OSEA Program Resources. Travel, Fieldwork, Health and Personal Planning for travel to Yucatan. Ethnography of Archaeology research at Chichen Itza. Service Learning in Sustainable Community Tourism in Yucatan. Ethnography Field School / Summer Study Abroad / Heritage Development Studies, Tourism Studies. Field School. Field Study Abroad. Mexico. Maya culture and civilization. Tourism, Anthropology of Art, performance theory, ethnographic archaelogy, ethnography of archaeology, field study abroad, Maya Riviera, Tulum, Chichen Itza, Cancun, Playa del Carmen. Learn about Maya World. Museum studies of the Maya, Maya art, Modern Maya art, traditional culture, Indigenous, Chichen Itza.

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Electronic Course Reserve and Program Materials

The materials below are exclusively for OSEA Program Participants. Documents are in MS Word or PDF designed for download. All rights are reserved and all other use requires the written consent of OSEA.



OSEA Spanish Workout Routine—How to improve your Spanish

Download pdf 2009-2015 OSEA Pre-Departure Program Preparation Package

Pre-Departure Video Orientation Meeting

OSEA Facebook Pages and Groups

Communications Home and Communication Technologies

On-Site Use of Internet, Cell Phones and Social Media

Gifts for Homestay Families




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Pre-Departure Video Orientation Meeting

There will be a video conference orientation meeting scheduled for the first Tuesday of March.  This conference may be conducted through one or two programs, either Cisco Movi or Skype.  In either case you will be provided instructions via email on how to download the software program and set up your participation.


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OSEA FaceBook Pages and Groups and Twitter

We ask that you be-friend OSEA on Facebook and join the Group as well.  This will be important now before we go to México as it gives you the opportunity to connect with previous osea participants and to ask them about their experiences, travel recommendations and so on.  Feel free to post your images from the summer on the OSEA FB pages.

We will ask you at the end of the program as well to use our FB profile as a means to communicate your thoughts and feelings about your osea experiences.

OSEA Participants are asked to JOIN and LIKE the social media through which OSEA communicates to its constituency publics. You are invited and strongly encouraged to post on these FB pages. We appreciate your contribute to these pages and group. These are also mechanisms through which you communicate with each other, with the community and with general public about your achievements

JOIN OSEA Facebook Group Page

LIKE SELT–School of Experimental Language Traning on FB

JOIN Escuela Abierta on FB OSEA in Spanish for Maya Communities


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Communicating Home and Communication Technologies

OSEA has a landline where your family can communicate with you via staff in case of emergency. Similarly, please fill out your accurate emergency contact information so that we can reach the appropriate persons quickly if this is required.

Most homestays families have neither telephones nor internet. There are internet cafes in Pisté, which charge approximately a one dollar an hour.  The OSEA Teaching & Research Center has internet available for student use on a limited access basis determined by research and learning needs.


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On-Site Use of Internet, Cell Phones and Social Media

OSEA offers you the opportunity to do sustained cultural and linguistic immersion. We encourage you to actually engage in this opportunity for a transformative experience of personal and professional growth.  Immersion means immersion. It is thoroughly challenging and exhilarating as well as times lonely or difficult. 

We encourage all participants to plan on completely disconnecting from your world of TV, internet, social media, sports, daily texting, chatting, video conference, telephone calls and other such activities with your friends and family back in the USA.  You have paid for an immersion experience of four or six weeks for 24 hours a day.   If you spend your time texting, video conferencing and chatting you are throwing away the opportunity and the money you spent on this opportunity.
It is clearly your choice of how much you actually want to engage in this new experience.  But for every hour of texting, talking and checking on social media with friends and family, you have wasted 2-3 even four hours of your time and money.  Each minute speaking and thinking in English and talking about things that are not related to the immediate issues of you doing cultural and linguistic immersion and field research creates a gap and a vacuum. It impinges and impedes your ability to speak Spanish, to do research, to learn, to gain fluency in culture, to create friendships with your host family  Please make a point to disconnect and be where you are in your body and social presence with the persons, families, friends that live in the community where you are staying.  Make them your friends and your family. 

Immersion and fieldwork are difficult and challenging.  If you do not make the effort to rise to the challenges then you will get very little out of this experience. If you do choose reach deep inside yourself to become a new person in this new context and respond to being where you are with the people in your physical presence, then you can grow. The transformation that you will experience is infinitely greater and more important for you than being able to chit chat with a friend every day.

Plan on disconnecting from the internet, from social media, from texting, from cell phone, from chatting, and from video conferencing with your friends and family.

Just tell everyone you are going off-grid and that's that!   Restrict your communications with your parents to once a week or once every two weeks.  Learn to share your experiences with the peoples that you can speak with by seeing them face to face – your homestay family and your OSEA cohort. Be with us. Reap the rewards.

The technology for communicating with your parents, siblings, friends and others is available to you in Pisté. We ask you to limit and restrict the amount of time you use this to the absolute bare minimum. You are the one that benefits from going off-grid. And on the contrary, it is only and very detrimental to you and your experience if you choose instead to frequently use these technologies to maintain frequent communication with others.

Similarly, if you choose to frequently socialize with other OSEA participants for the purpose of speaking English, you are essentially throwing away the opportunity to learn, experience, grow, and transform.  The point of being in this program is to be IN it and experience it! 

  • Don’t throw away this opportunity as a result of your habit of talking with friends or your fear or insecurities about how to interact with culturally and linguistically different people. OSEA provides a safe and secure environment in which you can grow as a person and grow in your abilities to interact with and learn from persons from culturally and linguistically different backgrounds and belongings
  • Throw yourself into the experience and you will find it infinitely rewarding and pleasurable.
  • Be ready to live outside of your-self, your old self to become a new you.


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Gifts for Homestay Families

The first thing to remember about bringing gifts for your homestay family is that you are giving them a gift, not something that they “need.”  A gift is something personal from your cultural world and life that you give to share yourself with them.  Under no circumstances should you conceptualize the gift as an act of generosity from a position of wealth, status, and privilege to those that are “have-nots.”  The homestay families do not need your or anyone’s welfare of this type.

In other words bring something that is from your personal or family history, culture, community or values. Give something that has meaning and is meaningful, not something based on economic value.  The point is to create a relationship with your homestay family of exchange and sharing that is premised on your shared humanity.

The most appropriate gifts are items that have to do with your own personal history, hometown, university, family, cultural identity or other kind of social group to which you belong. Thus, university or college paraphernalia such as baseball caps, t-shirts, cups or similar kind of emblem.  Any kind of special candy, food good or other product from your hometown, region, or community is a great gift. If you know that you have kids in your homestay family then toys might be appropriate. It is part of you that you are giving. 

Remember, you cannot give a gift of something that anyone “needs” — they don’t need anything from you, from the US, or from us. Thus do not think of the gift as a functional gifts, think of it as symbolic and personal.


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The Homestay experience is one of the most crucial and significant parts of the overall OSEA Field Study Abroad program.  The Director has been working in this community for over 30 years and has developed an extensive network of friends, colleagues, and community associates.  We rely on this network to situate osea participants in the most appropriate family and social situations.  We do not like to make quick and hasty decisions about which student goes with which family. Instead, we need time to get to know each of you individually in terms of your personality, interests, language skills and proficiencies, temperament, attitudes, and preferences.  Further, the Pisté families that are willing to be hosts to OSEA Homestays and that satisfy our basic criteria are at a premium.  There are only a few families that are willing to open their homes and risk the kind of transcultural exchange and experience that we seek and that can actually come through with the meaning of this exchange.  These families have developed a very close and  personal relationship with the director and with OSEA.  It is essential that each participant understand the ethical significance of this personal relationships that are the basis of the OSEA experience.

Thus, although you may like to know asap with what family you will stay, it is not necessarily something that we can determine until the last minute.  We do have lots to discuss in terms of what to expect, how to behave, and so. However most of this discussion really needs to wait until we are on-site in Pisté and ready to start.

We need to know what kinds of preferences and attitudes you may have towards certain kinds of family situations.  Whether you want a family with lots of children, few children, lots of teenagers, few teenagers, whether you can share a room with another adult or teenager of the same sex or not. We need to know about any other predilections and attitudes:  Can you survive with very little domestic amenities or not?  Do you know Spanish perfectly and want to live with a family that allows you to have Maya language immersion?  Do you know Spanish not so well and maybe need a family that has some proficiency in English?  These are issues that we need to find out about and discuss. There is nothing to hide here. The information you provide us is what we use to create the best possible homestay experience for you and the family.

The homestay experiences are not simply a type of rent a room with a family or dorm room situations where you share rent but very little interaction. Homestays are your entry into the cultural world of the Maya community. OSEA participants create lasting friendships of deep meaning.  Every year OSEA alumni can be found returning to Pisté for holidays and summers and other types.  The homestay relationship is an ethical and meaningful relationship, not primarily an economic one.





To Do Check List

1. Start your Passport application immediately! or renew your passport if necessary
2. Find a weekly Spanish Conversation table to attend faithfully
3. Establish a 15 minute daily routine to practice Spanish; see OSEA Spanish Workout Guide
4. Start Planning Trip: Get weekly price quotes from Kayak & arrange travel with other osea participants
5. Investiage purchase of digital cameras & other equipment if necessary
6.Get your Medical Insurance with all the required specifications
7. Do Program Prep Work & Course Reading in the areas of your research
8. Purchase all your Research Equipment, Software & Supplies; test drive all software & equipment
9. Spend time not using any air conditioning what so ever as weather gets warmer!
10. Sign & Submit all Release forms. Get Notary Public and Doctor to sign forms
11. Make Final Tuition Payment(s) on time! May 4 due date
12. Get Summer Clothing & Personal Items
13. Scan your student ID and send it to OSEA Staff with release forms


Number of Visitors to OSEA Travel Information as of December 30, 2014

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