It is one of the very top states for tourism growth in all of Mexico. It is home to a variety of landscapes, climates, and cultures — hot, sunny, surf-worthy beaches on the southwest Pacific coast; crisp, jungle-like mountain regions; small, rustic pueblos (villages) where the people still speak indigenous languages; a capital city named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a state that boasts some of the most delicious and desired dishes in a nation already world-famous for its food. Who wouldn’t want to study in these surroundings? Just where is this diverse paradise? Look no further than Oaxaca, Mexico.
Things to Do
The state capital, Oaxaca City, has endless, interesting museums, and just outside the capital city lies the UNESCO World Heritage site of the ancient ruins of Monte Albán. Many weaving, pottery, and cooking classes or apprenticeships are available in or near the city. The Pacific coast of Oaxaca is home to a plethora of animal species, which can be seen and studied through ecotourism. Trips to pueblos throughout the state are an excellent way to listen to and learn indigenous languages. Whatever your studying preference, Oaxaca provides the opportunity.
Studying in Oaxaca
In and of itself, traveling to Oaxaca is a great way to gain knowledge. Beyond that, study abroad in Oaxaca is a possibility for most majors, as the state has a variety of international education options.
While Oaxaca is still an up-and-coming tourist destination in Mexico, it has already become a very popular place for study abroad programs. In Oaxaca, the most common program for international students is Spanish immersion. Most of these courses are offered at a variety of language schools in the state capital, Oaxaca City, and a few are also available closer to the dazzling coastline, in colorful beach cities such as Puerto Escondido and Huatulco.
Spanish immersion classes usually take place four to five days a week, in two- to four-hour blocks in the morning or early afternoon, often with workshops, language exchanges and excursions incorporated in the schedule. The amount of time spent in class each day depends on the student’s level of Spanish study, such as regular/ basic, intensive/ intermediate, or super-intensive/ advanced. Some schools offer more specific programs, such as courses for children, Business or Medical Spanish, and courses for Spanish teachers. Class sizes are typically very small (no more than ten students), so students receive a lot of individual attention from the teacher. Private lessons, too, are often an option.
Prices for these programs are normally based on a week-by-week payment plan. For regular, small-class courses, the cost ranges from $120-$300 per week, depending on the level. Private classes tend to almost double in price or are charged by the hour. Accommodations will add to the price, depending on if the room is private or shared, and what kinds of amenities are provided. Sometimes meals are included in the price, but some programs charge extra for homestay meals. If you are planning to study for a month or more, it is advisable to rent an apartment, which can start around $300 per month.
A popular choice for study abroad in Oaxaca is also Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)/Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certificate courses. The courses are offered by language centers in Oaxaca City, and last for four weeks, at a total of 130 hours. The courses are multi-faceted, with training that includes instruction, observations, workshops, lesson planning, classroom teaching sessions, assignments, and feedback. Some programs have extras, such as culture or language classes and job placement assistance after completion of the course. Class sizes are small, typically with no more than six students per teacher. Most of these courses require that attendees be at least 18 years old and/or have a bachelor’s degree.
Some programs provide accommodations through homestays, while others require students to find their own housing. Whether choosing to rent an apartment or stay in a hotel or hostel, housing in Oaxaca is generally quite affordable for international students.
A number of universities in the United States offer undergraduate study abroad programs in Oaxaca during a quarter or semester for college credit. Subjects studied range from clinical medicine to history and culture to architecture. Spanish immersion is also a common option, though all the programs incorporate some form of Spanish study. Field trips to many historical sites throughout the state are also a part of the programs. Normally, students pay the regular tuition of their university, plus any Oaxaca program fees, though some courses charge a single, separate fee. Housing is typically provided through homestays with a Oaxacan family.