Mexico City and Oaxaca, Mexico
1-3 transfer credits in Global Education (GLED) 391/HONR 398 or 2 transfer credits in GLED 301 and GLED 302
3-4 transfer credits in Spanish or INTL 491
27 May 2018 – 2 July 2018
$3,000 (includes tuition for up to 6 credits) + airfare
Please note the current US Department of State Travel Advisory for Mexico.
For more information, please click here.
Ms. Barbara Ingber
Dr. McKenna Brown
15 March 2018
The Global Education Office and VCU Globe are pleased to offer its participants a unique opportunity to learn about Mexican and indigenous cultures, intercultural communication, globalization, and migration; to visit sites of cultural, archaeological and environmental importance and villages known for craftsmanship; and to improve their Spanish language skills in the beautiful city of Oaxaca and its environs. This service-learning course is conducted in conjunction with Fundación En Vía, a nonprofit offering no-interest micro-loans to Zapotec women. Spanish classes will be taught by qualified, native Spanish speakers at the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca, at each student’s level. The program includes an orientation and home visits in the village in which service will take place, a walking tour/orientation to historic downtown Oaxaca, a weekend eco-tour in the mountains, and other excursions. Arriving in and departing from Mexico City will give students the opportunity to experience big-city life and to learn about Mexico’s history, art, and diversity via excursions to cultural, archaeological, and historic sites and museums.
Course and credit options
All credits on this program will be transcripted by Universidad La Salle Oaxaca.
Students will earn a total of 1-3 transfer credits in GLED 391/HONR 398 or 2 credits in GLED 301 and 302.
Spanish course options and credits include: SPAN 101 or 102 for 4 credits and 3 credits for one of the following: SPAN 201, 202, 205, 300, 301, 305, 321, 491, or INTL 491
Students are expected to enroll in GLED 301 and 302 or GLED 391 in addition to a Spanish course. For any questions or special arrangements please contact the Program Director.
The Education Abroad office will enroll students in the course upon receipt of the registration.
On most weekday mornings, students will participate in four hours of Spanish language instruction from native Spanish speakers at the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca (ICO Mexico), a Spanish language institute that caters to students at all language levels. Beginners will develop the skills to communicate effectively when interacting with host families, locals, and individuals at service sites in addition to Spanish-speaking populations with which students might interact in Richmond; more advanced students should see substantial improvement in their Spanish-language skills. In the afternoons, students will participate in service activities, class meetings, or have free time. The service project will involve teaching English as a second language to adults and children in a Zapotec village, at their request, to help the community achieve greater economic success. As a result of this course, VCU Globe students will be able to use their on- and off-site learning to achieve the following outcomes:
- Increase awareness of and involvement with Zapotec community
- Increase awareness of globalization and migration and their positive and negative effects on communities
- Increase self-awareness/personal growth
- Increase intercultural communications skills required to function as a global citizen/culture broker by developing abilities to navigate cultural and professional borders
- Apply all of the above to future academic and professional goals
Students will be graded on attendance/service, class participation/discussion, written reflections, an essay, and a final project.
Program cost: $3,000 (includes tuition) + airfare GLED 301. Planning for Global Leadership Seminar. 1 Hour.
Semester course; 1 lecture hour. 1 credit. Prerequisite: GLED 202
. Open only to students enrolled in the VCU Globe program. An introduction to the core concepts in global leadership, including global trends in community leadership, citizen-leadership, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, transcultural organizations, and inter- and intraorganizational sustainability. Working in teams, students will complete a proposal for an applied global community service project. Includes community service activities.
GLED 302. Preparing for Global Leadership Seminar. 1 Hour.
Semester course; 1 lecture hour. 1 credit. Prerequisite: GLED 301
. Open only to students enrolled in the VCU Globe program. Working in teams, students will refine and present to multiple audiences proposals for applied global community-service projects. Proposals will be reviewed by a faculty board and a small number will be selected for support the following year. Includes community service activities.
GLED 391. Topics in Global Education. 1-3 Hours.
Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. May be repeated with different topics for a maximum of nine credits, with a limit of six credits in a single semester. Open only to students enrolled in the Global Education Living-Learning Community. An in-depth study of a selected topic in global education.
The program fee is $3,000
and includes the following:
- Tuition for up to 6 transfer credits from Universidad La Salle in Oaxaca
- Shared accommodations in a homestay with a Mexican family in Oaxaca
- Most breakfasts and lunches (except on travel days) in Oaxaca
- Meals and lodging during the weekend eco-tour
- Luggage hold during weekend eco-tour
- Round-trip bus fare between Mexico City and Oaxaca
- Spanish classes at ICO (if taken for VCU credit)
- In-country transportation to excursion sites in Oaxaca
- Study visits and excursions in Oaxaca and Mexico City
- Shared accommodations in a hotel in Mexico City
- Two meals in Mexico City
- Group farewell meal or dinner and performance in Oaxaca
- On-site Program Director support
- Pre-departure orientation
- International Student Identity Card
- VCU administrative fees
- Application deposit
The following are not
included in the program fee. Students are responsible for:
- Transportation to and from Mexico City hotel
- Some meals (most dinners) in Oaxaca
- Meals (except for two) in Mexico City
- Transportation in and around Oaxaca and Mexico City
- Entry fees to museums and attractions
- Single occupancy fees in Oaxaca and Mexico City
- Passport application or renewal fee, if applicable
- Personal expenses during the program estimated at $500-600 (which includes entertainment and meal that are not covered)
- Anything not specifically mentioned above
Airfare is not included.
This program is open to all VCU students who have a minimum 2.0 GPA. VCU Globe students have priority. All other students must meet with program Co-director Barbara Ingber and may be required to submit a letter of recommendation.
Accommodations and Meals
In Oaxaca, students will be living with local families in double rooms. Breakfasts and lunches are provided on most days. Included in the activities are a walking tour of historic Oaxaca, and visits to local villages and sites of cultural, archaeological, historical, and environmental interest. A cooking class (that includes shopping for food at the local market) and lunch in the home of the Zapotec instructor will be one of the program’s many highlights. Also included are an orientation and visits to the homes/businesses of women in the village in which service will take place and a weekend eco-tour in the mountains, with time spent visiting a clinic offering traditional treatments/cures, a "Magical Village" and other indigenous communities.
While in Mexico City, students will share double/triple/quadruple rooms with baths in the colonial-style Hotel Isabel, located in the historic heart of the city and within walking distance of innumerable restaurants, historical and cultural sites and museums and public transportation. Meals (except for two dinners) will be paid for by the student; choices range from extremely inexpensive (under $2.50) to very pricey. Excursions in and around the city will include*: a tour of the Teotihuacan archaeological zone with an archaeologist guide; a downtown walking tour, including the Zocalo, Palacio de Bellas Artes, House of Tiles, etc.); the National Museum of Anthropology, the Blue House (home of Frida Kahlo), and more. Student interest will dictate other (optional) excursions.
Students should be prepared for daily activities and excursions that require walking on uneven surfaces including gravel, cobblestone, unpaved and narrow streets and sidewalks through crowds of people and traffic. They will climb stairs and pyramids and hike through heavily wooded areas and rocky hillsides.
*Subject to change
The program is directed by Barbara M. Ingber, Assistant Director of Community Outreach, VCU Globe. She has extensive experience in organizing and leading group travel to Latin America, having lived, studied, and worked there on and off for more than 30 years. She will oversee the Global Education components of the program.
The program is also led by Dr. R. McKenna Brown, Executive Director of VCU’s Global Education Office. Dr. Brown is professor and founding director of the VCU School of World Studies and previously developed and directed the B.A. in International Studies and coordinated the Spanish program. He has developed and led multiple programs to Latin America, and has written numerous publications on the region, including language pedagogy. He will oversee Spanish and international studies instruction in Oaxaca.
VCU Statement of Service-Learning
Service-learning at Virginia Commonwealth University is a course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets community-identified needs. Service activities may be direct (e.g., mentoring youth, volunteering with patients, working in community gardens) or indirect (e.g., creating research reports, designing online or print materials); may be individual or group-based; may occur either on- or off-campus; may be scheduled at varying times of the week/day; may be focused in different parts of the city, and may involve a variety of community organizations. Individual service-learning classes do not offer all of these options. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with the service activity options that are available in this class and to select from the available options the option that best suits their needs and interests. Students in all VCU service-learning classes participate in reflection activities that are designed to increase students' understanding and application of course content and to enhance their sense of civic responsibility.
VCU students may apply for financial aid to participate in this program. Contact VCU Financial Aid, Harris Hall; phone 828-6669; or visit their website
for more information.
Please visit the Funding Options
section of the Education Abroad website for detailed scholarship information. We recommend that all students who receive Federal Pell Grants apply for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
, which offers over 2,300 scholarships of up to $5,000 for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies abroad. Please contact the Education Abroad Office with questions about scholarships.
A valid passport is required to leave the US. If a student does not already have a passport, they are advised to begin the application process as soon as they are accepted into the program. The processing time for new passport applicants can be as long as 8 weeks. For students who already have passports, they will need to verify that the passport’s validity dates extend 6 months past their return date. For more information about passports and the application/renewal process, please consult the State Department's website
Payment of fees
In order to complete the application, students are required to submit a $250 registration fee and deposit. This $250 registration fee and deposit is refundable in two cases: if the program is cancelled, or if a student is rejected by the faculty member based on their qualifications to participate in the program. Reasons for rejection could include, but are not limited to, GPA, lack of a pre-requisite, unacceptable or inappropriate statement of interest, etc. and are at the discretion of the faculty program director. However, if a student pays the fee and is not given final acceptance to the program based on failing to complete application requirements, as determined by the Education Abroad office or faculty director, the $250 is non-refundable.
Students will receive one charge to their student accounts for this program reflecting the balance of the program fee (minus the $250 deposit and application fee). This bill will be charged through VCU Student Accounting and should appear by May.
Please note: It is the student’s responsibility to make sure the account balance is paid before the billing due date.
Withdrawal procedures and financial commitment policy
All withdrawals must be made formally in writing and submitted to the Director of Education Abroad. Otherwise, the program fee will not be refunded. After committing to the program, students deciding to withdraw will be held accountable for a portion of or the entire program fee based on the following schedule:
- Formal withdrawal submitted later than 30 days before the first day of the program abroad: 100% of the program fee will be charged
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 30-60 days before the first day of the program abroad: 75% of the program fee will be charged
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 60-90 days before the first day of the program abroad: 50% of the program fee will be charged
In the event an unexpected emergency occurs within 30 days before the first day of the program abroad, students must provide a physician’s certification that his/her condition prohibits participation. In this case, refunds will be limited to only those funds VCU is able to recover or that have not already been spent on behalf of the student.
See above for refund policy on $250 registration fee and deposit.
Students should schedule an appointment with their physician or at a travel clinic (such as VCU Student Health) at least 4 to 8 weeks before the program to inquire about recommended and/or required vaccines/immunizations. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all routine and travel immunizations are up-to-date.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on recommended and required immunizations for travelers. To view the health risks and requirements for the country to which you will be traveling, please visit the CDC's website
Health Alert: Zika Virus
The CDC has issued a travel alert for countries where the Zika virus is prevalent. Check the CDC’s travel notices
regularly as new countries are being added to this list. Check VCU Student Health
to stay updated as well.
VCU Student Health offers in-depth pre-travel consultation with a health care provider as well as most of the vaccines recommended for safe travel. Prescriptions for recommended medicines are also available. Please visit their website
for full details.
Every effort is made to provide updated and accurate information at the time of publication. The sponsors reserve the right to make necessary changes to the programs and costs. The university reserves the right to revise or alter all fees, regulations pertaining to student fees, and fee collection procedures at any time.