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Programs : Brochure
This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
Summer: Rutgers- Culture and Community Health in Mexico
Oaxaca, Mexico (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer
Budget Sheets Summer
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2017 03/01/2017 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Fact Sheet:
Program Manager:
Greg Spear
Language of Instruction:
English, Spanish
Suggested G.P.A.:
Good Academic Standing
Number of Credits per Semester:
Enrollment Restrictions:
Some prior knowledge or study of Spanish recommended
Service Learning:
Program Description:
Oaxaca Banner 2015

The Program

2016 Student Photo Blogs
Click below to follow students' service-learning experiences in Oaxaca through their photos and reflections!

   From Oaxaca With Love   
     by Drym Oh   
             Rising Junior, Pharmacy 

This Time for Oaxaca
by Calibre Resua
Rising Senior, Biological Sciences

Oaxaca Summer 2016
by Nodira Ibragimova
Rising Junior, Sociology 
  • Learn about community-based healthcare models in southern Mexico through the lived experiences of its patients and practitioners.  
  • Study the medical anthropology of the region of Southern Mexico through an intensive seminar and by volunteer in one of a variety of community based public health programs.
  • Enroll in intensive Spanish language classes with a focus on medical terminology and patient care.
  • Explore local culture by living in a homestay with a local Oaxacan family and through group excursions to important historical and cultural sites.
Your Host City: Oaxaca
Oaxaca, the capital city of the southern Mexican state of the same name, contains a fabulous wealth of pre-colonial heritage sites, as well as colonial and contemporary architecture.  Aside from its historical treasures, the city is also known for its cobbled streets, shaded squares, colonial churches, and busy markets. The city has some outstanding restaurants, cafés, and bars, too, together with top-notch museums, art galleries, and numerous festivals.  A little further afield, don’t miss the Mesoamerican architecture of Monte Alban, where some 25,000 Zapotecs (the original inhabitants of Oaxaca) once made their homes.

Faculty Director Profile:
Peter Guarnaccia

Dr. Guarnaccia, professor and chair in the Department of Human Ecology (SEBS) and the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, is the faculty director of the “Culture and Community Health in Oaxaca” program.  Dr. Guarnaccia’s research focuses on questions of transnational and intercultural community healthcare, with an emphasis on the Southern Mexican immigrant community of New Brunswick.  The summer program in Oaxaca is part of an ongoing project called “Transnational New Brunswick,” which aims to improve the lives of residents in both cities through Rutgers student and faculty research and service.

The Culture and Community Health in Mexico program aims to expand awareness of health issues in Oaxaca, Mexico and among the Mexican immigrant community in New Jersey. Students will provide community service in a variety of public health programs in Oaxaca. In addition they will participate in a seminar on the medical anthropology of Mexico, a course in medical Spanish, an integrative seminar linking community service with course readings, and cultural excursions.

It is strongly encouraged that participants in the program have some prior knowledge of Spanish (either at high school or college level).  Applicants with no prior study of Spanish are still encouraged to apply, but should note that available spots may first be offered to applicants with higher language proficiency.

Students on this program will enroll in two 3-credit classes:

Community Health (3 credits)
A seminar on the medical anthropology of Mexico, combined with volunteer service in local community health organizations, and a weekly 3 hour reflection seminar on community health experiences. Service placements include work in rural health clinics, in programs for the elderly, in services that support people who are HIV positive, and organizations that promote public health.

Medical Spanish (3 credits)
Students will be placed at the appropriate language level at Amigos del Sol Language School in Oaxaca. Your grade in the course on Medical Spanish will be based upon homework assigned by the teacher, and pre- and post-assessment by the Language School.

It is not possible to take classes not-for-credit, nor is it possible to take classes as Pass/Fail.

To view the program's 2016 syllabus, please click here.  A preliminary syllabus for 2017 will be available before the start of the spring semester.

For information about Study Abroad credit transfer, registration, and transcripts please visit the Academics section of our website.

The program will include three weekend excursions.
  • A day with the weavers of the Nueva Vida women's weaving cooperative in Teotitlan del Valle. There students will learn about the history of the women's weaving cooperative and experience a healing ceremony.
  • An overnight visit to the village of Arrazola, know for its woodcarvings called alebrijes in Spanish. Students will stay with members of EcoAlebijes, a cooperative of carvers who do their art in a sustainable way. They will also do community service in the community.
  • A hike to Monte Alban, a unique way to visit this impressive archeological site.
  • An excursion to the magic town (Pueblo Magico in Spanish) of Capulalpam. The mountain community is home to the only government sponsored alternative medicine clinic. Students will learn about the mining history of the community and participate in ecotourism activities such as hiking and ziplining.

Program Dates
Summer 2017
*All dates are subject to change.  Do not book your flight until you have been accepted and the program dates have been confirmed.

Accommodations and Meals
Students will be housed with a host family in Oaxaca, in single or shared rooms with access to bathroom facilities. If you have a roommate, he or she will be another student on the Rutgers program. Bed linens and a pillow are provided. Your particular placement is made at the discretion of in-country staff; however, if you have special needs, such as dietary restrictions, please let your program manager know in advance.

Students will be provided with three meals daily from their Oaxacan host family, seven days a week.  This will include a light breakfast before going to class or community service placements; a mid-afternoon comida, typically the largest meal of the day; and a cena, a light evening meal after returning from Spanish class or other activities. Homestay families will work with students with special dietary needs and adjust to each day's schedule of activities.

Financial Information
Program costs for 2017 will be updated by the end of the fall semester.

For more information about the Program Cost and additional Non-Billable Expenses for this program from 2016, please view the program budget sheet.

For more information about Finances, including information about Financial Aid and Tuition Remission please visit the Finances section of our website.

As part of your preparation to apply for this study abroad program, please familiarize yourself with the Center for Global Education withdrawal policy.

Students are also encouraged to start researching Scholarship opportunities as early as possible.  You may find the following scholarships applicable to this program.

Center for Global Education Scholarships- Available to all Rutgers students participating in a Center for Global Education program during the fall/spring/academic year/summer.  Applications will be released to students after their acceptance and are reviewed on a first-completed basis.  For more information please visit the Scholarship section of our website.

New Brunswick Chancellor's Scholarship for Service Learning Abroad- the office of the Chancellor of New Brunswick's multi-year commitment to supporting international service learning opportunities for students.  Scholarships of $1,000 - $2,500 will be allocated based on a combination of financial need, academic merit, and stated purpose for choosing an international service learning program.

SEBS International Summer Scholarships- Available to SEBS students only.  For more information please visit the SEBS Scholarships web page.

Please also visit the Scholarships section of our website for additional information about Rutgers and National Scholarships.