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  • Locations: Xalapa, Mexico
  • Program Terms: Fall, Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: BCA Study Abroad 
  • Restrictions: Haverford registrants only
  • This program is currently not accepting registrations.
Program Description:
About Xalapa
Nestled in the foothills of an extinct volcano at an altitude of over 4,000 feet, Xalapa is located in the Sierra Madre mountains in Southern Mexico.  Known as the City of Flowers, Xalapa features green parks and well-manicured plazas set against the backdrop of the snow-capped Pico de Orizaba adorning the horizon. The city was established in 1313 as a market town and boasts fine examples of Colonial architecture.  Now home to 600,000 people, Xalapa is the capital and cultural center for the state of Veracruz. 
Xalapa hosts an extraordinary number of cultural treasures, including an internationally renowned symphony orchestra, folklore ballet and anthropology museum.  Art galleries, theaters and cafes offering live music provide plenty of entertainment.
The University of Veracruz was founded in 1944 and has since become the most prestigious university in the province of Veracruz and one of the top five public universities in Mexico.  The university offers more than 100 undergraduate degrees and a wide range of courses in a number of disciplines including music, biology, photography, theatre, psychology, business, anthropology, archaeology, philosophy, social work, history and engineering. It also has 22 centers of research, a foreign language center, a school for foreign students, a child music education center, athletic facilities, and a library and information services system on the campus. The research centers and laboratories serve a number of disciplines including: nanotechnology, archeology and anthropology, climate change, public health, ecology and fisheries and historic and social sciences.

The School for Foreign Students (EEE) offers courses in Spanish language, Latin American culture, arts and history. Students improve their language skills and learn more about Latin American culture.

Before regular classes begin, you will spend two weeks in BCA's cultural orientation and intensive language program in Cuernavaca, Mexico. During this pre-semester program, you will study Spanish at UNIVERSAL Escuela de Lengua y Comunicación Social, and take a course focused on Mexican culture and history led by BCA’s resident director. 

Depending on your Spanish language proficiency, you may take either regular university courses at the University of Veracruz (UV) or take courses designed for foreign students at the EEE. In general, you should have the equivalent of four semesters of college-level Spanish to consider taking regular university courses. EEE and UV courses earn anywhere from two to five academic credits, based on class time and coursework. In addition to courses at the UV or EEE, all BCA Xalapa students have the option to take BCA's Signature course taught by the resident director, Dr. Robert Kruger,  SOC375: Street Children and Popular Education: A Participative Approach. 

Student Life
The university and the city of Xalapa offer a multitude of activities ranging from the cultural to the social. The small-city atmosphere provides easy access to museums, musical and other cultural events, as well as the friendliness of a close-knit community.  In addition, Xalapa is surrounded by lush mountains dotted with charming colonial-style towns and villages and just an hour drive to the coast.

While in Xalapa, you will reside with a Mexican host family.  Conversations you have with your familia Mexicana will present you with an excellent opportunity to learn about the culture. Students enjoy home-cooked meals in traditional Mexican style with their host families.

Students have access to computers at the EEE.  For those students who want to bring their laptops, wireless internet service is also becoming widely available in public areas (although you should not depend on your host family having Internet service in the home).  Cybercafes in town charge around $1 U.S. per hour for computer usage.

Almost everything in Xalapa is within walking distance, however, the cost of transportation is not expensive. Students can expect to spend $10-20 for transportation per month.

All students have access to the University of Veracruz's impressive sports complex, which includes the city's best fields, tennis courts and other facilities.  Paths through the city parks make for a jogger's paradise.

Educational Excursions

Day trips
La Antigua
Volcancillo (an extinct volcanic cráter and cave system not far from Xalapa)
Cantona archaeological site
El Lencero (1800s ex-hacienda)
Chachalacas beach
Conquest period sites: Villa Rica, Quiahuitztlan, Cempoala

Weekend trips
Mexico City (various destinations within and the city)
The port city of Veracruz
El Tajín and the Costa Esmeralda (beach)
Ecotourism in the Tuxtlas Mountains
Cuetzalan, Puebla
Cofre de Perote and La Malinche mountains

Longer excursions (Spring semester)
Yucatán Penninsula
Chiapas region
Colonial cities of central Mexico

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active registration cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting registrations.