Merida, Yucatan and Mexico

In January of each year, escape the Missouri cold and enjoy the warmth of Mérida in the Yucatan, Mexico. This is a wonderful short study-abroad experience that combines field experience learning about family law in Mexico with cultural and immersion opportunities.

This week-long program has included visits to a an orphanage, courts, social outreach organizations, and multiple interactions at Autonomous University of the Yucatan Universidad Autónima de Yucatán (UADY). At UADY, students will learn about domestic violence and family law from faculty and students in the law school, social work school, nursing school, and psychology school. The program provides opportunities to meet students from UADY and engage in legal conversation and other areas of interest. To aid students to have the most immersive experience possible, the program arranges for students to stay in homes rather than hotels, called a homestay. This provides opportunities for a glimpse of life in upper-middle class Mexican homes. It also encourages speaking as much Spanish as each student can, though knowledge of Spanish is not required for the program.

In addition to the educational presentations and excursions, the program creates opportunities to learn about Mayan and Mexican history and culture. Program participants in the past have visited the Mayan Museum, a Mayan archeological site that is an UNESCO World Heritage Site (Uxmal), haciendas (plantations), flamingo nesting grounds, and cenotes (underground lakes that are open at the surface and are swimmable).

For more information, contact Prof. Lehr-Lehnardt at

Student Testimonials:

“I truly believe that it opens up your mind to a better perspective of the good in all people around the word, new connections, new opportunities to expand one’s education and lasting memories.” 

“I am working at an immigration firm that is implementing an asylum clinic and the business model suggests incorporating a more rounded experience for the client. I immediately thought of our friends at UADY and am very excited to see what we can do that is similar here.”