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School of Education and Human Development University of Colorado Denver

School of Education and Human Development

Cultural Immersion Program in Cuernavaca, Mexico - SPSY 6915


This two week study abroad program taught by Dr. Bryn Harris will take School Psychology students to Cuernavaca, Mexico. The program is temporarily suspended due to the University of Colorado's travel ban to Mexico. But, we hope to offer it in future semesters. It will consist of Spanish language instruction, various fieldwork opportunities, educational readings and seminars, excursions within Mexico, and a home-stay with Mexican families. This program is organized through a language-immersion program called Encuentros in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Encuentros specializes in providing tailored programs to people in the education and mental health fields. They have many connections within the community and are highly invested in teaching participants about the Mexican culture. The program also consists of Spanish language classes conducted by licensed teachers at Encuentros program site. In addition, participants will stay with a host-family in either a single or double occupancy arrangement. The organization of these home stays is done extremely carefully and consists of multiple family interviews, home visits, and student evaluations of home stays. Participants are provided meals with their home stay.

Encuentros website:


This course is designed to provide you with experiences and support throughout your practicum experience. You will focus on developing competencies with culturally and linguistically diverse students. As a group, students will share with each other their experiences and discuss ways in which to problem-solve situations. The course is designed to help you:

  • Increase understanding of various educational and mental health models and practices and apply this knowledge to personal and institutional practices within the United States
  • Increase language proficiency
  • Increase knowledge of the impact of cultural and linguistic diversity on the cognitive, social and emotional development of children
  • Develop a personal awareness by confronting biases and prejudices

Participating students must have been accepted into the school psychology graduate program at UC Denver, completed two semesters of full-time participation in the school psychology graduate program, and be in good academic standing (i.e. no failed courses, not on academic probation etc.).

Tentative Daily Calendar:

8:30-11:30 Spanish Language Courses: Students will be evaluated and divided into courses appropriate for their language ability. No more than four students will be placed together into a class.
11:30-12:00 Lunch/Free time
12:00-3:00 Observation of Educational and/or Mental Health Agency
3:00-4:00 Group Meeting (participants and Dr. Harris)
4:00-5:00 Meal with Host Family/Free Time
5:00-7:00 Community Events (such as meeting with parents and talking about educational system in Mexico, Cooking class, Dance class, Movie night)
7:00 pm to 8:30 am – Participant Free time/Sleeping time

Students will be required to spend 150 clock hours in activities related to this practicum, and will turn in logs documenting their activities.

School Psychology related experiences will include:

  • Observation in various public and private schools
  • Meetings with school professionals (including educational psychologists)
  • Visits to mental health clinics and facilities
  • Meetings with parents about their views of the educational and mental health services in Mexico

You do not need to have Spanish language experience prior to attending this program. If you enroll in this practicum course, you are required to enroll in 3 credit hours. Because of this, you can enroll in solely 1 practicum credit during the spring semester. Please apply by March 12, 2010. Rolling admissions. Limited space available. Late fee of $50 applies after March 12, 2010.


The cost is $2,125. This will include all costs associated with the program including housing and food. Cost does not include: airfare, travel insurance (trip cancellation), personal miscellaneous items, passport, and exit fees (currently US$30.) Students will be required to pay for incidental costs such as cab fares and activities outside of the program.

Payment is due when you register for summer classes. ​

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