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Short Term | Honors College: VIVA Mexico: Leadership and Empowerment
Chiapas, Mexico (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Restrictions: UCF applicants only
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Description:
VIVA Mexico: Leadership and Empowerment
Chiapas, Mexico
June 9- June 25

Program Description

Make history and join us on our inaugural Honors Study Abroad experience to Mexico!  The Burnett Honors College will offer a unique leadership and service-learning experience working with young adults learning English in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. The program leaders are Dr. Alvin Wang (Dean of The Burnett Honors College) and Dr. MC Santana (Director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program).

This program will introduce students to the culture, language and traditions of Mexico while also helping youth build empowerment through a Big Sister/Brother and Little Sister/Brother program.  A desire to help others and be active in sports is encouraged but not mandatory. Knowledge of the Spanish language is not a requirement for this program.

The primary Service Learning project will involve working with the English language program ACCESS which was developed by our partner La Universidad Autonoma de Chiapas in San Cristobal de las Casas in the state of Chiapas (Southwest), Mexico.   ACCESS primarily services indigenous youth between the ages of 14-20 years.   Our service-learning program will involve matching a TBHC student to an ACCESS student during the spring course as well as the time in country in a Big/Sister-Brother and Little/Sister-Brother program. The second Service Learning project involves a partnership with the non-profit organization She Wins Mexico as an after school soccer/basketball program. She Wins Mexico encourages girls to stay in school and to believe in themselves and their ability to succeed in life.

Other projects focus on maintaining school buildings and gardens in the indigenous community of Tuzantán and San Cristobal de las Casas. ACCESS works in this neighborhood as well. TBHC students will be able to meet Mexican students via SKYPE prior to traveling.

We may develop additional projects based on the interests and backgrounds of our participating students.  For instance, we welcome ideas for service-learning projects involving disciplines as diverse as engineering, health care, business, anthropology, and education.

Student Eligibility

Each year, TBHC selects on a competitive basis up to ten Honors students for participation in this program.  All majors are encouraged to apply. Eligible candidates must be University Honors or Honors in the Major students in good standing who will not graduate prior to Summer 2017.  Students are selected on the basis of their academic achievement, campus and community involvement, evidence of initiative-taking, and their commitment to engaging in study-abroad as a transformative experience. Knowledge of the Spanish language is not a requirement for this program.

Program Costs: 

The cost of the program includes airfare, in-country ground transportation, lodging, most meals, and some excursions. The total program cost for UCF Honors students is $2,000 depending of scholarship eligibility (see below).  Students should bring some pocket money for snacks, non-group meals, and souvenirs during our excursions.  In addition, students must pay tuition for the 1-credit hour course IDH 3955H that is scheduled for the spring in preparation for summer travel.  Please note that while unlikely, the program cost is subject to change due to changes in airfare and exchange rates.

Participating students will enroll in the 1-credit hour service-learning course during the Spring and Summer A semester (IDH 3955H.0202, class number: 20194 ). This class counts as an interdisciplinary seminar for Honors graduation and will have regular class meetings during the spring semester in preparation for the trip that will occur in Summer A.  In spring, the class meeting times are MW 10:30-11:45 in BHC 131.  In addition, there will one or two required, follow-up class meetings toward the end of the summer.   All charges will be posted to your UCF student account by the Office of International Studies. 

Program Travel

The trip will be two weeks long and we are tentatively scheduled to depart Orlando on June 9 with a return date of June 25.  We will travel as a group for our international flights as well as in-country excursions.  Students must find their own transportation to and from Orlando International Airport.  Weekend excursions will include the following in Mexico City: the Citadela Market, Chapultepec Park, Frida Kahlo Blue House and Museum, National Museum of Anthropology, Zócalo, Teotihuacan Pyramids and Shrine of Guadalupe, and the following in Chiapas: Palenque Mayan Ruins, the Santo Domingo Market in San Cristobal de las Casas, Sumidero Canyon, San Juan de Machula Church/town and Agua Azul Cascades.

For more information and resources pertaining to the application process, please visit 


This program is currently not accepting applications.