The OSEA Field Study Abroad Programs — Intensive Maya Language and Ethnography Field School Programs are INTENSIVE IMMERSION conducted on-site in Maya speaking communities & families in Yucatán and Quintana Roo, México. All OSEA programs prioritize homestay experiences for participants unless otherwise explicitly requested by applicant.
The Maya language program is based on intensive langauge immersion and close mentoring of students in the Maya language program. The enrollment for any level of Maya is restricted to four students. Participants therefore receive the highest quality of training based native speaker language assistants who work one-on-one with Maya learners and small classroom learning and mentoring with Dr. Quetzil Castañeda, a recognized leader in Maya language pedagogy.
Learn the correct usage of the terms "Maya" and "Mayan":
Are Maya: "Maya" or "Mayan"? Are Maya: "Yucatec Maya" or "Yukatek Mayan"?
Learn about Grants to Study Maya
Read Student Evaluations and Comments from Previous Field Seasons
High Teacher - Student ratio allows OSEA to tailor the coursework to best fit your learning objectives. For example, the pedagogy can prioritize reading and writing or speaking and listening according to your primary field of study and research needs. As well, specific vocabulary domains, syntax, and/or types of literature—from contemporary to colonial— can be emphasized according to your objectives, research interests, and desired
forms of proficiency.
Summary of Program Details
Download Current Brochure Here. Click Here to Download Brochure
Summer: Six Week Program, Undergrad and Grad level available
Dates: Dates: June 17 to July 28, 2018
Start: On Site Orientation Starts at 12pm on Start Date; departure on end date after 1pm
Locations: Pisté and Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, México, and surrounding Maya Indian communities
Includes overnight trip with Maya instructors to Maya communities in Cruzob region of
and Caste War region of southeast Yucatan
Credits: 8 credit hours,
Beginning Level 1 (165 contact hours)
6 credit hours, Intermediate Level 2 & Advanced Level 3
(140 contact hours)
See course descriptions here
Courses: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced Levels (1-3) are available
Cost: Direct Enrollment Tuition
$5,295 plus Room & Board
The US Dept. Education FLAS Grants provides full tuition payment and a stipend.
The Rey Mis / Mis-Ceme Families Scholarship provides tuition reductions ranging
from $1600 up to $2400
per award based on demonstration of financial need
Room & Board Options:
Note: Specific Program Activities & Facility Fees are included within the cost of Lodging and Meals
Option A) Lodging in Posada Olalde, and 2 meals with Maya speaking family $1300 Single
Option B) Homestay with Maya speaking family, includes all meals, $1000
Option C) For grad student only: Home Rental and meals (2 meals with Maya family) (variable pricing)
Program is open to: undergraduate majors and graduate students in any field of study.
Persons who are not students but who have completed a minimum level of BA are also eligible.
Undergraduate students need a GPA of 2.5 for coursework taken to date
Graduate students should demonstrate the need to know Maya for their research
Minimum 1 year of college level Spanish or demonstrated fluency is suggested but not mandatory
No prior coursework or knowledge in Maya language is necessary
Weekends: The weekends are free time for participants to conduct research, regional travel, or engage in independent learning activities. Travel during program dates should be restricted to the Yucatan Peninsula (within 2-3 bus hour each leg). Participants are provided structured fieldwork methods and tasks that can be used to maintain their learning experience.
Out of Pocket: Personal items, consumables, incidentals, laundry, non-program travel including lodging and meals, transportation to and from airports and ground travel to Pisté are all out of pocket expenses to be paid for directly by the participant.
Check here to read ACTFL proficiency criteria for Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking
Check here for FLAS criteria of Minority Language Proficiency Objectives
Course Materials :
OSEA provides Maya language lesson books in text and audio formats. Participants must purchase other materials, such as dictionaries out of pocket. To learn in more detail what is included in the tuition please click here.
Immersion Field Trip: The program includes two periods of total language immersion conducted in Maya communities near Chichen Itza and a Cruzob Maya community in the region of Jose Maria Morelos. The homestay based experiences are conducted in communities such as Sacalaca and Tusik in Quintana Roo. This unit is supervised by a bilingual native speakers of Spanish and Maya from these communities who also work directly with each student on a daily basis to develop communicative proficiences. These language instructors are advanced or graduated students in the Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana Roo. Exact field trips may change and be modified based on variable factors present during the summer in question.
Course Credit Hours
The OSEA Intensive Maya Language Immersion Program meets the pedagogical criteria and standards for teaching Less Commonly Taught Languages established by the US Department of Education for FLAS Awardees to be able to use their FLAS grants.
Beginning Level 1 is equivalent to one year of study and provides 8 university course credits.
Intermediate Level 2 is equivalent to one year of study and provides 6 university course credits.
Advanced Level 3 is equivalent to one year of study and provides 6 university course credits.
The Maya language courses for undergraduate participants include accredited course credits and transcript from the current OSEA Partner, UIMQRoo — Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana Roo. Click here for UIMQRoo. Graduate students typically do not require accredited transcript credits in order to complete their foreign language degree requirements. If you are a graduate student requiring accredited transcript, please contact Dr. Quetzil Castañeda to discuss your situation.
Grants to Study Maya
Two major options: FLAS Grants and Mis Ceme Scholarship
FLAS Grants / Foreign Language and Area Studies Grants
LCTL / Less Commonly Taught Languages
Students who are awarded a Summer FLAS Fellowhip can use their award to learn Maya in the OSEA Intensive Language Program. For more information about FLAS Fellowships please click here and visit your Latin American studies center at your own home institution.
Graduate students in any Arts & Science fields of study are eligible to apply for a FLAS from their home institution if their university has a Latin America and Caribbean studies program that is recognized as a U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center. Students who are not at universities at such federally funded may technically apply for FLAS grants at one of the established NRC for 2010-2013; however review committees of such applications tend to give low priority to applicants who are not based in their university. Check here for a list of Latin America and Caribbean studies programs that were designated NRC for 2010-2013 with the mandate to distribute FLAS grants to USA undergraduate and graduate students.
Undergraduate students are eligible for FLAS grants so long as they have completed the Beginning Level of study and are requesting support to study Intermediate level (second year) or higher. Graduate students are eligible to request support for FLAS funding for any level of language study. Visit FLAS Criteria. Please be aware that each National Resource Center at the different universities have established different deadlines for submission of year-long and intensive summer applications.
The Rey Mis & Edy Ceme (Mis Ceme) Scholarship
This award is named after Rey Mis and the extended families of Mis and Ceme that have been friends and collaborators of OSEA founder Dr. Castaneda for more than 30 years. Rey Mis was Dr. Castaneda's "Homestay Family" back in 1988-89. To honor their friendship and contribution to transcultural and intercultural exchange in PistÉ, this award was established to contribute to those who seek to develop a deeper linguistic and cultural understanding of Maya peoples, cultures, and lived experience. Priority is given to those persons who are ineligible or have low level of competitiveness for Title VI FLAS Grants.
Award amounts are variable based on need and merit, and range from US$1,600 to $2,400
Home-stays with Maya families are carefully selected based on the Program Director’s 24 years of experience in the community of Pisté. OSEA has carefully developed a list of Maya families with home stays are possible. The overall size of the population of Pisté greatly restricts the number of families that can be potential host families. OSEA works with families whose household economy provides for a basic minimum of "creature-comfort" infrastructure -- which includes a variety of factors from bathrooms, electricity, space for study areas, and other criteria. OSEA also works with families of lower socioeconomic position who thereby lack many creature comforts to which US students are accustomed. Participants are required to purchase a hammock for sleeping in homestays; a special hammock shopping trip to a nearby town is organized during the first days of the program.
Lodging: OSEA partners with the Posada Olalde a Maya family-run posada that offers superior linguistic immersion and cross-cultural experience. Victor Olalde, owner and tour guide, has been a friend and collaborator of OSEA for over 20 years. He has significant cross cultural experience with OSEA students and tourists and he has often worked as the Student Liaison for OSEA. This experience helps make the Posada Olalde a particularly welcome place to stay; it provides both a home-stay experience with the privacy, creature comforts, and ease of a hotel. The Posada Olalde is ideally situated within 2 blocks of the OSEA Headquarters, one block from the main road, and 20 minutes walking distance from Chichén Itzá.
* Direct OSEA Enrollment allows students from any university with any residence status or nationality to enroll directly with OSEA. By arrangement with their institution's financial aid office, students can apply their award to the OSEA Program. All payment is made directly to OSEA by the student as per guidelines described in the application process. Upon completion of the program the student receives an OSEA transcript and an accredited transcript from the Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana Roo (UIMQRoo), OSEA's partner institution in México. The UIMQRoo is an institution on the list of accredited Mexican institutions accepted by US institutions. In order to facilate the transfer of credits, students receive two copies of each transcript in a sealed envelope. One of these envelopes is then hand-delivered by the student to the registrar of their university in order to comply with your registrar rules for acceptance of transfer credits. It is recommended that every participant discuss the credit transfer process with their departmental advisor to secure pre-approval of transferability of course credits. The second transcript should be archived for future use.