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Fact Sheet:
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
Application opens Spring 2019. Add yourself to the inquiry list.

Summer 2019
Course Dates: June 14 – August 20, 2019
In-Country Dates: June 16 – July 26, 2019
Price: TBD

*CLICK HERE for upcoming information sessions*

April 1, 2019 (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: TBD
2018 Payment Schedule (instructions will be sent to students that have applied and been accepted into the program.)
  • TBD
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, 2019 
  • 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 
AS Study Abroad Scholarship (Fall Cycle) - Deadline: Sept. 28, 2019

AS Study Abroad Scholarship (Spring Cycle) - Application opens Nov. 1, 2018; deadline Feb. 23, 2019

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.
Application opens Spring 2019.

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. 2019 Application available soon.
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, 2019
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
Application instructions available Spring 2019.

Ricardo Betancourt
Study Abroad Coordinator
Center for Latin American Studies

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2019 03/15/2019 03/15/2019 TBA TBA