UIC Oaxaca study abroad for heritage speakers



There are several scholarships listed here, check it out: http://studyabroad.uic.edu/scholarships/

Gillman Scholarship
Nuveen scholarship


This program is for UIC students who grew up speaking Spanish in the home (this means that you placed into SPAN 113, 114, or 204 @ UIC). It is for 4 weeks in Oaxaca, Mexico and is led by UIC professor Kim Potowski.

UIC Study Abroad Oaxaca website

SUMMER 2021 dates = PROBABLY July 15 - August 15, 2021.

All students take two (2) courses:

One (1) Spanish course, 6 different options:
Course descriptions at 

SPAN 114: Spanish for heritage speakers II (4 credits)
SPAN 202: Spanish grammar (3 credits)
SPAN 204: Advanced composition (3 credits)
SPAN 206: Introduction to linguistics (3 credits)
SPAN 363: Spanish in society (3 credits)
SPAN 399: Independent study (3 credits)


ONE Mexican culture course (same for everyone). Can count as SPAN 360 or LALS 399.


All courses are taught by faculty at the Ollin Tlahtoalli Centro de Lenguas y Cultura except SPAN 363 and SPAN 399 which are taught by Professor Potowski. 

We take field trips every Saturday to local sites of archeological and cultural interest, including Monte Albán, Hierve el Agua, and visits with local communities.  

Students may complete internships in areas related to medicine, education, the law, and other areas.

Check out this excellent video made by the 2013 group!   "Like" our Facebook page!



Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the program cost?

Approximately $3,700 includes tuition, housing and food (2 meals per day), airport pickup, orientation, all Saturday trips, and cultural workshops. NOTE: This price will go down if more than six (6) students sign up.

Airfare (as low as $400... check out https://www.kiwi.com), mandatory international health insurance ($27) and spending money are not included.

Most students do NOT pay the entire amount! There are many scholarships and other financial aid available. For example:

Fund for Education Abroad scholarship. Click on "Apply for an FEA study abroad scholarship".
Gillman Scholarship.

See here for other possibilities: http://studyabroad.uic.edu/scholarships/

Where will I live?

All students live with a host family that lives within 15 minutes' walking distance of the school where you take classes. You have a private bedroom and eat breakfast and "comida" (the main meal of the day, served at around 1:30 or 2:00 pm) with the family. UIC requests that no other students be in the home at the same time, but sometimes there is overlap with a student from another country. You/your parents may contact the host family via telephone before your arrival to get to know them. Families are very good about accommodating any dietary or allergy restrictions. Past students have formed close lasting bonds with their Oaxacan families and several have returned to visit them.

What is a typical day like on this program?

Monday:        10:00-1:00 Spanish class. 1:00-4:00 free time and comida at home. 4:00-6:00 workshop or cultural activity, for example, Benito Juárez' childhood home
Tuesday:       10:00-1:00 Spanish class. 1:00-4:00 free time and comida at home. 4:00-6:00 workshop or cultural activity, for example Santo Domingo
Wednesday:  10:00-1:00 Spanish class. 1:00-4:00 free time and comida at home. 4:00-6:00 workshop or cultural activity, for example el Mercado Sánchez Pascuas
Thursday:      All day activity, for example El Jardín Etnobotánico
Friday:           10:00-1:00 Spanish class. 1:00-4:00 free time and comida at home.
Saturday:       9:00-3:00 Field trip to sites such as Monte Albán, Teotitlán del Valle, Mitla, Hierve el agua, etc.
Sunday:         FREE DAY.


Do all of the offered courses count towards a Spanish major or minor?

YES, all courses count toward a Spanish major/minor (except SPAN 114, which fulfills the foreign language requirement). You may contact the LAS Spanish advisor Sara Nobbe (senobbe@uic.edu) if you have any questions about this.


I understand that all students take one Spanish class from the above list of 5 options. What would I do in SPAN 399 Independent Study?

If you are eligible for SPAN 399 Independent Study, you will carry out a research project that is related to some aspect of Oaxacan culture and life. This could be at a hospital, in an elementary school, about a local indigenous language, or some other relevant topic. This is carried out with the close assistance of the program director, UIC professor Kim Potowski.


How do I apply?

The first step is to attend a required meeting called "First Steps" at the UIC Study Abroad Office. Go to https://studyabroad.uic.edu/first-steps/ for the schedule.

Applications are due March 13, 2020. Applications are available at the UIC Study Abroad Oaxaca website

Can I talk to a student who already went on this program, and/or with their parents?

Of course! In addition to emailing the program director, Professor Potowski (kimpotow@uic.edu) with any questions, you can email the following students and they will be happy to answer your questions. They can also put your parents in touch with their parents.

sara iz  Sara Izquierdo, sizqui2_at_uic.edu

mayraMayra Huerta, mayrahu1122_at_gmail.com

AnnabelAnnabel Torres, torresannabel343_at_gmail.com  --> Her mom's email is magodelrey_at_yahoo.com 

belemBelem Medina, belmed91_at_gmail.com

maritzaMaritza Castillo, maritza_silverio_at_yahoo.com




Wednesday March 4, 2020. 5:30-7:30 pm, LATINO CULTURAL CENTER

Arrive when you can, stay as long as you like. Parents are welcome. Ask any questions about the program!

tamale photo


Fulbright in Oaxaca, 2011-2012

I have been honored with a Fulbright Research & Teaching Grant for the academic year 2011-2012.  I will be moving with my family to Oaxaca, Mexico.