Mexico - Summer 2015

The Global Education Office and the Department of Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, in conjunction with the Mexico Solidarity Network, are pleased to offer a unique opportunity for students to engage in a study abroad experience in Mexico. The experience abroad is part of a service-based course, Global Scholar/Activist Spaces, in which students are expected to be engaged actively in the preparation work before departure, the collaborative learning and work while in Chiapas, and the community activist work upon their return. This course can be taken for 6 credits on the undergraduate level (GSWS 391) or 3 credits on the graduate level (GSWS 691).

Students will participate in the following activities:

  • Organic farming, gender dynamics, liberation theology, and indigenous rights in San Cristóbal, Chiapas
  • Traditional weaving, boot-making, indigenous culture, and introduction to autonomous education in Oventic, Chiapas
  • Traditional cooking, herbal medicine, emigration dynamics, organic fertilizer production, and local festivals in Tlaxcala

They will take workshops and classes conducted mostly in Spanish with some English translation. Students will also have the opportunity to learn Tzotzil, an indigenous language, if their Spanish is fluent enough for instruction. If not, students will learn conversational Spanish through their work in Chiapas. Before departure, students will read/research the history of the region, the Zapatista movement, NAFTA, and US/Mexican politics in terms of how they relate to gender dynamics, political struggle, race/racism, indigenous rights, and feminism. Students will conduct a research/creative project that furthers the immigration rights movement in Richmond upon their return, using what they’ve learned in Chiapas to enhance their own activism at home. In addition, students will collaborate on a media project about their experience in Chiapas. More information can be found at: http://vcu.studioabroad.com.