IERC: International Education and Research Center

Approximate Cost:

$ 1,600 US DLLs per student; if taken for credit, tuition must be paid separately.

IERC reserves the right to cancel the program at a full refund, up to two weeks prior to the starting date.

Costs Include:

Home stay accommodations; transportation; entrance fees to all sites; most meals; lectures and talks; and learning materials.

Intensive Spanish Program for
Social and Cultural Awareness

This program consists of three weeks intensive Spanish classes with a special focus on language and developing awareness and knowledge of social needs and services in Mexico.

This program provides essential Spanish skills for people who intend to work in the social services field in the US and will be in contact with Latin American clientele. It offers participants with a hands-on experience of Mexican culture and with exposure to local socially-oriented organizations and institutions.

This program is offered in cooperation with the Centro de Idioma y Cultura Latinoamericana (CICLA). CICLA has extensive experience providing Spanish language training for personnel in the helping professions.  The school is family-run and well-integrated in the neighborhood and community. Participants will stay with local families in a modest neighborhood in the suburbs of Cuernavaca about 1 1/2 hours southwest of Mexico City.  The experience of living with a family will solidify the language learning experience.

Intensive Spanish Program Schedule:

Monday through Friday
The focus of the first week will be on the Spanish language in order for participants to establish a base in the language. Students’ current language skills will be evaluated and they will be placed in classes appropriate to their level. The maximum class size is four to five students per class allowing for optimum learning through specialized attention from the instructor. Classes will concentrate on conversation, grammar and communication strategies. Professional vocabulary will also be introduced during the first week.

Language classes will meet in the morning. In the afternoon, students will be able to choose from several cultural activities, such as: regional dance, music and cooking classes amongst others.

Classes will continue to emphasize conversation and communication, however, there will be an additional focus on relevant professional vocabulary, client dialogues as well as critical aspects of multicultural awareness.

Professional Seminars and Visits
Professionals will be invited to speak to participants at the CICLA facilities and at locations where services are provided. Discussions will focus on the Mexican social service system in order to provide a basic understanding of its structure and how it functions and compares to US systems. These seminars will look at social problems specific to a developing nation, including: migration, domestic violence, prostitution, street children, drug abuse and the consequences of extreme poverty. Seminars may be given in English depending on participants’ overall levels of Spanish.

Free Time
Students will have one afternoon per week to explore Cuernavaca and surrounding areas on their own.

On weekends students will participate in excursions to places of interest farther removed from Cuernavaca.  Some additional lectures will take place on weekends with experts from Mexico City, specifically focused on cultural differences between Mexico and the US and how this is reflected in language use. Excursions include:

  • A visit to Mexico City and some of its most outstanding historical and cultural sites, including the Zocala, National Palace, Dolores Olmedo Museum, the Chapultepec Castle and the Coyoacan area;
  • A visit to Teotihuacán, the famed archeological site located approximately an hour’s drive from Mexico City with a stop at Acolman
  • A visit to the Cuautla/Oaxtepec area of Morelos to trace Emiliano Zapata’s life; Emiliano Zapata was one of Mexico’s revolutionary leaders
  • A visit to the picturesque and historic silver city of Taxco