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  • Locations: Chiapas, Mexico
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Restrictions: UCF applicants only
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2019 02/15/2019 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be notified via email upon acceptance into this program.
Program Description:
VIVA Mexico: Leadership and Empowerment
Chiapas, Mexico
Spring Extended (Runs in Summer) 2018
May 4- May 20 

Viva Mexico banner

Program Description

The Burnett Honors College will offer a unique leadership experience working with young adults learning English in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. 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 Language School of the Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas (UNACH) students and with the secondary school César Querrero in the Corazón de María community in the state of Chiapas (Southwest), Mexico. This Service Learning will involve matching a TBHC student to UNACH 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 is to work with the non-profit 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. 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. 


The trip will be two weeks long and we are tentatively scheduled to depart Orlando May 4th through May 20th.  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, San Juan de Machula Church/town and possibly the Agua Azul Cascades.

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 2018. 

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 stated program cost is $1,500. This cost may be offset by scholarships of $500-$1000. You can find more information about available scholarships here. 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 with Dr. M. C. Santana scheduled for T and Th during spring term and 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 Spring extended term (IDH 3955H-0202). 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 TTH 9-10:30, BHC 229.  In addition, there will one or two required, follow-up class meetings toward the end of the summer.  

This is a UCF Study Abroad sponsored program, thus all charges will be posted to your UCF student account by the Office of International Studies. In addition, students will be required to complete online modules prior to traveling abroad.

Important Dates

All dates are subject to change.
  • October 27 12 noon application deadline (bring material to the front desk of Honors) 
  • Week of October 31 Group interviews
  • November 10 Acceptance letters are sent to students
  • December 5-12 12 noon deadline for students to accept offer
  • January 8 Classes begin
  • Spring Semester Classes Tu & Th 9:00AM-10:30AM
  • May 4 Depart from Orlando International Airport
  • May 20 Return to Orlando International Airport


Eligible candidates must be Honors students in good standing who will not graduate prior to Summer 2019. Applicants for this program should complete this application form and submit all supporting materials no later than 12 noon on October 27, 2017. All materials must be checked off before turning in. Supporting materials must include all of the following:
  1. The application form, completed and signed.
  2. By this application, permission is given to the Honors College to review your academic transcript.
  3. A cover letter describing your interest in applying to this program and your goals for studying abroad and your resume.
  4. 500 word essay commenting on the following quote from James Baldwin: “I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself.”
  5. A letter of recommendation from a UCF faculty member familiar with your work.

Must be able to attend spring classes Tuesdays & Thursday from 9:00 -10:30AM. Finalists for this program will be selected on the basis of these materials as well as an interview to be scheduled by early November.