TBD. Contact Program Director for more information.
A vibrant four-week journey of dance, yoga, Spanish and environmental awareness at Mexico’s cultural mecca, and one of the world’s heritage city according to UNESCO. Encounter many forms of traditional dance in the streets, parks and zócalos as part of the Calenda or parades which are main activities of La Guelaguetza, famous festival of its kind in Mexico.
Engage in an enriching and rigorous academic seminar introducing several key theoretical frameworks to view dance as a practice for sustainable living, and social technology. Our main focus is experiencing La Guelaguetza, the famous indigenous gathering and folk festival of its kind in Mexico. Where pre-Hispanic Zapotec and Mixtec traditions meet colonial aesthetics through dance, music, costumes and food.
You not only will learn about Oaxaca's diversity of traditional and indigenous dances, but will undergo daily mindful movement and embodiment training, such as yoga, meditation and butoh, to be able to maintain a deeper state of awareness while in Oaxaca. Students will be hosted by local families, which it has proven to promote better immersion within the culture and the language.
Some of the activities that will impact your learning will consist on meeting village elders and municipal authorities who have been keeping traditions alive and protecting the land. Participate in a recycle & art festival. Go on a Two-Day Eco-tourism adventure to the mountains of Sierra Norte and interview key community members to learn about their permaculture efforts, lifestyles and needs. Salsa lessons and dancing nights are also part of the main activities to build community among ourselves. The program will end with a final outdoor dance celebration and a Three-Day restorative/reflective retreat at the beach. Immersive assignments may feature: round tables and interviews led by the students, collaborative and community projects, reflective and embodiment practices (keeping a journal), as well as arts and media-based methods, and opportunities to perform.
Oaxaca City is the location that provides the best environment to enhance this curriculum because:
Oaxaca is considered world heritage city by UNESCO and a gem, not just within Mexico but around the world. Well known for its resiliency, of being able to hold their past (indigenous, Spanish and African cultural roots) vibrant, while surviving a complex and challenging Mexican society within a global economy — This is represented in many aspects such as its architecture, festivities, museums, food, crafts, music and of course its traditional and ritualistic dances. And this is why we want to go there, and particularly to study la Guelaguetza.
La Guelaguetza or Los Lunes del Cerro (Mondays on the Hill) as the locals call it, is the most famous indigenous gathering of its kind in Mexico where pre-hispanic Zapotec and Mixtec traditions meet colonial aesthetics through dance, music, costumes and food. Also, the word Guelaguetza comes from Zapotec language that means "reciprocal exchanges" of gifts, food and services. Used as if “to give guelaguetza” to each other as a thank you for a year of support, which in our opinion represent a holistic sustainable practice worth studying. La Guelaguetza is indeed an ancestral community activity that means sharing, reciprocity, and extended community, and this is exactly what we are looking to spark among the students while on this program.
In terms of the healing curriculum: Students not only will learn about Oaxaca's diversity of indigenous energetic practices and its dances, but will be required to undergo daily mindful movement and embodiment training, such as yoga, meditation and butoh to be able maintain a deeper state of awareness while in Oaxaca. Students will immerse themselves within the culture, not just being mainly spectators, investigating and experiencing traditional and ritual dances from different local communities. This is why this program is unique. Together (directors and students) we will answer questions such as: How dance, music and festivals contribute to the health of the community? How each individual benefit from belonging to a dance group? How culture and history permeates the individual and therefore the dances created and practiced though out time? How dance and ritual embody many aspects of the society like historical trauma, religious believes, morality and values, as well as deep ancestral universal truths and healing. We argue that many modern societies have forgotten the power of movement and dance as a deeply effective non-verbal communication tool, but Oaxaca has not. "The village elders, the town councils, municipal authorities as well as important village figures have worked hard to keep traditions related to the dances, "sones" and "chilenas" alive. They argue that they keep their identity alive, identifying them with a place and a story reminding them of who they really are" says Javier Santiago Arenas from Oaxaca News.
After our first program in 2016, Kelly as a student and Diana as director, observed that Oaxaqueños or people from Oaxaca are reluctant to surrender their natural resources and beautiful traditions to a corrupt and often unstable Mexican government, therefore being triggered to develop rich community-based environmental sustainability systems that are worth studying: from forest management, eco-tourism and permaculture efforts in Sierra Juarez and Sierra Norte, to strategies to increase coverage and quality of water services to Oaxaca’s 18 municipalities, and creative recycling activities like ReciclArte which runs simultaneously as the Guelaguetza in the Summer. ReciclArte uses the excitement of the Guelaguetza to get people (local and tourists) to unite efforts to collect 5 tons of PET and aluminum to support local schools. Overall, our current plans for this program are that students will get to experience and contribute to RecicArte festival, go on an Eco-tourism adventure to Sierra Norte and interview local people to learn about their permaculture efforts, as well as their lifestyles
Students will stay with families for better immersion within the culture. Each Mexican family will host 4-5 students and all family residencies will be walking distance from Instituto Cultural Oaxaca where Spanish and morning yoga classes will be offered.
Prerequisites and Language Requirements
While we do feel that students with some familiarity with Spanish language will find this program easier than those with none, all students will have the option of 6 hours a week of intensive Spanish immersion, offering beginners a means of catching up quickly.
Conversely, if a student is already fluent in Spanish and therefore not interested in the Spanish immersion portion of the program, we can also accommodate them as well.
The movement-based portion of this program will be physically rigorous and require a creative process that may be unfamiliar for students new to dance in an academic context. That said, it should also be a lot of fun and we will do our best to make it accessible to students of all levels of movement experience.
Offered by the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, this program is indeed deeply interdisciplinary. In addition to integrating movement and more traditional academic approaches, the readings and experiential assignments in our seminar with represent a variety of disciplinary perspectives as well. Students who have done coursework that covered topics like performance studies, Latin American culture and sustainability will find the content of the course more familiar than those who have not.
IMPORTANT: This program will include a demanding amount of daily movement-based pedagogy, walking in an urban environment and utilization of public transportation.
12 UW Credits
BIS 484 (offered jointly with BCULST 598): Arts Learning in the Community (10 Credits)
This bi-cultural community-engagement course studies the relationship of body, environment/place and culture. Based on the events of la Guelaguetza festival we will weave embodiment and environmental practices with a critical historical, ethnographic, and theoretical approach. This course will include (1) Daily Embodiment training weaving meditation, yoga, dance and mindful movement practices, (2) an rigorous academic- exploratory dance and holistic sustainability seminar, and (3) a variety of community-observation and participation activities in Oaxaca.
Students will immerse themselves within the culture by learning its dances, not just being mainly spectators. Together we will answer questions such as: How dance, music and festivals contribute to the health of the community? How each individual benefit from belonging to a dance group? How culture and history permeates the individual and therefore the dances created and practiced though out time? How dance and ritual embody many aspects of the society like historical trauma, religious believes, morality and values, as well as deep ancestral universal truths and healing. We argue that many modern societies have forgotten the power of movement and dance as a deeply effective non-verbal communication tool, but Oaxaca has not.
1. Daily Embodiment Training:
Weekly morning meditation sessions
Weekly Yoga-asana practice and pranayama-breathing exercises
Mindful exploration sessions grounded in Butoh a Japanese performance and therapeutic practice that explores the beauty within the darkness of human experience.
Use of movement and dance as a means of exploring and embodying the theories we are discussing in seminar
Learning some traditional dances and rituals directly from leaders of the community
2. Rigorous Academic- Exploratory Dance and Holistic Sustainability Seminar
Seminar-discussions and readings will introduce several core approaches to dance and sustainability:
Theoretical: key frameworks including embodiment, decolonizing/Indigenous and eco-feminism.
Historical and Ethnographic: how dance forms have evolved over time and how they have been shaped by cultural and political forces.
Spatial: In contrast with the United States, a great deal of dancing occurs in public spaces in Mexican cities. We will consider the role of dance in the urban landscape.
Transformational: Dance and embodiment practices can serve as a means of cultivating wellness, resilience and resistance at the intrapersonal, interpersonal, community, and political levels. Assignments will include seminar presentations and weekly ethnographic research projects.
Embodiment Journals: reflective free form journals written in “present” tense will also be collected daily and used for the final project.
Collaborative Final Assignment: Utilizing Canvas, students will create a collaborative assignment documenting their experience in Oaxaca.
Service: students will donate their time helping locals with permaculture activities.
Artistically: Students will have several chances to dance at public places.
3. Community Engagement, Observation and Participation:
Field trips to Sierra Norte Eco-Tour, archeological sites, hot springs/national parks and Fundación En- Via.
The Guelagetza Festival (indoor and outdoor activities) will feature a wide variety of traditional dance and performance, facilitating a unique opportunity for experiential learning regarding a variety of themes including Indigenous and multi-racial identity. Students will also encounter many forms of dance in the streets, parks and zócalos as part of the Calenda or parades which are main activities of the Guelaguetza.
Connection and communication with home-stay families will be key. Students will be encouraged to interact and share their experiences with their host families and invite them to see their final project.
Learning goals include:
Interdisciplinary Research: Students will be asked to conduct brief ethnographic assignments that integrate their scholarly and embodiment training during their stay in Oaxaca via observation/participation in dance and community events in the city. Assignments will require participatory observation skills; skills for documentation via digital technology, as well as reflective work utilizing movement and writing. Assessment, will be based on a combination of participation, completion of assignments, and reflection Critical Thinking: Students will be challenged to apply theoretical frameworks to their experiential learning experiences in the streets of Oaxaca. And then translate them creatively into written, multimedia, and/or movement-based assignments. Assessment, will be based on a combination of participation, completion of assignments, reflection and creative thinking Collaboration and Shared Leadership: This program will challenge students to explore dance as a relational and collaborative practice through their experiences on the dance floor, via team ethnographic assignments, in seminar presentations, and in creation of a final performance/offering. Assessment, will be based on a combination of participation, completion of assignments, reflection and successful interpersonal skills Writing and presentation: With portfolio-based pedagogy in mind, we plan to produce a collaborative multimedia project that contains students various individual and group assignments – be they written or digitally documented movement, performances and other arts-based pieces. Assessment, will be based on a combination of participation, completion of assignments, reflection and creative thinking Final project: To conclude and celebrate students’ journeys, there will be a public final offering/performance indoors or outdoors (depending the weather). The purpose is to reflect upon their overall experience and share the energy collected with the local community. Assessment, will be based on a combination of participation, level of overall commitment and final reflection
B SPAN 296 (offered jointly with BCUSP 296 or BCULST 296): Study Abroad: Spanish (2 Credits)
BSPAN/BCUSP 296 (2 credits) Staff, Instituto Cultural de Oaxaca (ICO)
The program will include 6 hours of intensive Spanish a week, twice a week with ICO’s teacher staff
B SPAN 296 Study Abroad (2 credits) Intermediate-level Spanish language courses for which there are no direct University of Washington Bothell equivalents, taken through a University of Washington study abroad program. In order to register for BSPAN 296, students must have already taken Elementary Spanish, BSPAN 101, 102, and 103.
Further study at 200-level subject to placement test scores.
BCUSP 296 Study Abroad: (2 credits) VLPA/I&S
CUSP/FYPP related courses for which there are no direct University of Washington Bothell equivalents, taken through a University of Washington study abroad program. Please register for this course if you are either a Beginner with Spanish language or your Spanish is more advanced than Intermediate.
Students are expected to expand their Spanish language skills (reading, writing and conversational) according their level
1) Spanish Beginners: after the program they will be able to engage in simple conversations with local people, and have basic written and writing skills.
2) Intermediate level of Spanish: after the program they will be able to expand their vocabulary to communicate more effectively with local people, engage in more complex conversations and improve their writing and reading skills.
3) Advance level of Spanish: after the program they will have the option to present their final project in Spanish and demonstrate proficiency in writing, reading and communication of the language. They will be also required to help their classmates with translation and support the directors in anything needed.
Assessment: ICO will provide with a report of the achievements of each student, and SA Directors will approve it and assign a grade.
Diana Garcia-Snyder, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, Program Director
Mindful movement educator and international artist from Mexico. Her work centers on dance and movement as healing and transformative practices. Diana is a co-founder of the DAIPANbutoh Collective Dance Company and has performed nationally and internationally in Mexico, Ecuador, Japan, Korea, Canada and the United States for over 25 years. She is currently working on several interdisciplinary projects, most of them connected to improving health and awareness through the conscious practice of movement. From teaching technique classes to giving lectures to performing, she has been fascinated by how our human body works and how to tap into the intelligence it holds. Diana is also a certified yoga and Pilates instructor.
Kelly George, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, Co-Director
Kelly recently graduated from UWB with her Master of Arts in Cultural Studies where her main research focus was on the utilization of alternative pedagogies, such as embodied practices and indigenous knowledges, to foster a break in the false human-nature dichotomy to create a greater awareness of humanity's interconnection to the planet. Her undergraduate studies were in Environmental Studies with a minor in Human Rights giving her a deep understanding of the complex social and environmental justice issues faced globally. Kelly had the pleasure of being a student-participant during the first Oaxaca study abroad program in June of 2016.
Estimated Program Fee: $4,650
Included in the program fee:
$450 Study Abroad Fee
Program activities and program travel
Not included in the program fee:
Airfare (average price subject to when and where your buy your ticket - $800)
Food (about $33/day)
UW Student Abroad Insurance ($1.74/day)
Other health expenses/immunizations
Personal spending money
Payment Due Date: July 3, 2018
Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.
A large percentage of UW students utilize financial aid to study abroad. Most types of financial aid can be applied to study abroad fees.
You can submit a revision request to increase the amount of aid for the quarter you are studying abroad. These additional funds are usually awarded in the form of loans. To apply, fill out a revision request form, attach the budget sheet (available via the link at the top of this brochure) and submit these documents to the Office of Student Financial Aid. For more information about this process, consult the Financial Aid section of our website.
Consult the Financial Aid section of our website for more information on applying for financial aid, special considerations for summer and early fall programs, and budgeting and fundraising tips.
There are many scholarships designed to fund students studying abroad. The UW administers a study abroad scholarship program and there are national awards available as well.
Scholarships vary widely in their parameters. Some are need-based, some are location-based, and some are merit-based.
For UW Study Abroad Scholarships fill out a short questionnaire on your UW Study Abroad program application to be considered. You must apply by the priority application deadline for the program in order to be considered for a scholarship. Click the Overview tab to view application deadlines.
The study abroad application includes a personal statement, three short answer questions, one recommendation from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the online application process, you may be contacted by the program director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.
To be eligible to study abroad, you must attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by UW Study Abroad. You must also attend program-specific orientations offered by the program director.
You must register for the UW Study Abroad orientation. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current schedule and to register for an orientation session.
Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.
UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. This is an especially important consideration if you are planning to do more than one study abroad program. You can research visa requirements by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country.html.
Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting: https://www.state.gov/s/cpr/32122.htm.
For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.
The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at disability.uw.edu.
$350 of the total program fee and the $450 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable once a contract has been submitted. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the business day a withdrawal form is received by UW Study Abroad. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:
Provide notice in writing to the program director that you will no longer be participating in the program.
Submit a signed withdrawal form to UW Study Abroad.
Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.