Study Abroad / Saint Mary's Programs

Yucatan, Mexico

Mayan Civilization and Culture in Yucatan, Mexico

Short-term Study Abroad Program

This is a short-term study abroad program with a strong humanistic component that enables students to be immersed in the history, art, languages and natural beauty of the Yucatan Peninsula. Geared toward intermediate-advanced students in Spanish, this 21-day course in Mexico involves a journey through time and space, as it will take participants from the present moment in this region of Mexico through the colonial period—and most importantly—to the magnificent and cultural achievements of a succession of peoples in the region historians call Mesoamerica covering almost 3,000 years whose culture, language, and ways of life continue to thrive today.

Yucatan, Mexico

Yucatán, the Mexican state, is known for its Gulf of Mexico beaches and Mayan ruins. Famed Chichén Itzá encompasses a massive pyramid, ball court and stone temples. Other Mayan sites include Ek Balam, noted for well preserved sculptures, and Uxmal, with its intricate carved facades. Yucatán’s capital and largest city, Mérida, has a Spanish colonial history reflected in buildings such as 16th-century Mérida Cathedral.


SP424: Mayan Civilization and Culture in Yucatan, Mexico
3 credit spring semester course
Upper level spanish elective

Faculty Leader

Kyle Black, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies

Travel Dates

Program cancelled for Spring 2018 – Will be offered again Spring 2019.

Location Details/Cultural Visits

Mérida (population of around 800,000) is a pleasant colonial city in the Yucatán Peninsula and features a safe, tranquil lifestyle with all modern-day conveniences. Its cultural offerings, size and secure character make it a perfect place to study the Spanish language, Mexican and Latin American literature, as well as Pre-Hispanic and modern Mayan culture. Numerous archaeological sites will be visited and others are easily accessible by bus. We will visit various plazas and churches, one of its universities and the grandeur of the colonial/postcolonial mansions that run along Paseo de Montejo, focal points of the city’s history and wealth from henequén (Yucatan sisal) production in the 19th century. This city is also located a half hour by bus from the beach town of Progreso, and about three hours away from the resorts of Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

This program includes substantial cultural travel in the Mayan region to sites such as: Chichén Itzá (one of the former 7 New Wonders of the World), Cobá, Tulum, Xcaret, Celestún, Izamal, Uxmal (designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Isla Mujeres, and the international resort town of Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Maya, among others.


In Mérida, students will stay in shared hotel accommodations. Students will use affordable, public transportation to the Instituto Asiático Peninsular ( where classes will be held.


Course fee covers lodging, in country travel, planned activities, and some meals.

Cost of airfare, passport and some meals are not included in the course fee and are the responsibility of the student.

*A minimum of 8 students are required for the course.


Eligibility is based on a minimum GPA of 2.0 (2.5 preferred), Sophomore or above, and a review of applicants behavior record at Saint Mary’s and faculty recommendations.


This is a 3-credit course that satisfies upper-division elective credits for a Major/Minor in Spanish, Int’l. Business, Spanish Education, Elementary Education Spanish Language Endorsement.

Prerequisite: SP202, or permission from the Program Director.

Application Process

  • Students must apply by December 1, 2017.
  • Once accepted, students will be enrolled in SP424 for the spring semester.
  • In the case of any last-minute changes, accepted students will have until 4:00pm on January 15, 2018 to withdraw from the course. After this date, the full course fee will be non-refundable.

For more information:

Kyle Black, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies
Saint Mary’s Hall, Room 201A

Vicki McDonald, M.A.
Coordinator of Study Abroad / International Center Associate
International Center, The Heights
Campus Box #51

Find Us

The Heights International Center, Room 106
Winona Campus
Hours: Monday–Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fax: 507-457-6917