IERC: International Education and Research Center

Approximate Cost:

$ 1,700 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:

All accommodations; transportation and airfare; entrance fees to all sites; most meals; lectures and talks; one professor accompanying the group throughout the tour; and a resource package with reading materials required for students to read prior and during the trip.


Rain Forest Reflections and Revelations

A Journey Into the Natural World

This program consists of a one-week academic tour, which takes students on a trip to southern Mexico.  The program can be expanded to include lectures and pertinent site-visits in Mexico City and surrounding areas with the support from the International Renewable Resources Institute (IRRI) at an additional cost.

The program incorporates hands-on learning experiences with lectures and real-life examples of environmental dilemmas and projects.

Students may be eligible for course credit(s), if they meet with additional academic requirements as determined for this purpose by the student’s home university.  Additional work may be comprised of participating in additional class sessions and writing a research project or research paper.

Rain Forest Reflections and Revelations Program Schedule:

  • DAY FIVE: Rainforest Diversity
    • Question and Answer Session on thoughts, questions and general themes that have arisen to date
    • Tour of various areas of the rain forest with an in-depth look at the biodiversity found in rain forests.
    • Tour of the Chajul facilities with a detailed analysis of all items in place there that help preserve the environment
    • Lecture Topics:
      • The Dilemmas of Rain Forests: Land Usage, Financial Needs and Social Realities
      • Primary Destructive Forces: Modern Nature versus the Rain Forest
      • Primary Destructive Forces: Society’s Impact, an Analysis of the Amazon Rain Forest
    • Night at the Biodiversity Research Station

  • DAY SIX: Chajul to Villahermosa via Yaxchilán
    • Final comments and thoughts on biodiversity with the Chajul researchers
    • Departure to Yaxchilán, an archeological site that is primarily run by indigenous groups and has neither been fully uncovered nor become a tourist attraction
    • Visit of Yaxchilán with a Lacadon guide
    • Return to Villahermosa
    • Lecture Topics:
      • Indigenous Life: Current Realities and Environmental Awareness
      • Conservation and Preservation in an Era of Modernization and Neo-Liberal Economic Policies
      • Issues of Development: The Reach of Governmental Policies in Infrastructure Poor Countries
    • Night in Villahermosa

  • DAY SEVEN: Villahermosa to Mexico City
    • Morning Lectures
      • The International Community and Environmental Policies- Realities in the Lacandon Rain Forest Area
      • International Agreements and Protocols: Socio-Economic Impacts on Developing Countries
    • Free time to explore Villahermosa
    • Afternoon return to Mexico City
  • DAY ONE: Mexico City to Villahermosa, Tabasco
    • Early morning lecture in Mexico City to introduce issues and topics that will be discussed throughout the tour
    • Flight from Mexico City to Villahermosa, Tabasco
    • Afternoon visit to oil refineries
    • Lecture Topics:
      • Resources and the Environment: The Management of High-Priced Resources, their Sustainability and Environmental Impact Analysis
      • The Role of Oil: Oil-Based Economies of Latin America, Benefits and Downfalls; Mexico and Venezuela as Case Studies
      • Alternative Energy Sources: Innovative Ideas and Approaches; the Case of Brazil
    • Hotel in Villahermosa

  • DAY TWO: Villahermosa to Chajul via Palenque
    • Question and Answer Session on issues raised during previous day
    • Transportation to Palenque
    • Site visit of Palenque – one of Mexico’s most fascinating archeological sites
    • Transportation to Chajul, a Biodiversity Research Station
    • Lecture Topics:
      • The Past as an Ideal: Mayan Myths and Environmental/Ecological Conservation
      • Realities of Environmental Sustainability and the Demise of the Maya
      • Social versus Ecological Needs: Dilemmas of National Development
    • Night at the Biodiversity Research Station

  • DAY THREE: Exploring Chajul
    • Question and Answer Session on issues raised during previous day
    • Visit with researchers at the Chajul site and informational sessions on their activities
    • Discussion of Chajul’s purpose, goals, and effectiveness
    • Tour of rainforest area of Chajul in boat
    • Lecture Topics:
      • Biodiversity Research: How effectively does it contribute to national policy decisions on environmental issues?
      • How significant is biodiversity research for different scientific fields?
      • What role does biodiversity research play in the overall discipline of environmental studies?
    • Night at the Biodiversity Research Station

  • DAY FOUR: Research and Apllications
    • Each student will be assigned to a researcher at Chajul and spend the day working with him/her on his/her specific project. Students, based on their experiences throughout the day, will develop a research topic proposal. They will discuss their proposed topics with the researcher to determine their importance, scope and feasibility – students who may be participating in this tour for academic credit will base their research project or research paper on the topics developed during this day.
    • Discussion Session:
      Students will present their proposed topics to their peers. Students will provide input on the various topics and discuss their significance.
    • Night at the Biodiversity Research Station