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Cuernavaca, Mexico (Summer)

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In partnership with Universal Centro de Lengua y Communicacion Social, ECC offers a summer study abroad program to Cuernavaca, Mexico for students interested in studying Spanish language and culture. The program is four weeks long and runs from late June to late July, with a two-week non-credit program option available for those unable to attend the full four-week program.

The Summer 2014 Cuernavaca program has been canceled due to ongoing violence in the region. For further information on travel alerts to Mexico, please visit the Department of State.

Program Overview

Cuernavaca, affectionately known as ‘the city of eternal spring,’ is the capital of the State of Morelos and is a city rich in culture and history. The local culture allows program participants to experience authentic Mexican cuisine and lifestyles. The purpose of the program is to provide total immersion in the Spanish language and in the culture of Mexico. Students in this program will enroll as students at ECC and complete coursework related to Spanish language, culture and history.

The cornerstone of the program is the immersion of participants into the local community, including home stays with Mexican families and excursions, which provide students with an introduction to the history, culture, and people of Mexico. Courses provide field study for students and a forum for inquiry into the country they reside in for the academic term. Course options are similar to those students take at their home college. Attention has been paid to identifying courses that will help students fulfill general education requirements for their degree programs. Participating in a program abroad need not delay a student’s graduation date.

A faculty member from ECC will be on-site in Cuernavaca to serve as a faculty liaison to students, the Universal faculty and administration and ECC. While this individual will be a support for students and other individuals, s/he will also provide service to Universal as a visiting professor or in another mutually agreed upon capacity. The Cuernavaca program incorporates traditional classroom instruction with cultural excursions to enhance the student’s study abroad experience; cultural excursions include trips to downtown Cuernavaca, Taxco, surrounding historical sites, and local Mexican restaurants.

Program Dates

  • Four-Week Program: late June – late July
  • Two-Week Program: late June – early July

Program Deadline

April 1

Admission Requirements

The program is open to serious students, teachers, and others who have a strong interest in immersing themselves in another culture. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older as of the program start date. All applicants are required to complete an application form. Successful completion of the application process is required for admission to the program. College students must also have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher. The program is also open to community members interested in learning Spanish and experiencing Mexican culture. A personal interview with the Program Director may be held to determine the student's maturity and adaptability to a foreign environment.

If a student has special needs, the program will attempt to make whatever reasonable accommodations are possible. However, it may be difficult for those with severe physical disabilities to travel to and within Mexico. Admission is made on a space available basis.

Academic Program

Students must register for at least three credit hours with Elgin Community College. Students can register for as many as seven semester hours with faculty approval. Upon successful completion of classes, students will receive credit on their ECC transcript. Students are required to enroll in a Spanish language class. Language classes will be held at Universal. They will meet Monday through Friday as determined by the institution. Classes can accommodate students at any level, from Beginning to Advanced. All classes consist of the following components: Grammar, Conversation, Reading Comprehension, Composition and Lectures.

Prior to the beginning of classes, all students will be tested and placed at the appropriate level. Changes can be made if a student progresses at a faster rate or shows different learning needs. Advanced students may have the opportunity to enroll in short courses specially designed for them. Universal provides instruction in Spanish in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Instructors are all native speakers with university degrees and experience in teaching Spanish as a second language.

Prior to submitting your application to the ECC Center for International Education and Programs, please make an appointment with Sean Jensen in the Academic Advising Department to select preliminary courses and review your educational plan. An appointment can be made by calling the Academic Advising Department at 847-214-7390 or by visiting building B, room B120.

Lodging and Meals

Students will live in pre-screened and selected Mexican homes where they will eat three meals a day with their host family. This arrangement provides the opportunity for the student to continue practicing Spanish and to immerse themselves in Mexican culture. Families are carefully chosen; their homes are sanitary and safe. The homes are near transportation to classes. A few may be within walking distance.


A passport is required of all U.S. citizens to travel to Mexico. U.S. citizens do not need a visa to travel to Mexico; participants who are not U.S. citizens may need a visa to travel to Mexico. Students need to notify the office of International Student Services and Study Abroad (B105) if they are not U.S citizens.


A pre-departure orientation will be held prior to the start of the program. Orientation will cover important information related to safety, security, insurance and program expectations. Attendance is required.

Program Fees

The program fee is $1,928 (four weeks) or $1,190 (two weeks) , subject to change. Fees cover:

  • Instructional Costs at Universal
  • Course-related Excursions
  • Lodging and Meals (3 meals daily/shared room/shared bath)
  • Towels and Linens
  • Faculty Liaison
  • Administrative Program Fee
  • Orientation Materials
  • Mandatory International Health Insurance
  • International Student Identity Card
  • Airport Transfers in Mexico

Fees do not cover:

  • Airfare
  • ECC tuition
  • Passport
  • Personal Expenses

Financial Aid and Scholarships

A limited number of scholarships are available to participants in the Cuernavaca, Mexico program. Selection is competitive. You must indicate that you want to be considered for a scholarship on your application for study abroad and also submit a scholarship essay. Please include your full name, student ID number and study abroad program in the upper left hand corner of your essay. All scholarship essays should be 2-3 pages long and address the following questions:

  • How will a scholarship benefit your participation in this program of study?
  • What contributions do you hope to make to make to the group studying abroad?
  • Why should you be selected to receive this scholarship?

Financial aid (grants, loans, other scholarships, etc.) are available to students who qualify. Students wishing to use financial aid for study abroad should contact the Assistant Director of Financial Aid to discuss requirements. An appointment can be made by calling the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at 847-214-7360 or by visiting building B, room B156.

Please note that all fees are payable to ECC, regardless of how a student pays for the study abroad program.

Applying to the Program

To apply to the Cuernavaca program, please complete the following forms:

  • Cuernavaca Study Abroad Application
  • Financial Aid Certification
  • Optional Scholarship Essay (see Financial Aid and Scholarships section above)

To apply for the program, please download an application packet and submit it to the Center for International Education and Programs in B105.


For more information, please contact the Center for International Education and Programs at or stop by B105.

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