The OSEA Maya Language course is an INTENSIVE IMMERSION Program conducted on-site in Maya speaking communities & families in Yucatán and Quintana Roo, México.
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This 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.
Read Student Evaluations and Comments from Previous Field Seasons
Learn the correct usage of the terms "Maya" and "Mayan":
Are "Maya" Maya, Mayan, Yucatec Maya, or Yukatek Mayan?
Learn about Grants to Study Maya
Summary of Program Details
Summer: Six Week Program for FLAS Recipients; optional 4 or 5 week progams Non-FLAS
Dates: Ask about Flexible Start Dates -- As early as May 26 up to June 27!
Start: Individuated Program allows Variable Start in June Tailored to Your Needs
Locations: Pisté and Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, México, and surrounding Maya Indian communities
Overnight trips 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
The US Dept. Education FLAS Grants provides full tuition payment plus $2500 stipend
The Juan Castillo Cocom Scholarship provides a $1900 Tuition Reduction
Room & Board Options:
Option A) Lodging in Posada Olalde, and 2 meals with Maya speaking family $1250 Single
Option B) Homestay with Maya speaking family, includes all meals, $1000
Option C) For grad student only: Home Rental and 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.
GPA of 2.7 for coursework taken to date
Completion of Freshman year of college, university, or equivalent institution
Minimum 1 year of college level Spanish or demonstrated fluency/proficiency
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. 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.
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.
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.
Grants to Study Maya
Two major options: FLAS Grants and Castillo Cocom 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.
Juan Castillo Cocom Scholarship
This award is named after OSEA Co-Founder Dr. Juan Castillo Cocom to honor his contribution to OSEA and to the Anthropology of Yucatan. This award was established to honor his dedication to academic achievement in the context of unfavorable financial situations. This award is competitively awarded to applicants who have indicated on their OSEA application form that they wish to be considered for this award.
Priority is given to applicants who are
at a university that does not have a Title VI funded National Resource Center in Latin American and Caribbean studies. Persons who are have applied for a Summer FLAS Award and have been rejected are also eligible for consideration on a lower priority and first come first serve process of evaluation.
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 Facultad de Ciencias Antropologí Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY), OSEA's partner institution in México. The UADY 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. This envelope 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.