This program includes international travel, study abroad, and service-learning opportunities for undergraduate students focusing on humanitarian relief in a small traditional Maya village in souther Mexico. Students are engaged in a 10-day field experience during Winter Break, or a one-week field experience during Spring Break. Students tour magnificent ancient Maya archaeological sites, colonial towns and contemporary villages located on the Yucatan Peninsula in southern Mexico. Students participate in an ongoing service-learning project documenting and evaluating Maya culture, past and present, as traditional culture is transformed in the modern world. Students work and live with local families, are trained to keep a detailed fieldwork journal describing their experiences and record Maya culture in digital photos and on video. The program is interdisciplinary and welcomes students from art, anthropology, biology, business, education, history, political science, international relations, and sociology among other majors.
Students will explore Maya culture by visiting the pre-Columbian ruins and living with the Maya in a small, traditional village. The course explores the tropical rainforest environment, and social adaptations to the natural environment. The traditional village of Coba is being transformed by the growth of tourism in the area and the expansion of craft production, especially by women in the village.
For the January program, students will be registered for INTD 250: Chaa Coba Service Learning. The service learning project will document and evaluate Maya culture, past and present, with particular focus on kitchen gardening, housing evaluations, and house construction and design. Students will be trained on how to keep a detailed field journal to describe their research and experiences, and will learn how to use digitial media such as photographs and videos when conducting field research.
For the Spring Break program, students will not be registered for a course. The Spring Break program is offered as an 'alternative Spring Break'.