The AUSM (Autonomous University of Social Movements) Mexico program introduces students to the ideas and people involved in autonomous, community-based organizing in Mexico.  Students spend six weeks in Chiapas learning Spanish and the history and ideas behind the movement before spending the rest of the semester in homestays in Tlaxcala and Mexico City. The final two weeks of the program are spent at the Centro Autonomo in Chicago.

“For the bulk of the program, you are living at the heart of one of the most prominent social movements of our time, with the opportunity to connect with a few key people from this community. However, this program caters to a pretty particular type of person. You have to be down with anti-capitalism, willing ot have very little privacy and free time, and not looking for a program that's all in Spanish. If that's you, it's the most incredible experience ever. You will get to immerse yourself in one of the most incredible social movements of recent history and meet the most inspiring people you would never be able to connect with otherwise.” - Julie K. '18

Faculty Adviser:

Professor Aaron Bobrow-Strain (Politics Department)

Fields of study:

Interdisciplinary coursework in Mexican politics, social movements, culture, and Spanish (or Tzotzil) language


Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 (Whitman requirement) and a strong interest in social movements and community-based organizing

Language Prerequisite:

At least three semesters of recent college-level Spanish or the equivalent


Required Courses – 4 courses per semester:
Political economy (4 credits)
Modern Mexico (4 credits)
Mexican Social Movements (4 credits)
Spanish Language and Mexican Culture (4 credits)

Credit Conversion:

1 AUSM credit = 1 Whitman credit




Rustic, collective dormitories (San Cristobal and Oventic)
Homestays (Tlaxcala, Mexico City, Chicago)


All meals are provided by staff or by homestay families except for weekend meals during the first six weeks of the program.

Semesters Offered:

Fall, Spring


September-December, late January-May

Program Website:

AUSM Mexico (MSN)