Summer Program in Mexico Offers Professional Service-Learning Placements

UA students in Puebla on the cycling path.
Photo Submitted

UA students in Puebla on the cycling path.

The summer 2020 U of A faculty-led study abroad program in Puebla, Mexico, offers six popular curricular options: students can select from among five different service-learning programs which include 72 hours in a professional placement in either health care, business, education, engineering, or community service or, alternatively, choose a traditional classroom program in Spanish and Mexican culture at the advanced or intermediate level.

Students completing the program receive 6 hours of Spanish credit at the 2000-, 3000-, or 4000-level, which can apply towards a major or minor in Spanish (and/or Latin American and Latino Studies), or also as elective credit.

Information sessions on the program will be conducted at 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 29-30, in Kimple Hall 416.

Interested students are invited to drop in for a brief presentation and slide show, with ample opportunity for questions. Students who have already applied for the program are also welcome to attend one of the sessions to ask any questions they might have.

Comments from 2019 Puebla program students included many such as the following: 

"This experience was an eye-opener that despite what the United States says about Mexico, Mexico is just a normal place with families and students who live their lives. Not only is it a great academic and cultural experience it's also a great way to humble yourself and appreciate other places outside your home state."

"This program makes you better at Spanish without even realizing. It is valuable for all levels of Spanish, and you even get the benefit of professional placement so that you have some job experience and know better how Spanish language and Mexican culture play a part in that."

"It's a great program with a wonderful balance of instruction time, internship experience, and travel adventures. The host family living situation will also rapidly help improve your Spanish."

"I have become a lot more confident in myself and in my abilities. My attitude about the host country changed because they were so welcoming and the people there were happier and kinder than I would have expected. It made me wish people in the U.S. were more like that."

The program in Puebla is hosted at the ultra-modern campus of the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP), and it offers students a true immersion experience.  Puebla, a major metropolitan area, is centrally located in the heart of Mexico, between Mexico City and the Caribbean coast, in the shadows of the snow-capped Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl volcanos.  It is well-known as one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico as well as one of the safest.

The program fee includes homestays with Mexican host families in Puebla; local tours with UPAEP students and host families to sites of historical and cultural significance; and three overnight weekend excursions to Mexico City and the pyramids at Teotihuacan, to Oaxaca, and to Cuetzalan, one of Mexico's "pueblos mágicos" with strong indigenous traditions.

For more information on the program, please contact program leaders Steven Bell at and Juan José Bustamante at, and visit the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures and the Office of Study Abroad websites.


Steven Bell, department chair
Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures


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