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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Program Manager:
Stephanie LaCava
Language of Instruction:
English, Spanish
Minimum G.P.A.:
Good Academic Standing
Number of credits per term:
Program Type:
Faculty Led
Enrollment Restrictions:
Some prior knowledge or study of Spanish recommended
Service Learning:
Program Description:
Oaxaca Banner 2015

The Program

2016 Student Photo Blogs
Click below to follow students' service-learning experiences in Oaxaca through their photos and reflections!

   From Oaxaca With Love   
     by Drym Oh   
             Rising Junior, Pharmacy 

This Time for Oaxaca
by Calibre Resua
Rising Senior, Biological Sciences

Oaxaca Summer 2016
by Nodira Ibragimova
Rising Junior, Sociology 
  • Learn about community-based health care models in southern Mexico through the lived experiences of its patients and practitioners.  
  • Study the medical anthropology of the region of Southern Mexico through an intensive seminar and by volunteering in one of a variety ofcommunity-basedd public health programs.
  • Enroll in intensive Spanish language classes with a focus on medical terminology and patient care.
  • Explore local culture by living in a homestay with a local Oaxacan family and through group excursions to important historical and cultural sites.
Your Host City: Oaxaca
Oaxaca, the capital city of the southern Mexican state of the same name, contains a fabulous wealth of pre-colonial heritage sites, as well as colonial and contemporary architecture.  Aside from its historical treasures, the city is also known for its cobbled streets, shaded squares, colonial churches, and busy markets. The city has some outstanding restaurants, cafés, and bars, too, together with top-notch museums, art galleries, and numerous festivals.  A little further afield, don’t miss the Mesoamerican architecture of Monte Alban, where some 25,000 Zapotecs (the original inhabitants of Oaxaca) once made their homes.

Faculty Director Profile:
Peter Guarnaccia

Dr. Guarnaccia, professor and chair in the Department of Human Ecology (SEBS) and the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, is the faculty director of the “Culture and Community Health in Oaxaca” program.  Dr. Guarnaccia’s research focuses on questions of transnational and intercultural community healthcare, with an emphasis on the Southern Mexican immigrant community of New Brunswick.  The summer program in Oaxaca is part of an ongoing project called “Transnational New Brunswick,” which aims to improve the lives of residents in both cities through Rutgers student and faculty research and service.

It is strongly encouraged that participants in the program have some prior knowledge of Spanish (either at high school or college level).  Applicants with no prior study of Spanish are still encouraged to apply, but should note that available spots may first be offered to applicants with higher language proficiency.

To view a previous year's syllabus for this program, please click here.  Please note, this is a sample syllabus, and all contents are subject to change.

The Culture and Community Health in Mexico program aims to expand awareness of health issues in Oaxaca, Mexico and among the Mexican immigrant community in New Jersey. Students will provide community service in a variety of public health programs in Oaxaca. In addition, they will participate in a seminar on the medical anthropology of Mexico, a course in medical Spanish, an integrative seminar linking community service with course readings, and cultural excursions.

Students on this program will enroll in two 3-credit classes:

Community Health Seminar
A seminar on the medical anthropology of Mexico, combined with volunteer service in local community health organizations, and a weekly 3-hour reflection seminar on community health experiences. Service placements include work in rural health clinics, in programs for the elderly, in services that support people who are HIV positive, and organizations that promote public health.

Medical Spanish
Students will be placed at the appropriate language level at Amigos del Sol Language School in Oaxaca. Your grade in the course on Medical Spanish will be based upon homework assigned by the teacher, and pre- and post-assessment by the Language School.

For information about Study Abroad credit transfer, registration, and transcripts please visit the Academics section of our website.

The program will include several weekend excursions.  Past excursions have included:
  • A day with the weavers of the Nueva Vida women's weaving cooperative in Teotitlan del Valle. There students will learn about the history of the women's weaving cooperative and experience a healing ceremony.
  • A visit to the village of Arrazola, known for its woodcarvings called alebrijes in Spanish. Students will meet members of EcoAlebijes, a cooperative of carvers who do their art in a sustainable way. They will also do a community service project in the community.
  • A hike to Monte Alban, a unique way to visit this impressive archeological site.
  • An excursion to Capulalpan, a small mountain community home to the only government-sponsored alternative medicine clinic in Mexico. Students will learn about the mining history of the community and participate in ecotourism activities such as hiking and ziplining.

Accommodations and Meals
Students will be housed with a host family in Oaxaca, in single or shared rooms with access to bathroom facilities. If you have a roommate, he or she will be another student on the Rutgers program. Bed linens and a pillow are provided. Your particular placement is made at the discretion of in-country staff; however, if you have special needs, such as dietary restrictions, please let your program manager know in advance.

Students will be provided with three meals daily from their Oaxacan host family, seven days a week.  This will include a light breakfast before going to class or community service placements; a mid-afternoon comida, typically the largest meal of the day; and a cena, a light evening meal after returning from Spanish class or other activities. Homestay families will work with students with special dietary needs and adjust to each day's schedule of activities.

Financial Information
Program costs for 2018 will be updated by the end of the fall semester.

For more information about the Program Cost and additional Non-Billable Expenses for this program from 2016, please view the program budget sheet.

For more information about study abroad finances, including information about financial aid and tuition remission, please visit the Finances section of our website.

As part of your preparation to apply for this study abroad program, please familiarize yourself with the Center for Global Education withdrawal policy.

Students are encouraged to start researching scholarship opportunities as early as possible.  There are many kinds of scholarships available, with different eligibility requirements and application criteria.  To get a sense of what scholarships are available for your program, please download the Scholarships At-A-Glance worksheet, and visit our Scholarship Directory for a comprehensive list of study abroad scholarships.