ISLA MUJERES MEXICO AND THE ETHNOGRAPHIC FIELD SCHOOL
Isla Mujeres is a very small island in the Caribbean, located about eight miles off of the coast of Cancun. Spanning 4.5 miles long and a half mile wide at its widest point, Isla Mujeres is a Mexican Caribbean treasure. Here you will find the remains of an ancient Mayan temple to the Goddess Ixchel, and although Spanish is the official language, many of the locals still speak Mayan fluently. The economy of the Isla Mujeres (simply referred to as 'Isla' by those who live here) is driven by tourism, followed by fishing and the Mexican Naval Base on the island. Located 1.5 hours from the Coba Ruins, 2 hours from the Tulum Ruins, and 2.5 hours from Chichén Itzá, Isla has a rich Mayan tradition spanning several thousand years, intersecting interestingly with a history of Pirates. The tranquil flow of modern island life on the island, however -- is something to experience and truly enjoy.
Ethnography is all about being there and learning the most important aspects of how anthropological research is conducted. Because Isla Mujeres is a Caribbean tourist town that thrives on Eco-Tourism, the Isla Mujeres Ethnographic Field School will focus much of the training on those subjects. For instance, thousands of people come to Isla each year to scuba dive the reefs or to swim with protected Whale Sharks. These two activities are intertwined with the subjects of eco-tourism, sustainable tourism, local economies and environmental protection. Therefore, some students of the Field School might want to focus their internships and independent research projects on those subjects.
Spanish Language Boot Camp is required participation for three days during the first week of the Advanced Field School Sessions. The instructor will gauge your knowledge of Spanish and group you with students of similar knowledge and level of expertise so that, even if you are familiar with the language, you will receive the proper language familiarization. Although some people who live on the island do speak English, you will find that most do not. Please note your level of Spanish fluency in your Application.
PADI Open Water Certification Dive School is included in the tuition fees for the Advanced Session and will be a key element of training for students. This will underscore your understanding of the complex relationship between the environment and culture, especially in regard to sustainable tourism and local political economies. Students may select the appropriate level of dive training if they are beyond beginner -- up to and including Assistant Instructor PADI Certification. Documents supporting levels above beginner will be needed for registration in advanced courses -- please indicate your level of PADI Certification in your Application. If a student wishes to not participate in the PADI certification or other water-based activities, please let us know and we will modify your course of study.