Independent Study: Instituto Cultural Oaxaca




Rising juniors, seniors, and graduate students

Program Length

6 weeks

Dates Offered

Mid-May to late June (summer course)

Course Number

NURS 2980-001

Course Director

Nancy Biller, MA, MPH

Course Description

This guided independent study is an opportunity to obtain an immersion experience that combines independent travel with the safety and security of Spanish language study and community health engagement arranged through the Global Health Affairs office at Penn Nursing with trusted local organizations in Oaxaca.  The program includes:  Spanish language immersion, cultural experiences, and community health/health education work.



Related websites:


  • 4 semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent) required
  • Flexibility and confidence with independent travel

Registration Details

  • Counts as 1 CU (summer semester)
  • Counts as experiential course for global health minor
  • May meet a sector requirement (TBD)


  • Timeliness of Pre-Departure Paperwork (5%)
  • References & Handbook Review & Questions (20%)
  • Site Evaluation (20%)
  • Peer Evaluation (10%)
  • Weekly check-in (10%)
  • Report/Questionnaire (10%)
  • Journal notes & Reflections Project (25%)

Finances/Program Costs

The SON submits budget (course fee, travel and living expenses) to Student Financial Services to be added to student’s “cost of attendance.”  may qualify for grants and/or loans.  Note:  Tuition for this summer-registered course is waived for undergraduates. Undergrads are only responsible for course fees and out-of-pocket expenses as noted below.


Program/Course Fee $2200 - 2500 includes:

Out-of-pocket Expenses:

  • ICO registration
  • 2 weeks of main program with Spanish class 9-12, conversation 12-1, and afternoon cultural workshop
  • 4 weeks of medical Spanish (2-hour classes) daily
  • 4 weeks of community health work with Fundación En Via
  • Homestay (shared room*) and breakfast
  • 2-3 excursions, including Ecotour with overnight stay and meals
  • If an individual room is requested, additional fees apply
  • Airfare, lunch, dinner, and local transportation are not included in the course fee



Email to, noting: why this independent study interests you, your comfort with independent travel, and your Spanish language level

Application Deadline

January 31 – submitted via email to

Required Forms (provided after application is accepted)