Semester in Mexico

During your semester in Mexico, you will study Spanish abroad in the beautiful city of Cuernavaca, a popular study abroad location for international students.

We offer stellar academics on an amazing campus. Semester in Mexico has established a reputation for academic quality and individualized attention both in and out of the classroom. Study Spanish abroad while you're there- language class sizes are no more than 5 students to a professor! You’re sure to find the experience you’re looking for when you study abroad in Mexico.

We’ve got the experience and answers you’re looking for. At CISabroad, all our advisors have studied or lived abroad, so we can help you make the most of your experience. Mexico is a gem, and whether you want ideas for a vacation on the coast, advice about the local cuisine, or a mentor to help you prepare for your program, we are here for you every step of the way.
We’ve got one of the most affordable programs in Mexico. Semester in Mexico is the most affordable study abroad program in Cuernavaca. Saving money on your semester means you will have some left over to travel, shop, and live it up while you study abroad in Mexico.

Spend a semester studying abroad in Mexico at Universidad Internacional, ranked by the New York Times as one of the top language schools in the world. On Semester in Mexico, opportunities abound for you to immerse yourself in Mexican culture, make international friends, and study Spanish abroad in and out of the classroom. You’ll experience:

A climate of legendary perfection – Cuernavaca was nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” by Alexander von Humboldt in the 19th century. Although the city is in the tropics, temperatures rarely deviate from the mid-70s.

A wide range of courses at an internationally recognized university – On Semester in Mexico, you will find a wide variety of interesting courses. The program is a haven for language learners of all levels and offers a wealth of opportunities for students who choose to study abroad in Mexico.

Small language classes and individualized attention – Language classes have no more than 5 students, and you will have individualized academic attention throughout your coursework. 

A fashionable, contemporary city – Gated haciendas, nightlife, and glamorous architecture have helped establish Cuernavaca as a beautiful, cosmopolitan city. But if you need a change of pace while you’re there, Mexico City—one of the largest, most energetic cities in the world—is only about an hour away.    

A robust social scene on campus – Semester in Mexico offers international students many social opportunities. You can join an organization and meet other students through sports, cooking classes, a language conversation club, or dance classes. There are enough clubs and activities to keep you engaged for a year, never mind the semester. It's all possible when you study abroad in Mexico.
Amazing excursions at no extra cost – Semester includes a weekend of soaking up the sun on the beaches of Acapulco, plus 3 day trips of your choice around Cuernavaca.

360° Networking Toolkit - You will receive business cards, resume/interview coaching, and an internship completion certificate. You’ll also gain access to a seminar series on topics such as developing and maximizing a LinkedIn account, interview expectations, adding the experience to your resume, and more! Jump-start your career with the CISabroad global network!

If you've ever wanted to study abroad in Mexico, then check out our Semester in Mexico study abroad program. Here are a few of the key highlights that make this program unique.

  • The New York Times rated Universidad Internacional one of the world’s top language schools
  • Live in Cuernavaca, the City of Eternal Spring
  • Warm, stable climate and a favorite escape for many tourists
  • Study Spanish abroad: Small language classes with no more than 5 students means you'll get personal attention
  • Spanish classes designed to meet your needs and language proficiency
  • International tudents from all over the world
  • Opportunities to immerse yourself in Mexican culture
  • Gathering place for artists, intellectuals, and film stars
  • Excursions throughout the semester
  • Homestay with 3 meals per day included
  • Clubs, cultural activities, and student organizations on campus
  • Life in a cosmopolitan city with excellent cuisine, cafés, and social venues
  • Two day trips

On your semester in Mexico you will get the chance to take part in two customizable excursions – both included in your program fee! This is your chance to see what the rest of Mexico has to offer. Here are just a couple of the places you might be visiting:

Built in 200 BC, Teotihuacan is a huge archeological site that was once Mesoamerica’s greatest city. You can see large pyramid structures, the famous Avenue of the Dead, and colorful murals in this mysterious and beautiful site.

Mexico City
Mexico City is the third largest city in the world, and offers an incredible range of things to do and see. Visit some of the more than 300 museums, art galleries, and concert halls, or check out ancient Aztec temple ruins.

You will also have the opportunity to visit several ruins and beaches in the area that will give you a look into Mexico's rich history and unparalleled beauty.

Semester in Mexico takes place at Universidad Internacional, the only university in the world that was born from a Spanish-language school. The University holds strong to its roots as a world leader in language learning. You can develop your Spanish-language proficiency and take classes ranging from art to education to psychology to political science, all of which are taught in Spanish.   

Programs taught in Spanish only (full immersion)

Intensive Spanish Language for Beginners
Classes run Monday to Friday, 6 hours a day. Each day includes 3 hours of Spanish classes, 2 hours of grammar, and 1 hour of cultural lectures or conversation. You can take additional enrichment classes in the afternoons at no extra cost. 

Intensive Spanish Language for Intermediate–Advanced
Same schedule as above, except courses in Latin American history and culture can be substituted for the grammar courses. Service learning courses are also available with this option. 

Weekly schedule details for full immersion programs

Intensive Spanish Language Class (3 hrs) 
After a brief entrance exam and oral interview with a Spanish professor, you will be placed in a small group according to your previous level of Spanish fluency, your ability to communicate, and your interests. No more than 5 students are assigned to a professor. This guarantees the individual attention you need and encourages interaction among the group. You’ll focus on speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Latin American or Grammar Courses (2 hrs) 
This flexible option lets you choose from an assortment of classes—all taught in Spanish—in the following areas: art, business, education, history, Latin-American studies, linguistics, literature, political science, psychology, religion, and Spanish grammar. 

Cultural Lectures, Idiomatic Expressions, or Conversation (1 hr) 
This component is designed to improve your listening and conversational Spanish- language skills. In the process, you will learn more about Mexican culture, with discussions on topics like holidays, festivities, and family life. You will be encouraged to contrast your own culture with that of Mexico. You will also learn idiomatic expressions that will help you interact with and better understand the culture.

Optional classes

Universidad Internacional also offers several optional classes in the afternoon at no extra cost, such as:

Functional Spanish (1 hr) 
Put into practice in a daily context the knowledge you’ve acquired both in and out of the classroom. You’ll hear Mexican songs, learn idiomatic expressions and slang, and discuss music, movies, and popular culture.

Conversation, Field Trips, and Intercultural Activities (2 hrs)  
Practice your communication and pronunciation while interacting with Mexican high school students in activities of mutual interest, such as games, handcrafts, and the like. 

Specialized Vocabulary (2 hrs)  
Learn to communicate effectively with Spanish-speaking clients, students, and patients.  This course will be organized according to your needs and goals.

Programs taught in Spanish and English

Language, Culture, and International Studies (all language levels)
You will enroll in the Intensive Spanish-Language Program (described above) plus one or two classes taught in English. Among the subject areas: advertising, business management, history, intercultural communication, international relations, and law. These courses typically run a month longer than the Intensive Spanish-Language program. Note that with this option, you can take only classes offered in the afternoons and early evenings, as your Spanish-language courses run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day. Also, course availability can’t be confirmed until a few days before the semester starts, so you’ll need to have a bit of flexibility.

GPA Required: 2.5. If you find your GPA is lower than the requirement, do not despair! Use the "Contact An Advisor" button on this page or call us to let us know your situation. We'll do all we can to find the right program for you.

How to choose your courses
Now the fun part! As part of the application process you will be required to complete the Course Selection Worksheet found in the  pplication Packet. The following instructions will guide you through the steps of choosing your courses for the Language, Culture, and International Studies program.  

Course load: 

Intensive Spanish Language Program (all levels, full immersion)

12 weeks (12 credits) 

Intensive Spanish Language

High-intermediate to advanced students may add 1-6 credits with Latin American courses (3 credits each) and/or an internship (1–3 credits)

Language and International Studies Program

12 weeks (12 credits)

Intensive Spanish Language (3–6 credits) plus one or two electives:

Beginners may take electives (across disciplines) taught in English. You will be in class with Mexican students. You must have flexibility in course approval at your home university, as these classes are limited.

High-intermediate to advanced students may take a combination of the following: Latin American courses (3 credits each), an internship (1–3 credits), electives (across disciplines) in Spanish with Mexican students (3 credits each).

Course approval: Before you go abroad, it is best to get 7–8 classes approved for your semester program. This gives you some flexibility in setting up your class schedule. Think about courses required for your major, but also courses that fulfill your elective requirements. You should get all classes (including any internship) preapproved by your home institution advisor. Pay close attention to the language level required for each course. Beginner-level Spanish speakers should stick to 100- and 200-level courses.  

Course descriptions and catalog: To view all course offerings, please click here.

Did you know that 70% of all CISabroad students receive scholarships or grants to study or intern abroad? You can get a grant for something as simple as applying early, or a scholarship for blogging. 

For details on all scholarship and grant offerings and to apply, please click here.

Only an hour from the capital, Mexico City and 3 hours from beautiful Acapulco, Cuernavaca is the perfect location for a semester in Mexico! It reflects its colonial past while offering plenty of modern amenities to its vibrant young community. While walking around the city, you will notice a fascinating mix of old cobblestone streets, 16th century architecture, and the exciting feel on this truly Mexican city. One of the most famous points of the city is Place of Cortés which is located right across the street from a permanent handcraft market where you can find jewelry, T-shirts, pottery and more, all with an authentic Mexican feel.

Your Spanish language skills are bound to do well in Cuernavaca because of the immersive aspect of the city and the program! You will be consistently exposed to the Mexican culture and be able to practice your Spanish in this friendly environment. This metropolitan city has so much to offer a student on a semester abroad; you’ll never find yourself bored. From modern shops, to museums, bars, and markets, there will always be something for you to do in this city.

Known as the City of Eternal Spring, Cuernavaca boasts endless sunshine and perfect mid-70’s temperatures. This consistent weather is sure to add to your wonderful experience in Mexico. The name “Cuernavaca” is the closest Spanish equivalent to the city’s original name, "Cuauhnahuac" (kwow-NAH'-wak), which translates as "place of great trees." With its incredible landscapes and rich cultural heritage, Cuernavaca is a popular vacation and educational destination for Mexicans and tourists alike. Even Aztec Emperors had summer homes in Cuernavaca. It is also known as a popluar destination for foreign students to go to study the Spanish language. Get ready to live in and explore a lively and diverse place during your semester abroad.

Founded in 1980 as a Spanish-language center for international students and tourists, Universidad Internacional (UI) became a university in 1997, allowing Mexican and international students to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees. The New York Times has recognized the University as one of the top language schools in the world. Because of their language strengths, you will have no trouble integrating into the culture and practicing your Spanish. UI prepares students with the right tools to experience Cuernavaca, and also with excellent teaching to boost your language abilities (while simultaneously boosting your resume with one of the fastest growing languages in the world!). They create a friendly atmosphere where students can meet new friends and interact both inside and outside of the classroom.

UI’s location in the southern part of the city makes it easy to walk into town to have lunch, visit museums, or enjoy cultural activities. The University offers an excellent range of academic study areas, as well as an abundance of extracurricular cultural activities. Universidad Internacional is in the top 20 private universities in Mexico, rated for their quality of teaching and the academic standard as among the best in Mexico. Among its facilities are a currency exchange office, computer labs with high-speed internet access, and a well-maintained library. The stunning campus is lined with tropical fruit trees and beautiful flowers, and it is known as one of the best in Latin America. You’ll never get tired of the views!


CISabroad will provide excellent support before, during and after your time abroad in Mexico! We’re there for you with academic advising, personal help, and cultural counseling. At the beginning of the semester, you will be picked up at the airport by our on-site staff and taken to your new accommodations. Once you’re settled in, you will get an orientation to the campus and the city. Throughout your stay in Cuernavaca, you will enjoy a variety of campus events and activities provided for students through the university! Additionally, your semester includes three day trips of your choice and a weekend trip to the beautiful port of Acapulco!

You will never be bored in Cuernavaca, where you can see art exhibitions, historical museums, theater and music events, and go dancing all you want. It’s also only an hour from Mexico City, if you want to get out and experience life in an enormous metropolis. The university offers on-campus programs like cooking classes, language conversation clubs, and dance classes, where you can meet other international and local students. If you want to join a soccer, basketball, or tennis team, that’s available too! To further improve your Spanish skills, the school also encourages café socials where students meet at a different restaurants every week to practice speaking Spanish.

UI also provides great opportunities to get involved with your community! Their Service Learning course lets you learn about issues facing the area you live in, and then work to make it better. You’ll have an amazing chance to both practice your Spanish and assist your local community.

Semester in Mexico has an amazing home stay program that helps you immerse yourself in the local culture, while also allowing you to practice your Spanish and make local friends. Transportation to and from the Universidad Internacional is included if your host family lives farther away from the school, however most of the families live within a short walking distance.  The family will provide the student with three meals a day and will provide linens and towels which will be washed once a week; all other laundry is the responsibility of the student.  During your home stay you will be part of the family and will learn more about life in Mexico, which can only enhance your study abroad experience!

1. What is the cost of the program? What is included in the program fees?

The program cost for the Semester in Mexico program can be found here.

2. When are the program fees due?

Program fees for the Semester in Mexico program are due on December 1st for Spring term and July 15th for Fall term. CISabroad will email invoices to students approximately one month before the program payment deadline. For example, if your payment deadline is July 15, you should expect your invoice in mid-June. If you are using financial aid, please ensure all financial aid paperwork is returned to our office by the payment deadline. If your financial aid does not cover your entire balance, CISabroad accepts these payment methods.

3. What is due with my application and when is my application due?

There are four easy steps in the Application process.

1. Fill out the online application, which includes your contact information, what program you are applying for, etc.

2. Pay the $200 application deposit in order to secure your space in the program. This amount will be applied toward the final cost.

3. Submit: Academic Reference Form, Course Selection Worksheet, Personal Statement, Applicant Profile, and Scholarship Application (Optional).

4. Mail in your official Transcript to our office.

For detailed instructions, see application instructions. The application deadline for the Semester in Mexico program is usually the beginning of November for the Spring term and early July for the Fall term. For exact dates, check here or contact an advisor at 1-877-617-9090.

4. Do I need a passport or visa? When should I apply for my passport/visa?

Yes, you WILL need a passport to travel to Mexico. Your passport must be valid for 6 months BEYOND the date you return to the United States. For detailed passport instructions, U.S. citizens should check the State Department's Travel Site. For the Semester in Mexico program, a visa is not required.  

5. Is there a GPA requirement?

Yes. The GPA requirement for the Semester in Mexico program is 2.5, but sometimes a lower GPA is accepted. Contact an advisor at and let us know your situation.

6. What are my housing options? 

Students will live with a homestay family in Cuernavaca. The families have all been thoroughly vetted and many have been hosting international students for over a decade!

7. Will other students participate in the program with me? How many?

CISabroad programs are not only a great way to meet local and international students, but also students from around the United States. Program size varies each year - if enrollment size is important to you, contact a CISabroad advisor at 1-877-617-9090.

8. How many credits are offered in the program?

For the Semester in Mexico program, a student will receive between 12 and 15 credits. For a more detailed breakdown of course options in Mexico, go here.

9. Can I combine this program with another CISabroad program like intern, summer, or semester abroad?

Yes! A great way to extend your CISabroad experience is participating in another program. Combine semester programs to create a full academic year or if an academic year is just a little too long and a semester is too short, combine a semester and summer session or a semester and January term program. You can also participate in a semester abroad and combine that with a summer intern abroad. To find out more information on the application process for more than one CISabroad program, contact a CISabroad advisor at 1-877-617-9090.

Term: Spring 2016
Arrival 12 Week Semester January 11
CISabroad Orientation January 12
Classes Start January 13
Classes End April 11
Departure April 12
Arrival 16 Week Semester January 11
CISabroad Orientation January 12
Classes Start January 13
Classes End May 9
Departure May 10
Term: Fall 2015
Arrival 12 Week Semester Late August
Classes Start Late August
Classes End Late November
Departure Late November
Arrival 16 Week Semester Late August
Classes Start Late August
Classes End Late December
Departure Late December
Term: Spring 2016 Price: TBD more info
Term: Fall 2015 Price: $Not Running 2015 more info

Dates posted here are for reference only and are subject to change. Please do not book flights until you have received the confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork.

To view expected additional expenses for this program, click here.

Program fees are in US dollars and include the following:

  •  2 day trips outside of Cuernavaca
  •  Full-time tuition and fees
  •  Housing (homestay) 
  •  3 meals per day
  •  Medical and accident insurance
  •  CISabroad support services before, during, and after the program
  •  Academic advising 
  •  Financial aid counseling 
  •  Assistance with travel arrangements
  •  Predeparture orientation 
  •  Airport pickup and drop-off
  •  Universidad Internacional orientation
  •  On-site support
  •  On-campus wi-fi
  •  Universidad Internacional official transcript
  •  Carbon offset of travel & Green Travel Guide

CISabroad  reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.