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.

“It was really incredible to be able to focus for an entire semester on the same themes. All the classes and activities and discussion are integrated very well together. It is a very powerful and moving way to learn because it combines readings and writings with each of the students’ own life experiences that they bring into the program, as well as with the powerful testimonials of people dedicating their life to radical social change. There was nothing like living and learning with some of the most powerful social movements in the world, and combining that with lots of group reflection where students got to learn from one another--and discuss how all of what we were reading and hearing about related to our lives, and what we could do about it when we returned home to our own communities.” - Drew E. ‘17

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)