Merida, Mexico

Winter Interim in Merida, Mexico

MEX 360 is designed to give students a full immersion experience.  Students will live with a Mexican family and have their three meals a day with them.  Monday through Friday the students will have class 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. The course is structured like a conversation class. Each student will be assigned different cultural readings and will present on their readings every day and direct discussion on their topics. There will also be grammar and vocabulary review. From 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. students will prepare their presentations for the next day and then head home for the midday meal with their families. In the afternoons and weekend students will visit cities, Mayan ruins, art and history museums, take a Mexican cooking class, and much more.  The time on the Yucatan Peninsula culminates with a tour of the ancient city of Chichen Itza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and ends with the last day in Playa del Carmen on the Caribbean Sea. In this course students will further develop their speaking and aural comprehension skills as well as increase their vocabulary and grammar through daily reading and writing assignments.

December 26, 2023 – January 11, 2024

Where You’ll Go

*Specific dates and activities are subject to change*

Thursday, December 7, 5:00-7:00 pm (2 class hours)
Orientation Session. Introduction to Course. Assignment of Readings. 


Dec 26: Arriving at Mérida 

Dec 27: (9:00am – 11:50am) Unidad 1: Las familias y las comunidades. Noticias de periódicos  (12:00pm – 1:00pm) Tarea en parejas. (Evening) Visita al Centro de Mérida 

Dec 28: (9:00am – 11:50am) Unidad 2: La ciencia y la tecnología. Noticias de periódicos  (12:00pm – 1:00pm) Tarea en parejas.  (Evening) Taller de chocolate 

Dec 29: Excursion to Excursion to Uxmal, Santa Elena and Cenote de Pebá  

Dec 30: Excursion to Cuzamá (Cenotes)  

Dec 31: Excursion to Dzibichaltun, Cena de Fin de Año 

Jan 1: Excursion to Celestum 

Jan 2: (9:00 – 11:50am) Unidad 3: La belleza y la estética. Noticias de periódicos  (12:00pm – 1:00pm) Tarea en parejas.  (Evening) Serenata de Santa Lucía 

Jan 3: (9:00am – 11:50am) Unidad 4: La vida contemporánea. Noticias de periódicos  (12:00pm – 1:00pm) Tarea en parejas. (Evening) Taller de tortilla 

Jan 4: (9:00am – 11:50am) Unidad 5: Los dedafíos mundiales. Noticias de periódicos   (12:00pm – 1:00pm) Tarea en parejas  (Evening) Visita al Museo Maya 

Jan 5: (9:00 – 11:50am) Unidad 6: Las identidades personales y públicas. Noticias[…] (12:00pm – 1:00pm) Tarea en parejas. (Evening) Clase de salsa  

Jan 6: Excursion to Izama  

Jan 7: Excursion to Chichen Itzá-Cenote Iki 

Jan 8: (9:00am – 11:50am) Presentación final: (Mérida, Celestum, Izamal, Chichen Itza, Uxmal,  Dzibichaltun) (12:00pm – 1:00pm) Ensayo final. 

Jan 9: Departing for Playa del Carmen  

Jan 10: Excursion to Tulum  

Jan 11: Return home from Cancun airport  


Tuesday, January 23, 5:00-7:00pm Public Presentations  

 (Please note: The first day of the Spring semester is Tuesday, January 16, 2024)

What You’ll Study

Program Name: Yucatan and Mexican Culture
Course Number: MEX 360
Credits: 3.0
Term & Dates: Winter Interim, December 26, 2023-January 11, 2024
Pre-Requisites: SPAN 330 – Spanish Grammar & Composition
Degree Fulfillments: Satisfies LSP Intercultural Competency Requirements

Click HERE for full course syllabus

Course Readings: 

  • Draggett, Parthena, Cole Conlin, Max Ehrsam and Elizabeth Millán. Temas.   AP Spanish Language and Culture.  Boston: Vistas Higher Learning, 2014.



Study Abroad Enrollment Fee: $1,141.50

Calculated at $380.50 per credit x 3 credits

Study Abroad Course Fee: $54.00

Calculated at $18.00 per credit x 3 credits

Study Abroad Insurance Fee: $41.75

Calculated at $41.75.00 per month x 1 months

Study Abroad Travel Fee: $2,187

Including: Use of classrooms, travel package, admissions and tours, beach package, airport shuttle, contingency fee, and instructor expenses (NOTE: International Airfare is NOT included in Travel Fee**)

Study Abroad Housing Fee: $490.00

Including: Home stay fees, Cancun hotel, ALL meals

**NOTE: International Airfare is NOT included in Travel Fee, the estimated cost for this flight is an additional $800-$1,200.


Foundation Scholarships Available

The Truman State University Foundation offers scholarships to students who are studying abroad on faculty-led programs. Students applying for faculty-led programs will be automatically considered for Foundation Scholarships when they complete their TruView Study Abroad application by the their program’s deadline. To Apply: TruView > Student > Registration Tool > Apply to Study Abroad > Application > Term: Winter Interim 2023-24 > Applying for Faculty-Led Program

In addition to potential scholarships, students may be eligible for additional financial aid. Please talk with the Financial Aid Office for more information.





Regular Deposit*



Payment 1



Payment 2





This section contains estimated out-of-pocket program costs students will pay themselves before, during, and possibly after the program. The items appearing here are only estimates and will vary due to changes in currency rates, market conditions, foreign government fee increases, personal student spending habits, and non-program related activities in which a student chooses to participate.
Expense Estimated Cost
U.S. Passport (first time applicant) $200.00
Travel Health Consult & Vaccinations $100.00-$200.00
Meals on Your Own $50
Personal Necessities $50.00-$100.00
Airfare $800.00-$1200.00


Flight Information

This program does not include Group Airfare as part of its billed cost. Students participating in this program will not have their flights arranged for them, but must purchase their own tickets. Students should never purchase tickets until they receive notice from the study abroad office that their program has been confirmed. This cannot be confirmed until after the first trip payment deadline. Additionally, students are highly encouraged to investigate travel or flight insurance options or purchase cash-refundable tickets according to their need to mitigate risk of financial loss should the program or flights be cancelled. Students must share a copy of their tickets or an itinerary of travel with the study abroad office at least one month prior to departure. Students are free to arrange with one another to travel in groups to the destination, but the Study Abroad Office will be unable to assist with such arrangements. The program will officially start at a designated meeting point in the country where the program takes place. Program directors will give students detailed instructions on the exact time and place where the group will convene and any necessary logistical information about how to get there. Students will be responsible for getting to the designated meeting place at the indicated time. Students who experience delays or other issues arriving on time should communicate with their program directors as soon as possible. Similarly, the program will conclude at a designated time and place in the country abroad and students will be responsible for their return travel home.


Cancellation and Refund Policies

There are two situations under which CIEA will cancel a faculty-led program. The first is cancellation ahead of or as of the confirmation deadline, typically due to insufficient enrollment. This occurs when a program fails to reach the minimum number of confirmed participants by the confirmation deadline or when other events lead a program to have to be cancelled before it is confirmed. Since program funds are never spent until the program is confirmed, participants in programs cancelled before or as of the confirmation deadline will all receive a full refund of all program fees they have paid to that point. The second circumstance is cancellation due to unforeseeable circumstances after a program has been confirmed. While CIEA attempts to avoid cancellation wherever possible, there are certain times when it is unavoidable, such as global pandemic, changes in local conditions, or even if a large number of late withdrawals makes a program financially non-viable. Under these circumstances, CIEA will issue all participants a refund of all program fees which have not already been paid in non-refundable payments to a third party vendor. CIEA will do its best under such circumstances to recover all costs and mitigate any losses for students, but cannot guarantee a full refund. In the extremely rare event that a program were cancelled while in progress, the Executive Director for International Education in consultation with the VPAA, the Comptroller, and University Council would review the circumstances and make a determination regarding any refunds.

Refunds for students who voluntarily withdraw from a program will vary depending on when they withdraw, according to the following guidelines:

  • Withdrawal before the confirmation deadline: refund of confirmation payment (if already made)
  • Withdrawal after the confirmation deadline but before the final payment deadline: refund of final payment only (if already made)
  • Withdrawal after the final payment deadline: no refund

Students who wish to withdraw must make their withdrawal official by completing the withdrawal form. CIEA will consider withdrawal official on the day the form is submitted and follow up with students with a withdrawal email detailing all withdrawal policies. Finally, students who are dismissed from the program due to disciplinary or other issues will not be entitled to a refund of any program payments and will additionally be responsible for all additional expenses related to their early departure from the program.



Your Instructor

A picture of Matthew Tornatore, a Professor of Foreign Languages

Matthew Tornatore
Professor of Foreign Languages | BH 205


A bit about Dr. Tornatore…

B.A., University of New York (Albany)
M.A., University of Madrid, Spain
Ph.D., The University of New York (Albany)

Teaching interests: Linguistics and Spanish literature.

Professor Tornatore holds a doctorate in Hispanic Linguistics from The University of New York at Albany and has done his Master’s work in Hispanic Linguistics in Madrid, Spain. He offers courses in linguistics, Spanish culture, literature, and all levels of language. His research interests include Renaissance and Medieval studies as well as the history of the Italian and Spanish languages. He has presented scholarly papers and published in his field. He has traveled extensively through Italy and Spain in addition to many other countries. Moreover, Dr. Tornatore also speaks fluent Italian and holds a B.A. and graduate studies in Russian. His pedagogical expertise in foreign languages derives in large part from his years of teaching in recognized language immersion programs in the Northeast. In addition, he brings to Truman a firm dedication to the humanist tradition from renowned liberal arts colleges in New York in which he taught.

You must have completed SPAN 330 prior to the beginning the program.

Early Application Deadline: October 5, 2023

Students who wish to be considered for Foundation Scholarships will need to complete ALL OF the steps outlined below before October 5, 2023. Truman awards more than $90,000 in Foundation Scholarships for Faculty-Led Study Abroad Programs in individual awards ranging from $1,000-$4,000. Foundation Scholarships will be announced by October 12, and students will have until October 26 to either accept or decline any award. Deposits made before the early deadline of October 5 will be refundable until October 26 regardless of whether an award is received.

Regular Application Deadline: Rolling until October 26, 2023

Admissions for this program are rolling, but we encourage students to complete ALL OF the application steps outlined below as soon as possible, and no later than October 26, in order to secure a place in the program. All deposits made after October 26 will be non-refundable unless the program is cancelled. The first payment (confirmation payment) is due October 26 and is non-refundable unless the program is cancelled. The final payment is due November 9, 2023 and also non-refundable unless the program is cancelled.

How to Apply

Apply through TruView. Go to TruView > Tools > Student > Registration Tool > Apply to Study Abroad > Application > Term > Applying for Faculty-Led Program. TruView Applications for this program will open at the start of Fall semester. Students applying for faculty-led programs will be automatically considered for Foundation scholarships when they complete their TruView Study Abroad application by their program’s deadline. The application will ask for responses to several short-answer questions, passport information, two emergency contacts, and your acceptance of an assumption of risk and release form and media waivers.

Complete Your Registration Agreement. At the time of application, you must complete your registration agreement for the program term through TruView.

Submit Additional Materials If Required. After submitting your application, you may be contacted by the Instructor or the Study Abroad Office with a supplemental application document to complete and return. In some cases, an in-person interview may also be required.

Pay the Truman Cashier a $200 deposit. Once you have been accepted into this program, you will need to immediately pay the Truman cashier a $200 deposit in order to secure your spot in the program. You may also pay online by going to: TruView > Student > Student Finances & Employment > Student Account Suite > Then follow the steps: Click “Deposits” at the top of the page, Select the term, Select a deposit payment method, “Continue” Choose a payment method.