UIC Oaxaca study abroad for heritage speakers

Social Justice, Identity, and Language in Oaxaca:
Summer study abroad for heritage speakers 
July 14 - August 11, 2022 


This program is for bilingual Spanish students (those who have been in contact with Spanish through their homes or through extended periods in a Spanish- speaking country) to complete their language requirement or begin their major/minor courses in a diverse environment. Students learn about history, migration, Mexico-U.S. relationships, social justice, and art through the Ollin Tlahtoalli: Centro de Lenguas y Cultura Mexicana a.c. Field study forms a key part of the courses as students visit various parts of Oaxaca. Students will also participate in structured reflections about Latino identity in the U.S. and Mexico.

Students will receive 6 or 7 UIC credit hours (depending on the coursework) upon successful completion of the program. All participants are required to attend two mandatory online pre-departure sessions in May.


There are several scholarships listed here, check it out: https://studyabroad.uic.edu/students/program-costs-and-financial-aid/sch...


Up to ten (10) grants of $1,000 each will be awarded. Complete applications must be submitted via SnaP by 5:00 pm Central time on Friday, March 11, 2022. For additional information, please contact sao@uic.edu.   

Gillman Scholarship
Fund for Education Abroad scholarship



UIC Study Abroad Oaxaca website

SUMMER 2021 dates = July 15 - August 12, 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!

Possible Research topics: 
  • Indigeneity: Students will read about the 16 indigenous groups in the state of Oaxaca and interview speakers of at least two (2) of the local indegenous language groups in order to understand themes of minoritized languages, bilingualism and majority language education.
  • Access to healthcare: Only for students with some basic medical training. Students will volunteer at the local Red Cross and assist walk-in doctors and nurses with patient care. They will also complete a research project about the Mexican healthcare system and the different degrees of access afforded to members of society.
  • Women in society: Students carry out a research project on the ways in which Mexican women generally, and Oaxacan women specifically, contribute to the private and the public economies through their labor and cultural, religious, and familiar activities.


Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the program cost?

Approximately $4,000 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.

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 12, 2021. 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



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.