Skip to Content
International Center Banner
Education Abroad
Programs : Brochure
This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
UK Sponsored: Social and Environmental Justice in Southern Mexico (Arts & Sciences)
Oaxaca, Mexico (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer 2
The UK Education Abroad deadline for adding this program has passed. To determine if it is still possible to add this program to your Education Abroad Application, please contact your EA Advisor or UK Education Abroad (
Fees and Policies Summer 2
Fact Sheet:
Experience Type:
Research Abroad, Study Abroad
Area of Study:
Anthropology, Community and Leadership Development, Development Studies, Environmental Studies, Geography, Human Rights, International Studies, Latin American Studies, Political Science, Sociology, Spanish Language
Course Language:
Housing Options:
2-Sophomore, 3-Junior, 4-Senior, 5-Graduate
Minimum GPA:
Student Type:
Both undergraduate and graduate students
Thomas Teague
Program Director:
Oliver Froehling, Tad Mutersbaugh
UK Travel Medical Insurance:
Included in the UK Sponsored program fee
Program Description:

Social and Environmental Justice in Southern Mexico

Dates TBD - Applications will be accepted for the 2015 summer program once dates have been established!

Although some areas of Mexico are currently under a U.S. State Department Travel Warning, the specific location of this program is NOT included in that warning. Eligible UK students may participate in this program with full support from the University. The University requires that all students on this program submit supplemental materials regarding this information PRIOR to Education Abroad application acceptance for this program. It is important to understand that should the Travel Warning change to include the location of this program there might be additional application requirements that must be completed in order to maintain University support for participation in the program. **There are supplemental application forms for all applicants on this program. Contact Thomas Teague,, before applying for this program.**

Program Overviewhills

This field-based program offers students the opportunity to learn about the culture, economy, environment and social justice issues of southern Mexico through first-hand experiences in a variety of settings. Hosted by SURCO, an Oaxaca-based NGO that straddles academia and activism, the program emphasizes a grassroots perspective on the challenges of globalization and proposes alternate ways of creating local solutions. The program is directed by the Department of Geography and coordinated in conjunction with the University of Arizona and American University.
Oaxaca, the capital of Oaxaca State in the southeastern part of Mexico, is a vibrant city center with outdoor cafes and historic buildings where the colonial past provides the backdrop for street vendors, marches, and artistic expressions. Shared by people from different classes and parts of the world, Oaxaca State is an ideal place to explore diverse issues. The state’s ecosystems range from deserts and high mountain cloud forests to tropical rainforests and coastal regions, yielding the greatest geographical range and biodiversity in Mexico. Oaxaca’s human geography is equally diverse. Sixteen indigenous groups, each with its own distinct language and culture comprise two thirds of the state's population. These communities are on the forefront of political change in Mexico and are transforming the political landscape with their demands for autonomy and respect for their culture, taking on challenges such as running their own cell phone networks.
mercadoThe program emphasizes field trips, some of which last several days, and active learning, meaning that students will spend a lot of time exploring different themes on their own or in small groups. The last three weeks will be devoted to an independent study. The program will be supplemented by an intensive language class with local teachers. While this class is optional, it is highly encouraged for all participants. Students will be assigned a level according to their language skills. These classes will meet in the morning from Monday to Thursday for two hours for the first four weeks of program, to give students ample background and time to brush up on their language skills.
The geography classes will meet in the morning after the Spanish class. The classes will first give an introduction to the history and geography of Mexico and Oaxaca. Then they will move into specialized areas: the rights of indigenous people, who make up a majority of the state’s population; environmental and social issues in a global context and how people tackle them; and the alternatives to development—different conceptions and ways to create a good life. These classes will consist of faculty lectures and visits by local guest speakers ranging from academics to activists to government officials. Small class size will provide ample opportunity for discussion.
The issues discussed in class will be reinforced by field visits and village stays. As such, even though a typical day will mean classes in the morning and free afternoons, many of the days will not be typical, as participants will travel to various sites in the state to meet with different people and organizations.

Highlightsmonte alban

  • Explore one of the most ecologically diverse regions on earth
  • Study the rights of indigenous people and examine alternatives to development: different conceptions and ways to create a good life
  • Visit sites such as Monte Albán and Capulalpam
  • Get involved with diverse NGOs and grassroots organizations working to address environmental and social problems
  • Watch a video about SURCO here.


This program is open to undergraduate and graduate students from all academic disciplines. Student must have earned at least 30 credit hours (sophomore standing) and should have completed at least one year of Spanish language or possess the equivalent proficiency level.

Academic Credit

  • UK surcoSponsored programs are conducted by the University of Kentucky faculty.  UK GPA credits and grades will be awarded by the program director for the successful and timely completion of all required program activities and assignments, including any required on-campus meetings.
  • Students will enroll in up to nine hours with approval from their academic advisor. Students may choose from the following courses:
    • GEO 365: Special Topics in Regional Geography: Oaxaca (3 credit hours)
    • GEO 399: Internship in Geography (3 credit hours)
    • GEO 406G: Field Studies: Oaxaca (3 credit hours)
    • GEO 565: Topics in Geography (3 credit hours)
    • GEO 706: Advanced Field Studies: Oaxaca (1-9 credit hours)
    • GEO 712: Development Studies and Geography: Oaxaca (3 credit hours)
  • Students are encouraged to take intensive Spanish language classes with local teachers. The language courses are non-credit bearing.
  • All students will be enrolled in ISP 599: Study Abroad (1 credit hour).

Housing and Mealsstreet

  • Students will live with a local family for the duration of the program. All meals will be provided by the home-stay family.
  • Excursions will involve other lodging, and all meals will be covered during these outings.

Scholarships & Financial Aid

Students are strongly encouraged to explore all funding opportunities for programs abroad. There are numerous opportunities available based on the area of study, program type, length, and country of destination. 
  • Many financial aid packages (scholarships, loans and grants) used for on-campus study can be applied to education abroad programs. Students who qualify for financial aid should consult with their UK Financial Aid counselor as soon as possible to apply for funding.
  • The Education Abroad at UK Scholarship - The campus-wide Selection Committee awards need-based scholarships to UK students in the amounts of $750, $1,000 and $1,500. The deadline for application materials is March 1 for Summer/Fall programs and October 1 for Spring/Winter programs.
For more information about scholarship and funding opportunities, please visit the Education Abroad at UK Financial Aid & Scholarships resource page.

Program Costs

  • Costs and cancellation policies vary by program, so it is important to review this information very carefully. For more information on program costs, please see the "Fees and Policies" information page (the link is in the program header at the top of this website).

Passport & Visa Requirements

  • U.S. passport holders are not required to obtain a visa for participation on this program. Participants who wish to extend their stay in the country beyond the program start and end dates and those who are not U.S. passport holders must investigate the visa regulations at Mexican Embassy.

Travel Medical Insurance

All participants of this program will be enrolled in HTH Travel Medical Insurance for the duration of the program. The cost of Travel Medical Insurance is included in the program fee. Please see the Education Abroad at UK Health & Safety webpage for more information.

For More Information

For additional information about this program, please contact:

  • EA Peer Ambassadors, Education Abroad Resource Center, 315 Bradley Hall
  • Dr. Oliver Froehling, Dr. Froehling will be directing the program in Mexico. Students may also contact Dr. Tad Mutersbaugh,, faculty member in the Geography Department at the University of Kentucky for more information. 

Connect with EA
Join us on facebook: Education Abroad at the University of Kentucky 

 Follow us on twitter: @EAatUK

Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
The UK Education Abroad deadline for adding this program has passed. To determine if it is still possible to add this program to your Education Abroad Application, please contact your EA Advisor or UK Education Abroad (