How long does it take to finish the MA degree?
By attending both of the three week summer sessions you can complete the program in 2.5 summers. You can also choose one session per summer, and complete the program over five years, or any combination that adds up to a total of five sessions.
Is your university accredited?
Southern Oregon University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
Regional accreditation of post-secondary institutions is a voluntary, non-governmental, self-regulatory process of quality assurance and institutional improvement. It recognizes higher education institutions for performance, integrity, and quality to merit the confidence of the educational community and the public. Accreditation by a post-secondary regional accrediting agency also qualifies institutions and enrolled students for access to federal funds to support teaching, research, and student financial aid.
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), based in Redmond, Wash., is an independent, non-profit membership organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the regional authority on educational quality and institutional effectiveness of higher education institutions in the seven-state Northwest region of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. It fulfills its mission by establishing accreditation criteria and evaluation procedures by which institutions are reviewed.
Why are some courses taught in English?
Core courses are taught in English since the great majority of the resources (texts and research) are carried out and published in English. Due to the exacting nature of the vocabulary and theory involved in these subjects (Second Language Acquisition for example) students appreciate that they are taught in the same language as the readings.
Do you accept previous graduate course work to meet degree requirements?
We accept up to 6 credit hours of previous graduate work. The work must be completed within the past 3 years prior to starting the program, and approval of courses is not automatic.
Do I have to live with a host family?
No, however many of our students find that living with a host family is one of the most fulfilling parts of the program. Our students frequently form lasting bonds with the family, return to the same family each year, and have unique cultural and linguistic experiences. Beyond the obvious cultural advantages, living with a family is advantageous when you are studying in such an intensive program, as you don't need to provide your own meals, do grocery shopping, or take care of daily living responsibilities associated with your own apartment. We especially recommend living with a host family during your first year in the program, as it will help you get acclimated to the culture and adjust to the rigors of the program. If you do not wish to live with a host family, you will need to find living accommodations on your own.
Can I bring my family?
Yes. However, the program is very intensive, with as much as 6 hours of class per day, and several hours of homework each night. You will need to bring someone else with you to take care of your children while you are in class and studying. In addition, although some home stay families might accept your family members at an additional charge, most students who bring their family choose to seek their own housing. Finding an apartment is your own responsibility.
Will I need a travel visa for either Mexico or France?
No, citizens of the United States do not need a travel visa for visits of less than six months in Mexico or France. International students should check the regulations on the U.S. State Department website.
Program Specific Questions
Southern Oregon University and the City of Ashland, Oregon (the site of SOU) have had a close relationship with Guanajuato for over 40 years. Ashland and Guanajuato are “Sister Cities” and share a number of exchanges between city officials and the community at large. SOU has had Student Exchange and Study Abroad programs with the University of Guanajuato since 1968.
Is it safe?
Guanajuato has been named one of the top eight safest cities to visit in Mexico by Lonely Planet. As in any city, however, you should take normal precautions. Although many plazas have Wifi available, avoid taking out your computer or electronics on park benches. Avoid walking home alone late at night through the tunnels or dark alleyways. Taxis are very inexpensive ($3-4), so use them to be safe at night. Make sure to lock your doors and do not invite strangers into your home.
Should I plan to arrive early?
Yes. We suggest that you arrive at least 3 days in advance of the beginning of classes and, preferably, one week in advance. This will allow you to become acquainted with the city, find the best way to school and back, get to know your family, do some sight-seeing, and find your favorite coffee shops.
What is the best way to get there?
The most convenient arrival is the Airport in León (BJX). It is a 45 minute cab ride from the León Airport to Guanajuato. Other options include arrival at Guadalajara and Mexico City. These airports are about a 4-5 hour bus ride from the city of Guanajuato.
You may arrange to have your family or the UG van pick you up through our housing coordinator for $50 US. If you decide to arrange for your own taxi from León, be aware that drivers from León sometimes get lost, as the addresses in Guanajuato refer to the alleyways (callejones), not the streets. The prices at the taxi stand in the terminal are fixed to wherever you may be going. From Leon to Guanajuato the price for a taxi is about $50 US.
What weather can I expect?
Guanajuato is located in the highlands of central Mexico. The elevation is close to 7,000 feet. You will be in Guanajuato during the rainy months. Expect brief but sometimes strong afternoon showers. There are also similar showers in the late evening. Usually within 30 minutes of the showers the sun comes back out and the streets dry up. Still, you should plan on bringing a sturdy umbrella and at least two pairs of shoes so that you have one to wear while the other pair dries out. The cobblestones can be slippery and treacherous, so avoid heels or shoes with slick soles.
While the temperatures are mild, when the sun is out, it can be intense. You will notice the shady sides of the streets are the most popular. Evenings can be quite cool, lowering into the mid 50’s.
Is there a doctor available if I get sick?
Yes. In the downtown area, on the Plaza de la Paz, there is a 24 hour medical clinic. There is also a more modern hospital about 15 minutes away near La Presa de la Olla. For a visit to the doctor the cost is around $25-30 US.
What should I bring?
Students in the program have recommended you bring the following:
Local Address: When completing your customs form to enter Mexico, you will need your local address in Mexico. Be sure to have handy the address of your homestay family (or other address, if you've found your own accommodations).
Technology: A laptop computer and flash drive are strongly recommended. Also recommended is a travel-sized external hard drive with materials you have developed for teaching, so it will be easy to further develop them in Guanajuato. The classrooms and home stays all have Wifi, and most assignments are submitted electronically. The university also has a computer lab available to students, but the hours are limited (9am-3pm). Many students like using their laptops in class to take notes and view online materials. Most students also use their laptop for class presentations. If you have a Mac computer, you should bring a "mini display port to VGA adapter" which will allow you to connect your laptop to the projector in the classrooms.
Telephone: A cell phone is not required or necessary while in Mexico, but can be convenient. Check with your provider about international plans; some can be expensive. You can also purchase inexpensive cell phones with prepaid minutes in Mexico. Another option is to use your smart phone in Airplane mode. You can't make or receive regular calls, but you can use the internet whenever Wifi is available, and also make calls using Skype when Wifi is available. All of the classrooms on campus as well as the home stays have Wifi.
Clothing: As indicated, summer temperatures in Guanajuato are mild, with average highs ranging from 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit, and the lows between 55-60. It can at times feel cool, and rainstorms are common. In addition to typical summer attire, students recommend bringing some layers (a light sweater, a rain jacket, an umbrella, extra pair of quick-drying shoes) for the wet weather. Sensible walking shoes are recommended for the steep cobblestone alleyways. Sunblock is recommended for the intense sun.
Miscellaneous: Here are a few additional items students have recommended:
Printing and Copying
As mentioned, most assignments are submitted electronically, so you generally have limited need for printing and copying. These services are usually available to students on campus at the kiosk at the bottom of the stairs, but they generally close for a week for summer break. Printing/copying are available at internet cafés nearby (Plaza del Baratillo/Calle Positos). Bring a flashdrive to use for printing.
Syllabi indicating required texts will be available in late April or May. You should acquire the required texts prior to leaving for Guanajuato. In some cases, you may find online versions of the texts that can save you money and avoid carrying heavy texts with you as you travel.
Students do much of their studying at home. On campus, there is an extra classroom reserved as a quiet study area for SLI students, or, weather permitting, you can study in the patio area.
Guanajuato is a walking town and most students are able to get everywhere on foot. Some home stays are located further from campus and you may want to take a camión or ómnibus. You will receive a student ID that will give you a discount on the bus system, as well as discounts to museums. Note: When you use a taxi in Mexico, please be sure to record the taxi identification number, just in case you leave something in the car or otherwise need to find the same taxi again.