Students on this unit-based summer program live and work amongst Indigenous Mayan communities located near Chichén Itzá, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Participants are led by an IU faculty member to assist the local community with the development of sustainable international tourism sites in the Yucatán peninsula.
IU Service Learning in Yucatan
There are currently no applications for this program.
Summer: Mid May - Mid June
- Program Organization
This field study abroad course provides students with direct experiential training in and academic knowledge of international tourism development and the unique problems of creating and developing sustainable community oriented tourism in based in ecological, archaeological, and intangible cultural heritage attractions.
- Students work in teams with community partners to help develop tourism destinations based in ecological and cultural heritage.
- Students create projects based on skills and interests that they bring in design, marketing, international studies, ecology and environmentalism, social media, non-profit sector, public policy, sustainability, Indigenous rights, community action research.
- Student projects: the assessment of tourism attractions; design and implementation of marketing strategies; creation of promotional materials for social media; improvement of tourism attractions with photographic and video publicity; writing travel reviews and blogs for community tourism businesses; among other possibilities.
- Field Trips. Students gain experiential knowledge of different types of tourism — including beach & nightlife tourism of Playa del Carmen; heritage tourism at the World Heritage site of Chichén Itzá; cultural tourism at the colonial city of Merida; and community ecotourism at sacred Maya cenotes. Exact locations can vary.
The course consists of (a) one and half weeks intensive seminar conducted on-campus (b) followed by three and half weeks in the Yucatán Peninsula, México; (c) required orientation meetings are held on campus during April of spring semester.
- Academic Program
LTAM-L 426 (6 credits, UGRD)
LTAM-L 526 (6 credits, GRAD)
- Additional Information
Students must submit a program application and be formally accepted before being authorized to enroll. Students must be in good academic standing and adhere to IU’s official study abroad policies in addition to the specific course policies for good conduct and behavior. These are discussed in class and presented for each student to sign a release forms for participation
Please visit the course website for full information. Additional details are available from Program Director and teaching faculty: Dr. Quetzil Castaneda, IU Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies.
The course fee includes tuition, field trips, lodging, program based expenses such as entrance fees and transportation to Merida, Chichén Itzá, museums, cenotes or other locations visited as a group during designated program field trips.
- All Meals while on-site in Pisté are included.
- Two Meals during overnight field trips in Playa del Carmen or Cancun are covered and one meal is out of pocket.
In Playa del Carmen, students and staff stay in family posadas or hostels as a group.
In Pisté, students reside in the Posada Olalde which is a family run posada similar to a pension or hostel. Double occupancy rooms with beds, tables, running hot and cold water showers, ventilators, and variable internet connection based on room location.
There is Limited Availability for a Homestay Option during the 3.5 weeks in Pisté, Yucatán. Advanced, Native Speaker, or Heritage Speaker Fluency in Spanish is required and must be demonstrated. Interested students must undergo a separate evaluation process to determine if a homestay can be provided.
Additional information is available from the IU Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies.
- Program Eligibility
You may apply if you:
- are an undergraduate student at any Indiana University campus who is making normal academic progress
- are in at least your second full-time semester of college
- Students on disciplinary or academic probation are not eligible for participation
- have approximately a 2.75 cumulative GPA and at least one year of college Spanish or equivalent placement or native/heritage speaker fluency demonstrated via communication with program director
Complete eligibility criteria and selection criteria are outlined within the Academic Policies and Procedures of the Office of Overseas Study. Selection is based on maturity, seriousness of purpose, and appropriateness of match between program and applicant. Students on disciplinary probation during program period are ineligible.
- Costs and Financial Aid
Undergraduate (resident or non-resident): $2,395
Graduate resident: $2,395
Graduate non-resident: $3,445
The program fee includes academic fees, lodging and two meals a day during overnight field trips; lodging and meals while living on-site in program location of Pisté, Yucatán, Mexico; local transportation for group travel and for individuals when directly related to course assignments; field trips; entrance fees; group program activities.
The fee excludes:
- round trip international airfare to Cancun from home city;
- personal items, including medicine, hygiene, beauty, and gifts;
- individually purchased non-program food, service, lodging, or consumables.
- one meal a day during any overnight field trips conducted as a group and a dinner meal on occasion of an evening field trip to Merida or Valladolid for cultural events
Inital non-refundable pre-payment due upon acceptance.
Financial Aid and Scholarships:
- Most IU scholarships, grants and loans applicable to program costs.
Please see our financial aid page for general information and links to additional scholarship opportunities.
- Program Contacts
For general information about this program, please visit or contact our office. For detailed inquiries, please call to set up an appointment with the advisor (812-855-9304).
Faculty or Staff member who can provide detailed information about this program
Dr. Quetzil Castaneda
Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Student Services Coordinator
Helps students navigate the application process and coordinates with cosponsoring organizations.