students from China, Japan, Korea, and Sweden. Also, although you are in "Spanish for foreign students" classes, you are in the "languages" faculty, so there is still plenty of opportunity to meet Mexican students.

Fabi is an amazing director. She is very supportive and always available if and when you need her. She was the first person I told when I found out my grandfather died, and also whenever I felt sick or down. She always made sure I had the support I needed but also gave me the space I needed as well.

The city can feel small at times, but it is so easy to meet and get to know people, and it is really beautiful. There are lots of interesting bars, cafes, and museums, and the town is surrounded by mountains so there are lots of cool places to go hiking. It is also very safe. Of course you should take the precautions that you would take in any city, but I have never felt scared or in danger in Guanajuato. It is calm and peaceful, and there are usually lots of people outside, many of whom are fellow students.

I can't believe I only have three months left, I wish I could stay longer! The people are kind, the streets are alive and colorful, and my host mom's food is to die for. I would recommend this program to anyone!

What would you improve about this program?
I would say the process of class selection could be improved; it was a bit confusing navigating the different faculties and lists of classes. Otherwise, this program can only be improved by gaining more students and years of experience/operation.
Default avatar
Esther
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Crazy about Guanjuato and CLA Program!!!

CLA offers such a cool experience that can be tailored to so many different types of students. My name is Esther and I arrived in Guanajuato in January and I have loved my CLA experience so far! Since my arrival I have had a great time, made a bunch of friends from Mexico and all over the world, and have gotten to travel a bunch!
When I first arrived, I was promptly picked up at the airport by Fabiola CLA’s amazing program director and my now, my friend. I am staying with a host family which has been great for my Spanish and for eating great meals three times a day. My host family has been so kind and taken me on vacations, and even to extended family celebrations. I have lots of freedom but always have lots of people to turn to for help if I need it.
There are a lot of different kinds of classes you can take in Guanajuato. Some classes are harder than others depending on what “school” the classes are in. But the teachers are typically very helpful and have had exchange students in their classes before. I was very thankful to be part of a program like CLA that helped my through the Add/Drop period at the beginning of the semester because the school’s offices can be a little slow and confusing, but CLA helped me through the whole process.
As far as the city goes, Guanajuato is beautiful! The city relatively small but is packed with things to do. There are a bunch of cool museums, winding streets, and a lots of unique restaurants and bars. The whole city center is very walkable which is what I love most. From my house I can walk to school, my friends’ houses, the market, the movies, the central plazas, cafes, restaurants, bars, all within 15 minutes! I also love that I feel like there are always little festivals, shows, and/or dance presentations going on every weekend!
It is really easy to travel in México. There are a bunch of “pueblos mágicos” close to Guanajuato and the “long distance” bus system is punctual and very comfortable. Although there are some place in Mexico CLA students are not allowed to travel to, so I found that it was important to ask about that before making any travel plans.
Fabiola has been so kind and helpful through the whole study abroad process. She organized our trip to Mexico City and asked me what I was most interested in before we went, we went to the famous Lucha Libre, Frida Kahlo’s house, went on boat rides, ate at yummy restaurants, and did a bunch of other cool things. Fabi really has always had my best interest in mind and has always given me advice on where to not travel and the safest ways to get where I want to go.
This program has been awesome for me! the perfect balance of freedom and security, fun and learning. I would definitely recommend it to anyone!

What would you improve about this program?
CLA wants more students to join them on their adventures and learning! The only thing that can improve this program is its growth and maybe an extra official language support aspect.