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  • Locations: Cuernavaca, Mexico; Mexico City, Mexico
  • Program Terms: Spring Break
  • Budget Sheets: Spring Break
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English Number of Credits Offered: 3
Eligible Population: 03 Junior, 04 Senior, Graduate Type of Program: Faculty-led
Area of Study: Political Philosophy, Public Policy and Management, Government and International Policy, Conflict Analysis and Resolution, American Government, Consciousness and Transformation, Global Affairs, Global Systems, Integrative Studies, International Business, International Security, International/Comparative Studies, Latin American Studies Study Abroad Host: Schar School of Policy and Government
Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:

Mexican flag painted on bricks
Walls or Bridges? Will Fear Trump Friendship? The Future of U.S.-Mexico Relations

Mexico is a country of tremendous contrasts between wealth and poverty. While two thirds of its population lives in poverty, according to official statistics, a Mexican frequently tops Forbes list of the World’s Richest People and a number of other Mexicans share spaces on that list. Additionally the U.S.-Mexico border is the only place in the world where a First World country borders on a Third World country. The relationship between the United States and Mexico is exceedingly important to both countries, however, our mutual interests can vary significantly as they relate to economic, immigration, and security goals. These may be aligned in some ways and misaligned in others, both between countries and within them. It is not just public sector interests in play, but private sector ones as well. We will get a first-hand look at these issues and discuss the feasibility of policy alignment with key sectors from government, academia, and a unique perspective from private corporations. Topics may range from drug cartels to immigration to economic growth and trade relations and their impact on both sides of the border. This study abroad program presents an ideal opportunity for SPGIA students—as well as other interested individuals—to explore some of the most consequential policy problems facing Mexico and the US today. Indeed, Mexico offers perhaps the richest international experience possible to students of public policy and government, regardless of their specific areas of interest and expertise.

  • Hear from the Mexican government
  • See the contrasts between rural and city life, and how development initiatives differ in each.
  • Think about democracy and security in a developing state.
  • Visit the US Embassy for briefings and attempt to understand the interagency soup managing trade and security
  • Visit the international corporate headquarters of Jose Cuervo for a briefing on international management and trade
  • Briefings on security, drug cartels, and energy reform
  • Meet journalists, academics, business leaders, and community leaders

Program Details

Credits Offered

  • Government (GOVT) 398: Study Abroad
  • ITRN 702: Special Topics in International Commerce and Policy: Study Abroad


This program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students including students who do not attend George Mason University.

Program Cost (Spring Break 2018)

$3950 for students who complete application by October 8th.

There is a single room option available for an additional cost of $500. Students who are accepted to this program will complete a housing questionnaire to indicate preference.


  • Tuition (3 credits)
  • Some meals
  • Special seminars
  • Guest lecturers
  • All administrative and organizational costs
  • International Emergency Insurance
Not included:
  • Round-trip airfare
  • Some meals
  • Spending money

Optional Tours

Participants may arrive early (Friday, March 9) for a Saturday morning excursion to the Bazaar Sabado, Frida Kahlo’s Blue house and the Trotsky Museum. The tour will return to the hotel by 4:30 pm. Official class will start at 6:00pm. The cost of this additional night with breakfast, lunch and the tour is $175 USD.

Participants may also extend their program to Sunday, March 18 for an optional Saturday excursion to the famous silver city of Taxco. The cost of this additional night with breakfast, lunch and the tour is $175 USD.

Students who do not choose one of these excursions will arrive in Mexico City on Saturday, March 10 and depart on Saturday, March 17.

Please see HERE for more information. Students who are accepted to this program will complete a questionnaire to sign-up for these additional days.

Program Itinerary (.pdf)

*Instructor reserves the right to modify the course schedule as needed

Contact Information

Program Officer

Michal McElwain Malur

Academic Director

Judge Floyd "Buddy" Villines

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.