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Autonomous University of Social Movements, Zapatista (Summer)

  • Chiapas, Mexico
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Participate in grassroots advocacy and learn about the political and social movements in Mexico. In addition to visiting parts of Southern Mexico including Mexico City, Tlaxcala and Chiapas, you will get to make a difference while putting your Spanish to use. Learn about the theories in the classroom while applying them to make a more just world all while immersed in Mexican culture.

Application Deadline


Program Start


Program End


Partner University



  • Chiapas

Program Term

  • Summer

Language of Instruction

  • English
  • Spanish

Program Details

Academic Program

The Autonomous University of Social Movements Study Abroad summer program is a 4 weeks long and offers 6 credits (2 in Political Science, 2 in Sociology, and 2 in Spanish or Tsotsil (only for Fluent Spanish Speakers).

The programs utilize the modular system developed at the UAM – a student-centered pedagogy that emphasizes discussion, student presentations, group reflection and workshops with social actors on front-line struggles, and integration of theory with hands-on experience. Professors are organizers/academics with years of firsthand experience in popular struggles in Mexico and the United States. Course work includes required readings, discussion-based classes, workshops, field trips, and site visits.

Course Descriptions and Syllabi

Unique Research Opportunities in Mexico:

Participatory research opportunities in Mexico for senior, masters, or doctoral theses. Work directly with community radio or indigenous movements in Chiapas, campesinos in Tlaxcala, urban housing movements in Mexico City, or barrio organizing in Ciudad Juarez. Individualized programs are tailored to fit different levels of Spanish language skills and research experience. Spring and Fall programs are 15 weeks, Summer programs last 8 weeks. Interested students should follow our normal application procedure in addition to submitting a 3-5 page research proposal in Spanish.

Review Course Description for more information regarding course offerings.

General Education Information for UAlbany Students

Credits earned on this program will automatically satisfy the International Perspectives requirement. Three credits of foreign language study will satisfy the Foreign Language requirement. No additional approval is required for you to earn these general elective credits.

Major/Minor Information for UAlbany Students

Courses may also satisfy major and minor requirements, upon approval by the department.


All courses taken abroad count towards UAlbany General Elective credits. Credits and grades will appear on your UAlbany transcript. You may file a request to have additional courses approved for equivalency as necessary. 


Your housing will vary from city to city. Dormitory style living and home stays are typically used to house you. A centerpiece of the Mexico Solidarity Network’s study abroad program is your immersion in communities actively involved in political, economic, and cultural organizing.


Your meal choice will change depending on where you live. When you are in the homestays, you will be provided with some meals. You can also choose to eat out but it will be at your own expense.

Estimate of Costs

For reference, review the Summer 2019 Estimate of Costs

More Information

Click for more information on Program Costs and Financial Aid.

Remember to speak with the Office of Financial Aid at your home campus to determine how your aid package could apply towards your program abroad.

Academic Requirements

Junior or Senior status preferred. Mature and qualified sophomores are also considered. You must have at least a 3.0 GPA and you should have some knowledge of Spanish language. All applicants must be independent, academically driven, show an interest in the curriculum offered and in the overall mission of AUSM.

Experiential Learning

As part of your culture class, two or three workshops per week with indigenous social actors that are conducted in Spanish and include: Indigenous weaving techniques

  • Fieldwork in the milpa (corn patch)
  • Meetings with liberation theologians and human rights defenders
  • Visits to various indigenous communities in the region

You will also be taking part of activities that include documentary videos, working in the fields, trip to the river, creating a play, working on a mural, backstrap weaving, clinic visit, coop meetings, tortilla making, song sing-sharing, basketball, soccer, or volleyball tournaments.?

Funding Opportunities

Most financial aid and academic awards will apply to semester programs.

External scholarships, listed on our website, are a good way to partially fund your study abroad experience. In addition, the Center for International Education and Global Strategy offers two scholarship programs for UAlbany students studying abroad on UAlbany or 4-year SUNY programs.

More information on applying to these scholarships is located on the Scholarships web page.

Program Advisor

Curry, Mark

About the City

Through this program, you will experience Mexico from a social justice perspective. You will spend time at an inspiring school for indigenous self-sufficiency in Chiapas. You will also spend time in Tlaxcala mixing academic classes with visits to farms, mountain-top watersheds, cultural events, and community assemblies. Mexico City will also allow you to visit landmarks, human rights defenders, and activist around the city.

Travel Documents

A valid passport is required to participate in this program. You will need a VISA if you plan on staying in Mexico for more than six months. This is subject to change. More information regarding the visa application process is available upon acceptance to the program.

Application Availability

Applications become available online one semester before the program start date, based on the following timeline:

  • Spring/Winter/Spring Break programs: July
  • Fall/Year/Summer programs: December

Program Dates

Summer 2018

06/01/2019 to 06/29/2019

About the Program

The Autonomous University of Social Movements is a grassroots-based organization dedicated to profound social change that challenges existing power relationships and builds alternatives.

The Autonomous University of Social Movements struggles for democracy, economic justice and human rights on both sides of the US-Mexico border. Learn about Mexican social movements from social actors on the front lines of social change. The Mexico Solidarity Network created this unique study abroad program in 2005 to introduce you to dynamic new experiments in autonomous, community-based organizing and to build solidarity with Mexico’s most important and dynamic social movements.

The University at Albany and offers a unique opportunity to study the history, culture and politics of Mexico, plus intensive Spanish language classes with the Autonomous University of Social Movements (AUSM) and the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM), one of Mexico’s most prestigious public universities.

Program Orientations

Upon acceptance to the program, you will be required to attend a mandatory pre-departure orientation. During this time, you will have the opportunity to meet other program participants, discuss in-depth the details of your program, and prepare of the overall education abroad experience. The fall semester pre-departure orientation will be conducted the Saturday before the end of Spring UAlbany classes and in late November/early December for the spring term abroad.

Upon arrival to the AUSM program, you will attend a mandatory program orientation. This is an important and informative set of sessions organized by International Office of your host university.

Support Services

UAlbany’s Office of Education Abroad staff assists you during the application process, in your preparation to travel abroad, and on-site if necessary.

The AUSM staff serve as an experienced resource for resolving issues that you may encounter in while abroad.