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Millsaps Students Learn La Vida Yucateca

by Web on September 17, 2015

On the Millsaps campus in Jackson, students bustle with back to school excitement and leaves are about to show the first signs of fall, but for several students studying in the College’s satellite campuses in Yucatán, back to school weather feels a bit more tropical. Dr. Eric Griffin’s “Living in Yucatán” semester-long study abroad course is reinventing the students’ ideas of a classroom, with a syllabus that contains frequent excursions to explore ancient Maya ruins and historical colonial cities around the peninsula.


Since their arrival to Yucatán’s capital city of Mérida in late August, the students have been delving deeper into the rich culture and ways of life of the region. For the first half of the semester, the students are hitting the books hard and commuting from the homes of their host families to Millsaps Yucatan’s partner Spanish language institution, located in the heart of downtown Mérida. When class is over for the day, however, the immersion style learning is just beginning. The class of sophomores and seniors learn the language through a variety of daily experiences. They’re routing the city’s public transportation vessels, eating fresh produce and buying unique artisanal crafts from the market, and communing with locals and other international students alike. They’re upholding the semester abroad program’s namesake and learning to live like true Yucatecos… while still earning a full course-load of class credit.

Though Dr. Griffin’s class will certainly miss Casa Millsaps’ plush, after school study spaces and their host families’ home-cooked Yucatecan meals in Mérida, in early October students will move from the capital city and hang up their hammocks at the Milllsaps Puuc Archaeological Research Center (MPARC) in Oxkutzcab. The students will spend the second half of the semester learning about the ancient Maya from renowned archaeologist and Millsaps Scholar of Maya Studies Dr. Tomás Gallareta at the Millsaps College Kaxil Kiuic Biocultural Reserve, located in the hills of southern Yucatán. You can stay up to date on the students’ adventures around Yucatán by visiting