I am delighted that you are considering joining us for the coming semester or year here in beautiful Xalapa, Veracruz, México! I am sure that you will find many opportunities to adventure and grow while you are here, academically, personally, and in developing your own special relationship with Mexico and its people.
Xalapa (also spelled Jalapa) is a charming colonial city in the mountains above Mexico’s Gulf coast, and is capital of the state of Veracruz. At 1450 meters (4600 feet) above sea level, Xalapa’s climate is temperate and humid, perfect for the verdant vegetation that surrounds the city, earning its nickname as “The City of Flowers.” The city’s narrow winding streets and colonial architecture make it a beautiful and romantic city to explore. Views of the surrounding mountains, including the snow-capped Pico de Orizaba (at 18,700 meters the third highest point in North America) abound in the city. A small extinct volcano marks the city’s highest point, in the large green park of Macuiltepec. Surrounding colonial towns and natural areas make for great day trips, and have been popular filming spots for Hollywood.
You will be living not just in beautiful settings, but in a vibrant cultural and artistic environment as well! Both the university and the state government have put a lot of emphasis on cultural development in the city: the result is a vast array of cultural and artistic activities, from numerous art galleries to multiple musical venues, various theater troupes, folklore ballet, one of the best symphonic orchestras in Latin America, world class museums… and the list goes on. Add to this the youthful college atmosphere of the town, the countless cafés and restaurants, parks and lakes, and you could not find a more enchanting place to spend a semester!
All of our learning does not occur in the city, however. We also take the opportunity to explore other areas of Mexico on several study-excursions. Other weekend excursions might include enjoying the Caribbean atmosphere of the port city of Veracruz, ecological tourism at a rural community in the Tuxtla Mountains, or a long weekend in northern Veracruz, spending time with local university students, visiting archaeological and historical sites, and enjoying a bonfire on the beach! BCA offers more sponsored field trips than any other study abroad program in Mexico! Just another way that BCA helps its students understand this fascinating country!
The group will arrive in Xalapa to begin orientation and a two week pre-semester program of Spanish language instruction, as well as a crash-course in Mexican Cultural History. This will provide you with a jump-start to the semester, as well as give you the basic background in order for you to understand the fascinating culture and society you will be living in for the coming semester or year. Once the regular semester begins, you will be able to choose from a wide variety of courses at the School for Foreign Students, as well as special BCA courses. Those of you that have more advanced Spanish will also be able to take regular university courses within the academic departments of the university!
BCA students live with host families in Xalapa. This allows a total immersion into the Spanish language and Mexican culture, giving our students an exceptional opportunity to break down barriers in language and culture that would endure with a less intensive experience. Making Mexican friends, both in the EEE’s Cultural Emersion program and in regular classes, is another important part of the BCA Mexico experience.
Of course, throughout the time you are here you will have the personal attention of the resident director. I have lived in Mexico and Xalapa for more than 20 years now, and have a doctorate in Anthropology specializing in Mexican archaeology. In fact, in addition to being your Resident Director, I am also a Professor within the Anthropology Department of the university as well as an active archaeologist specializing in the Olmec culture! It is my pleasure to introduce you to Mexico, to its culture and society, its reality and its potentials – to take you off the “gringo trail” in order to discover the real Mexico. Here are two of my most recent professional publications:
VanDerwarker Kruger LAA 2012 (secondary author)
I hope this gives you a clearer idea of what BCA has to offer in Mexico.
¡Espero verte pronto en México!
Robert Kruger, Ph.D., BCA Director – Xalapa