Don’t Miss Out on STUDY ABROAD Opportunities

Studying abroad is a way to expand your world views, to use your sociological imagination, see and live a different reality, and a chance to not only analyze the new environments you will be in but analyzing, interpreting, and understanding the way in which you respond to the new environments.

Study Abroad Scholarships

Migration to Integration: The Changing Face of Germany

Travel to Berlin, Germany this Winter Break to take an in-person look at the European Migrant Crisis. Explore Germany’s self-described status as a “land of immigrants” by looking at immigration policy, humanitarian responses, neighborhood communities, and party politics in light of both recent and historical events.

Hear the unique perspectives of Turkish, Syrian and Jewish communities within Germany and compare Germany’s immigration narrative with that of the US and other nations.

Other program highlights include:

  • A four-day excursion to Munich
  •  An overnight excursion to Nuremburg
  • Site visits to museums, memorials, markets and other sites of historical and cultural importance
  • Guest lectures from various immigrant communities

Apply by October 15, 2016. For more information, visit: Website or
contact Molly Micheels ( in the Learning Abroad Center.

Understanding New Zealand: Culture, Society & Environment 

Time frame: May 2017 Global Seminar
Location: Auckland, Waitangi, Rotorua, and Wellinton, New Zealand

You read that right!  For the first in years we have a study abroad program taught by a Soc faculty member for May Term 2017!

Prof. Evan Roberts (new this year) will be leading a 3 week, 3 credit program to New Zealand.



Obviously, May Term registration hasn’t started and won’t start until next year; however you will want to start your application and planning process this year.  Since this is a study abroad program you’ll need to work with the Learning Abroad Center for your application and working out the many details of how and when to go.

For further information or questions about this program, send an email to Molly Micheels or call at 612.624.3949Please review the program website before contacting Molly.

You’ll find the program website to be of use:

Why are you telling us about this program now?

May term study abroad courses fill up quickly and you need to start planning (and applying) early. We very much want to see Soc Majors and Minors in this course and anticipate a tremendous amount of interest in this program from units outside of Sociology.  Or said another way, since it is a Soc class taught by a Soc faculty member we want Soc Majors and Minors benefiting from all our work in putting this together and getting it approved (still, it is open to all undergraduates here at the U of M).

Buenos Aires, Argentina – Leadership & Social Change in Argentina

Approved for Civic Life & Ethics Theme and Global Perspectives liberal education requirements.

3-week, 3-credit program
-Examine your own leadership and gain an understanding of what leadership means in an international context
-Learn how Argentine leaders, such as Evita Peron, have advanced social change
-Experience the eclectic neighborhoods of Buenos Aires


Critical Language Scholarship Program – U.S. Department of State

DEADLINE: November 16, 2016

Fully Funded Summer Language Study The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. For eight to ten weeks each summer, students from across the U.S. live and study at over twenty sites abroad, covering the equivalent of a full year of college-level language study in fourteen critical languages.


All applicants must be U.S. citizens. Applicants must be enrolled in a U.S. degree-granting program at the undergraduate or graduate level. All candidates must have
completed at least their first year of university-level study by the beginning of the summer institute.

Students in all disciplines, including business, engineering, sciences, social sciences, and humanities are encouraged to apply. Applications are accepted each fall for programs beginning the following summer.

The CLS Program welcomes all eligible applications and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, geographic location, socioeconomic status,disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.


Summer 2017 Research in Mexico The Isla Mujeres Ethnographic Field School

Open to BOTH Undergraduates and Graduate Students

One Eight Week Summer Advanced Methods Sessions
June 3 – July 30 2017

Two Three Week Summer Practicum Methods Sessions
June 10 – July 1 2017 and
July 1 – July 23 2017

Medical anthropology, teen pregnancy, HIV prevention, dengue fever prevention, sea turtle and whale shard conservation, gender and identity, economic development and tourism, culture and environment, Catholicism and Maya religion

You can learn about our program on our site and on our Facebook page:

We hope you can pass the information about our Field School on to your students who may be interested.

Field Sessions

We are currently accepting enrollment to our winter 2016/17 and our summer 2017 Field School sessions. Our main program is our 8 week long Advanced Methods course where students create a professional research proposal, conduct the research and present their data in an open-to-the-public conference on the island, as well as prepare academic journal style articles intended for publication.

The Isla Mujeres Ethnographic Field School specializes in community based projects and trains students on how to conduct ethnographic research. Located on a small Mexican Caribbean island, much of the student research is focused on community needs per their request. Some of our current areas of interest: Culture & Environment, Latin America & Caribbean, Medical Anthropology, Gender & Identity, History, Space & Meaning and Economic Development. There is a wide variety of subjects to research. In the past, some students have conducted research on teenage pregnancy, HIV and Dengue Fever prevention, Catholic and Maya religion, Economic Developemnt and tourism, Sea Turtle and Whale Shark conservation.

For more information, please see our website:

The Isla Mujeres Ethnographic Field School (I.F.S.) is dedicated to the professionalization of ethnographic research and the training of students on how to conduct ethical, meaningful and professional research. Our mission is to train ethnographers that we are confident in and that we know can get the job done. Be it future graduate school research or projects for employers. Our trained ethnographers can tackle a research project from beginning to end with confidence, experience and know-how.

Students will participate in formal lectures, informal presentations, government meetings and briefings, and ethnographic research that serves to assist the people of Isla Mujeres either through applied anthropological techniques or through creating a more full ethnographic record that illuminates the island’s past, present and possible future. Students will be immersed within the culture of the island and will conduct collaborative research with it’s residents. Students will learn the value of team work through helping each other on projects, talking through field research problems and supporting each other in their professional development.

We train both undergraduate and graduate students. Our program gives students the cutting edge needed to get into good graduate school programs, develop graduate school dissertation research (which will help in securing research funding for dissertations) and will help them land the job they want in the discipline. Some undergraduates have used their experience and data for senior thesis projects, while graduate students use it for pilot research to develop their Masters thesis or Doctoral dissertations.

Todd G. Pierce, Ph.D.
Isla Mujeres Ethnographic Field School
202-241-5325 (USA)
998-139-7122 (MX)


Study Abroad Opportunities – Summer and Winter Sessions

Winter 2016/17 Alternative Break Sessions
First Session: December 10 – 18th
Second Session January: 7 – 15

Alternative Spring Break Sessions
Flexible Dates Between February and April Based On Group Bookings of 3 or more students

Environmental Practicum
One week course that focuses on environmental issues. Students will become familiar with various environmental issues that the island faces, attend daily lectures on theory, methods and practice, as well as guest lectures from local experts. The main focus will be on marine life conservation, including reef protection, Sea Turtle, Spotted Eagle Ray, Whale Shark and Giant Manta Ray conservation, as well as over-fishing and poaching issues, but will also include water and waste management issues and beach conservation that addresses issues of tourist economy agendas and impacts as well. Students will become familiar with the island and the people who live here and experience a cultural immersion that is applied in focus. All students will become PADI Open Water Certified divers, Marine Species Identification Certified, Emergency O2 provider certified, Project AWARE training and will participate in a Dive Against Debris.

NOTE: The second session students may be lucky enough to actually see large Spotted Eagle Rays while diving, as this is during their annual migration period.

Tuition: $1,400 per person (includes all of above mentioned activities as well as 8 nights housing)

Must be a group of at least 3 students for this session.
If booked as a group of 3 or more together, then a 10% discount applies.

E-mail for any questions or to express your interest and the dates that you (or your group) would be interested in attending.

Intensive Methods Practicum: Cultural Heritage & Immersion
One week course that focuses on cultural immersion on the island. Students will attend daily lectures that focus on various issues such as medical anthropology, economy, language and environment as well as the history of the island and how rapid changes in the past couple of decades has impacted the island on several levels. This course offers intensive training on several key ethnographic methods. Students will be required to attend daily lectures and complete a series of practical exercises using the methods they learn about. This course will be a more generalized focus on methods, cultural process, meaning, symbolism and cultural practice. Students will engage with local experts and stake-holders and become familiar with life on the island. Students will also participate in a trip to visit the Maya historical sites of Chichen Itza and Ek Balam, with a visit to an ancient Cenote for a swim in it’s sub-terrainian waters.

NOTE: First Winter Session Students will enjoy the Island’s Christmas Heritage, which is very rich with community and family activities happening almost daily. The first Sunday of the first session will be the festival of Guadalupe, which brings thousands of islanders together in celebration.

Tuition: $1,150 (includes all of above mentioned activities as well as 8 nights housing)

Must be a group of at least 3 students for this session.
If booked as a group of 3 or more together, then a 10% discount applies.

Ethnographic Methods Writing Workshop
The Ethnographic Methods Writing Workshop will educate students in a range of the most effective ethnographic writing techniques, provide a space for discussion concerning the evolving nature of writing techniques and genres, and assist students in honing necessary cross-disciplinary communication skills with the ultimate goal of professional publication/presentation.

Course Description:
As the opening line evidences, ethnography and writing go hand in hand. Ethnography requires gathering, integrating, investigating, and questioning information. In order to most effectively communicate that material to a wider audience, it’s imperative to present it in the most effective form to complement the research, allowing for greatest effectiveness and impact.

Ethnographic writing can take many forms. This workshop will explore a diverse range of forms aiding students to structure their work in the most effective format.

Impact will be a main focal point of the workshop through exploration of form, genre, and discussion of content, process, and research. Too often, writing of this import languishes in academia, having little to no practical effect after the project’s been completed. Diversifying writing content and technique allows for wider reach and influence.

Workshop Goals

  • Discuss ethnographic writing styles and elements of craft
  • Workshop a chosen work and hone for professional publication/presentation
  • Research an article about your chosen ethnographic writing style—workshop discussion
  • Daily observation journal writing
  • Short daily reading (ethnographic writing examples in multiple genres)

Students will also participate in a trip to visit the Maya historical sites of Chichen Itza and Ek Balam, with a visit to an ancient Cenote for a swim in it’s sub-terrainian waters.

Tuition: $1,150 (includes all of above mentioned activities as well as 8 nights housing)

Must be a group of at least 3 students for this session.
If booked as a group of 3 or more together, then a 10% discount applies.

Restorative Retreat (R&R)

NOTE: Applications for the R&R can simply be a letter of interest, a current CV and a writing sample of what you would like to discuss in an informal group setting.

The retreat is designed for social scientists (MA, Ph.D. or equivalent level, any stage of career, academics or practitioners – all sub-fields ) to come together in an informally structured way, like a mini-conference without the intense schedule. This will be a restorative retreat for re-setting your *self*, networking with other like-minded colleagues and developing yourself as a professional as well as your networks. Under a canopy of palms, overlooking the Carib with it’s gentle breeze, each participant will give a “brown-bag” style discussion about their research, inner goals or other subject that is important to them, contextualized within their own experience as a scientist. Other participants will give feedback in group discussions. The retreat also includes a long day trip tour to the Maya sites of Ek Balam and Chichen Itza, with a swim in an ancient cenote between both sites. Other activities will include an island tour and cultural familiarization, informal social events with locals and expats. There will be many optional activities such as yoga, snorkeling and diving. All activities can be arranged for you. Participants of the R&R are welcomed to engage students of the Field School socially or even professionally with lectures and discussions if they wish. Must be a group of at least 3 participants for this session. If booked as a group of 3 or more together, then a 10% discount applies.

Summer 2017 Sessions:

Updates on the Advanced Methods course:
We have changed our Advanced Methods course, which is our main summer course, to better fit the needs and career goals of our students. We will only host one Advanced Methods session for the summer of 2017. It will be 8 weeks long, starting on June 3 and ending on July 30 . We are doing this to include a writing week, where the students will have more dedicated time to their research reports and write them in the style of a journal that they want to submit to for possible publication. We will have specialists to assist them on developing their writing as well. We are also going to streamline our research proposal process by having the students use the Wenner Gren Foundation guidelines for grants. This way the students learn more about two key areas taught at the field school ( proposals and presentation of data) by using real-world examples to work from. Students will work closely with Field School faculty to create a very good working proposal prior to their arrival and then bring it to it’s final form during the first week.

We are offering two two 3 week Methods Practicum Sessions for students to choose from. These sessions will occur during the Advanced Methods course and are designed to give the students solid methods skills through daily practice of them in the field.

Ethnographic Field School is a great resource for any student of Anthropology, from beginner students to those more advanced in their studies. Many disciplines study issues of Culture and the Environment, political economy, or other cultural studies programs, like Latin American studies, not just Anthropologists — and anthropology is not the only discipline that utilizes Ethnographic Field Research techniques.

Much of the Field School description below pertains to the 6 week long Advanced Methods session, though some aspects of this carry over to the 3 week long Practicum sessions as well.

We encourage Undergraduate and Graduate students from the fields of Anthropology, Sociology, Environmental Sciences, Marine Biology, Forestry, fine art, music (we actually highlight local island artists on our facebook page) and other fields who are interested in learning Ethnographic Field Research Methods and techniques to attend the Isla Mujeres Ethnographic Field School.

For example, a student might major in Marine Biology and is interested in the preservation of Whale Sharks. To fully understand this issue the would need to know not only a bit about their life cycle, migration patterns and environments, but also the political economy of the context in which they are endangered. Understanding the tourism that surrounds them, the guides and fisherman who launch site-seeing and swimming tours for tourists to be close to them and other issues like the political context of such tourism and official government efforts to protect (or not) the Whale Sharks, is vital to seeing the whole picture. Gaining this larger perspective that also focuses on the daily cultural issues surrounding this animal is what our Field School can offer.

Students will receive a minimum of 40 hours of classroom ethnographic methods instruction (as well as the theories and ethics related to ethnographic field research) and conduct a minimum of 80 hours of directed independent research.

Each student will receive a minimum of 9 hours of intense Spanish Language training, accompanied by over 40 hour of conversational practice.

Students will also receive about 15 hours of Scuba Dive instruction, with an additional 10 hours of practical experience.

The location, the Mexican Caribbean island of Isla Mujeres, is an ideal location for putting the learned methods into practice through a focus on culture and environment.

Each week students will experience Field Work with their Local Expert Mentors, along with Excursions, such as taking a Lanchero (small fishing boat) to the Contoy Island Nature Preserve, swimming in the open Caribbean Sea with Whale Sharks, touring the Isla Mujeres Tortugranja Turtle Preserve, diving or snorkeling at the Cancun Subaquatic Museum, and visiting the Mayan ruins on the island and at Chichén Itzá.

The Isla Mujeres Ethnographic Field School provides:

  • Practical experience in Ethnographic Methods, Research Design, analysis and
    ethics through formal training and field research
  • Engagement in Cross Cultural Processes to gain an on-the-ground perspective of everyday life through internships with local native mentors, families and cultural activities
  • Study in the complex social and political contexts of the relationship between Culture and Environment in an amazing location that thrives on eco-tourism and environmental protection
  • PADI Open Water Dive Certification and Spanish Language Boot Camp
  • Informed Career Counseling and Direction by experts to further your career in the competitive professional and academic field of Anthropology

Isla Mujeres is a very small island in the Caribbean, located about 8 miles off of the coast of Cancun. Spanning about 5 miles long and a half mile wide at the widest point, Isla Mujeres is a Mexican Caribbean treasure. Here you will find the remains of an ancient Mayan temple to the Goddess Ixchel, and although Spanish is the official language, many of the locals still speak Mayan fluently. The economy of the Isla Mujeres (simply referred to as ‘Isla’” by those who live there) is driven by tourism, followed by fishing and the Mexican Naval Base on the island. Located 1.5 hours from the Coba Ruins, 2 hours from the Tulum Ruins, and 2.5 hours from Chichén Itzá, Isla has a rich Mayan tradition spanning several thousand years, intersecting interestingly with a history of Pirates as well.

We would greatly appreciate it if you could pass the information about the field school onto your students and others who may be interested in attending the field school. Our website,, illustrates what the field school is all about and also has an informational flyer that can be printed to pass out to students or posted to your department’s bulletin board. Please also see our FaceBook page for updates and posts of interest:

The Field School is also a structural base for the inclusion of other types of ethnographic training. For example, if a professor wanted to design a field school for her students that focused on community health, this can be arranged with all of the logistical necessities taken care of for that special segment of the Field School. Some of the interests we have already had inquiries about are Latin American Studies, Nursing and Medical Anthropology.

Todd G. Pierce, Ph.D.
Isla Mujeres Ethnographic Field School
202-241-5325 (USA)
998-139-7122 (MX)