Mexico is a mix of yesterday and today, an example of myriad worlds colliding. From the old customs of the indigenous peoples to the rapidly modernizing cities throughout the country, the tension between the changing economic landscape and the pull of traditional Latin American values makes the country an important bridge between the North and South American cultures. The astonishing diversity of Mexico's landscapes, people, and history provide students with innumerable academic and social options.
Xalapa, home to the jalapeño pepper, is nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains, 4,000 feet above the Gulf of Mexico. Originally a market town on the Spanish route to Mexico City, with only 400,000 inhabitants, the city retains its small-town, colonial charm, yet boasts a large student population, making up almost a fifth of the city. Xalapa also has a vibrant and active arts scene and a world-renowned orchestra with frequent productions. Students can relax at one of the many sidewalk cafés, explore the surrounding coffee-growing region, or visit the distinguished pre-Hispanic anthropological museum. Its relatively small population of American students makes Xalapa ideal for fully integrating into Mexican life.
Students enroll directly in courses in the humanities and social sciences at Middlebury's host institution, the Universidad Veracruzana. The Universidad, home to a strong anthropology department known throughout the region, has a student body of approximately 70,000 on five campuses.