Oberlin College, Smith College, Wellesley College and Wheaton College in Massachusetts, together with the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP)—one of Mexico’s leading public teaching and research universities—take pride in offering a unique opportunity for students to become integrated into Mexican student life and learn first hand about the changing realities of Latin American culture and society.
PMCSP is a fall or spring semester, or full academic year program. In keeping with the regular Mexican university semester, the fall program runs from early August to mid-December, and the spring program from early January to mid-May (with a two-week holiday at Easter). Consequently, students live in Mexico for a period of time significantly longer than most US study-abroad programs—an advantage that facilitates greater immersion and linguistic proficiency. This additional program length may be of particular interest to students who would like to study abroad for a significant length of time but for whom it may be difficult to be absent from their home campus for more than one semester.
A distinction of PMCSP is the direct matriculation of U.S. students in regular Mexican university courses. Students build an individually tailored curriculum in collaboration with a home-campus adviser and an on-site resident director (a faculty member of one of the consortium institutions).
Offerings at the BUAP are extensive and particularly strong in the humanities (art; history; performing arts, including dance, music, and theatre; philosophy; language and literature), the social sciences (anthropology; economics; political science; psychology; sociology), as well as math, natural sciences and engineering. Applicants are encouraged to visit the BUAP website at www.buap.mx and review curricula, resources and services. Given that a complete immersion experience requires both linguistic and academic support, supplemental tutoring in language is provided. Participants enjoy access to BUAP sports facilities, libraries and other student services. Students normally reside with a Mexican family and are provided three meals per day for the duration of the program.
An extensive cultural activities program and several excursions complement curricular offerings. Students are reimbursed up to a specified limit for individually selected cultural activities and transportation expenses within the city of Puebla.Travel to and from Mexico City from the student’s home airport is also reimbursed up to $600. An academic supplies allowance covers materials required for classes. Program staff assist students in identifying volunteer opportunities at local NGOs and artistic and cultural centers.
Students from consortium institutions normally enroll in four classes and, upon satisfactory completion of course work, receive academic credit equivalent to a semester of study at the home institution. Students from other universities are invited to apply and will be admitted based on merit and space availability. Transcripts for work completed will be issued by PMCSP. Grades received according to Mexican grading norms will be converted to U.S. equivalents. Particularly in the case of nonconsortium applicants, it is each student’s responsibility to obtain advance authorization for credit transfer to his or her home institution.
The program is open to students with Spanish competency sufficient to successfully complete Mexican university courses (normally, three to four semesters beyond the elementary level). Students with fewer Spanish courses should speak with their college PMCSP coordinator.
In the case of students from consortium institutions, home tuition and fees will apply and financial aid may be carried over to PMCSP. Students from nonconsortium institutions must follow the policies of their home institutions regarding payment for study-abroad programs.