Study Abroad Program

UM Faculty Led Study Abroad Program: Oaxaca Mexico

Spring 2015 (Jan. 26-April 17)
Oaxaca, Mexico; Instituto Cultural Oaxaca
UM Director: Professor Clary Loisel
LA 428
Telephone: 406-243-2150

Instituto Cultural Oaxaca: Since 1984, the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca has developed integral programs to enable students to learn Spanish in Oaxaca in an enjoyable and interesting way. Located on the grounds of a beautiful 19th century estate, this Spanish language school has proudly welcomed students from all over the world. The Instituto offers personal and friendly service and the opportunity to learn Spanish in the stunning, colonial city of Oaxaca – a place where historic and present-day Mexico meet. The Instituto is a founding member of ASESEO, the Spanish Language Schools Association of Oaxaca, an organization dedicated to ensure quality and professionalism in Spanish language learning and to promote Oaxaca and its culture as a destination to study Spanish. The teachers are enthusiastic and dynamic native-speakers, all who have university degrees and years of teaching experience, and teach exclusively in Spanish so language learning is done in an environment of total Spanish immersion. Teachers implement strategies that facilitate language acquisition and evaluation throughout the learning process providing individualized feedback and assistance. The school is located 10 minutes walking distance from the center of town.Website for the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca:

Oaxaca, Mexico: Oaxaca is the capital city of the state of Oaxaca and is located near the center of the state in a high mountain valley (5100'), with a population of about 250,000. The climate is spring-like during most of the year with warm days and cool evenings. There are an amazing number of points of interest both within and near the city such as cathedrals, museums, parks, concerts, restaurants featuring Oaxaca's famous cuisine, archaeological sites, and crafts villages. With its large population, the city supports modern medical facilities with a full complement of specialists.Oaxaca is rich in history and culture. The urban center was known as Huaxyacac in the Nahuatl language until 1532 when the Spanish gave it the name Nueva Antequera. The zócalo (main square) is the heart of the city and has been so since 1529. On the south side of the zócalo is the former state government building, now a museum; on the north side is the Cathedral of Oaxaca that dates from 1535. A number of cafes surround the zócalo and sitting at a sidewalk table and watching the activities in the square is a popular pastime.

Program Description:Participants must register for a full program of courses (15 credits). Their registration process will take place in Missoula and will be closely planned by the student in consultation with the Program Director to insure that all credits earned in Mexico will count towards the student’s study and graduation plans. Participants do NOT need to be Spanish majors or minors.

Orientation Courses: All students MUST register for SPNS 291 Tuesday 3:40-4:30 for fall 2014. This course is taught by Professor Loisel and will prepare students to maximize their study abroad experience. We will study about Mexico in general and Oaxaca in particular. We will also address health and safety issues.

UM Courses Commonly Credited in Spanish:
Spanish 202 Intermediate Spanish (4 cr)
Spanish 301 Written and Oral Expression in Cultural Contexts (3 cr)
Spanish 308 Intensive Spanish Abroad (up to 9 cr);
Spanish 321 Advanced Conversation (3 cr)
Spanish 331 Introduction to Latin American Literature (3 cr)
Spanish 391 Special Topics (up to 9 cr)
Spanish 408 Advanced Grammar and Composition (3 cr)
Spanish 432 Latin American Literature (3 cr)


  • Students MUST have completed a minimum of three college semesters of Spanish or the equivalent of SPNS 201 prior to departure with a grade of B or better.
  • ALL students MUST present proof of Health Insurance verifying effective and appropriate abroad coverage. Students not registered in the UM Insurance Plan MUST provide a copy of their insurance. Insurance plans MUST comply with UM minimum coverage requirements.
  • All students MUST sign a student contract which defines the Director’s and the UM expectations in terms of academic and ethical responsibilities while abroad.
  • All students MUST participate in regular group activities but ample time will be made available for pursuing individual interests.

Estimated Costs: $4375.50

Every effort will be made to keep the estimate from increasing. However, possible fluctuations in market forces may affect the estimated total either upward or downward.
*This amount covers the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca’s tuition, materials, program coordination, three excursions, afternoon workshops in ceramics, weaving, cooking; and homestays with Mexican families (2 meals per day: breakfast and the principal meal of the day called “comida” served around 2:00 PM). The price quoted is for a shared bedroom; a private bedroom for the duration of the program increases the overall fee to $4731.50.

In addition, all students MUST pay their regular UM tuition. Regular fee waivers, scholarships, and financial aid apply. In some cases the Financial Aid Office can work with students to increase their aid.

Students will also make their own arrangements for transportation to and from Oaxaca, Mexico. At the moment, round-trip airfare from Missoula to Oaxaca is about $750.

Students must pay their own entry fees into museums and other places of interest during the program. If necessary, students should also expect to be assessed a fee to transfer funds between Missoula and Oaxaca. All incidental expenses are the student’s responsibility.

Available Scholarships:

  •  Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures scholarships
  •  Latin American Studies scholarships (for LAS Minors)