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  • Locations: Oaxaca City, Mexico
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • **
Fact Sheet:
Credit Type: Resident Credit Program Type: Department-Led Program
SDSU Office: Arts and Letters
Program Description:
Zapotec Language and Culture Immersion
 Oaxaca Zapotec banner
Summer 2018
Course Dates: June 15 – August 21, 2018
In-Country Dates: June 17 – July 28, 2018
Price: $5,000

*CLICK HERE for upcoming information sessions*

April 1, 2018 (extension possible)
Application is open to SDSU students and non-students

Zapotec, one of the most widely spoken indigenous languages in Mexico, is spoken in Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Veracruz. This intensive program is taught by native Isthmus Zapotec speakers and linguists through the Casa de La Cultura in Juchitán. The course, taught in Spanish, includes five hours of classroom instruction, four to five days per week, over a six week period with workshops and fieldtrips to market centers, elementary and secondary schools, hospitals, and other community-based centers of social interaction. Participants will experience a full immersion in Zapotec culture and language through homestays with Zapotec speaking families. Juchitán, a coastal economic hub, is located between Oaxaca City and the state of Chiapas. Both locations are easily accessed from Juchitán. Professor Thomas Villalobos Aguino of Universidad Pedagógica Nacional (UPN) and the administrators of Casa de la Cultura de Juchitán coordinate the program in Oaxaca along with Dr. Ramona Pérez, a Oaxacan scholar from the Department of Anthropology at SDSU.

COURSE (Name and title)
LATAM 120: Introductory Zapotec Language and Culture Immersion (4 units)
All units are SDSU resident credit.
Credits earned in the Zapotec summer program can be used towards satisfying SDSU foreign language requirement.

Juchitán, and Valley of Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico

ACTIVITIES (subject to change)
  • Weekly field trips to workshops with local artisans, merchant communities, local community organizations and leaders.
Students will live in home stays with a local family, which includes a private bedroom, shared bathroom (with family within walking distance) and two meals a day.


Perez, Ramona-Program Director
Dr. Ramona Perez
Professor of Anthropology
Director, Center for Latin American Studies
Dr. Perez’s research focuses on youth identity and empowerment among transnational, Mexican and Central American migrant youth; food, nutrition, and health among marginalized populations; ethnic marginalization and the state; rural to urban community growth; the political economy of tourism in Oaxaca; and the gendered and moral nature of community economies in Mexico. Her current work spans the US/Mexico border, southern Mexico, Nicaragua, and Brazil. She conducts a summer qualitative research field school, directs internship opportunities for graduate students in the border region and throughout Latin America, and coordinates the Mixtec and Zapotec language programs at SDSU.
Professor Thomas Villalobos Aguino of Universidad Pedagógica Nacional (UPN) will teach the course, and administrators of Casa de la Cultura de Juchitán will coordinate the program in Oaxaca.

Program cost: $5,000 
2018 Payment Schedule (instructions will be sent to students that have applied and been accepted into the program.)
  • May 1: $4,360 program fee and tuition due to the Southwest Center 
  • June 7: $140 SDSU Foreign Travel Insurance Plan SDSU
    • Students must login to Student Account Services to pay this bill prior to departure to avoid a late fee. Students from other institutions will be given a link to submit payment. 
Withdrawal Policy
If you intend to withdraw from the program you must notify the SDSU Office of International Programs in writing. Email notification is acceptable: 
Refund Policies
  • Refund policy for program fee paid to Southwest Center:
    • 100% of the program fee is refundable up to May 1
    • 50% of the program fee is non-refundable for withdrawals after May 1
    • No refunds will be issued for withdrawals on or after May 15, 2018 
  • Refunds for course tuition follow the College of Extended Studies (CES) standard refund policy.  
  • SDSU Foreign Travel Insurance is non-refundable after May 25
Included in the Program Cost
  • Four units of SDSU Resident Credit
  • Housing and some meals
  • Program activities (see above)
  • Transportation to group activities
  • SDSU Foreign Travel Insurance
  • 24/7 onsite emergency services and support
Not included in the fee
  • International airfare
  • Passport and visa expenses
  • Some meals
  • Some in-country transportation
  • Personal expenses
Students should allocate between $600-$1000 for some meals, some in-country transportation and personal expenses not included in the program fee.

Funding and Scholarship Information 
Apply for the SDSU Associated Students Study Abroad Scholarship
Deadline: Feb 23, 2018 at 3:00 pm

This program meets all of the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships Program (FLAS) criteria. Students are encouraged to apply from any FLAS awarding institutions that support indigenous languages. (Non-SDSU students)

Tinker Foundation Field Research Grant
Tinker grants fund the travel and partial logistic costs of graduate students who are doing preliminary research in Latin America and who are pursuing or intend to pursue a Ph.D. The objective of this grant is to provide students with the opportunity to immerse themselves into their perspective fields and attain language knowledge, cultural background, initiate research contacts, network with institutions and possible informants and/or research subjects, and gather preliminary research data.
Deadline to apply: March 23, 2018 
Click here to download application

IIE Generation Study Abroad Travel Grants- San Diego State is a Commitment Partner of IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative and, as such, our students qualify for the IIE Generation Study Abroad Travel Grants. This means YOU – yes YOU – could be eligible to receive $2,000 to support your study abroad travel costs! Visit the IIE Generation Study Abroad Travel Grants website to learn more about the opportunity and program, including eligibility and deadlines/timeline. Submit your online application by March 7, 2018 for consideration of a Travel Grant to support your participation in a spring 2018 or summer 2018 study abroad program. Send questions to On the application please list Colleen Conniff <> as the SDSU financial aid contact.
Additional scholarship information

Participants will need a passport valid for 6 months past the return date.
SDSU Passport Office

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (undergraduate) and 3.5 (graduate) or permission of the Program Director, Dr. Ramona Perez.
  • All applications must attend an info session or meet with the CLAS study abroad advisor, Tyler Linvill, in order to be eligible for this program. Contact information can be found below.
  • Open to undergraduates, graduates, professors and independent scholarship, as well as professionals working with Zapotec communities
  • Spanish fluency highly recommended; Zapotec language class is taught through Spanish language
  • SDSU students cannot be on academic probation (less than 2.0 GPA) or disciplinary probation (expulsion, judicial, or suspension) at the time of application and/or at the time of course registration.
  • Minimum age to participate is 18
All participants must complete BOTH a mandatory online pre-departure as well as an in-person orientation on campus. Non-SDSU may participate in the campus orientation remotely via a Zoom web conference. Details about both will be sent after acceptance into the program.
Application deadline: April 1, 2018
Required materials:
Applicants must complete the Aztecs Abroad online application by the above deadline, along with the following supplemental materials:
  • 500-700 word essay that elaborates on the candidate’s interest in participating in the Zapotec Language and Culture Immersion program
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Letter of Recommendation – Professor providing recommendation should email recommendation letter to by application deadline.
  • Non-SDSU only - Unofficial transcript
Applicants are required to submit the essay and upload the required materials to the following google form**:

** Please note that applicants must have a google account in order to complete the google form and upload the required materials. Applicants who do not have a google account should create one for the purpose of completing the google form and submitting the required materials.

Applicants will be considered on a rolling basis.
Selected applicants will be informed of their acceptance by April 15, 2018.

Tyler Linvill  
Study Abroad Coordinator
Center for Latin American Studies

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.