Autonomous University of Social Movements Mexico

Program Availability: Fall and Spring Semesters

This program offers Hampshire students the opportunity to spend a semester traveling with the Autonomous University of Social Movements (AUSM) in Mexico studying critical international grassroots alliances in the struggle for democracy, sovereignty, and economic and political justice. The Autonomous University of Social Movements  is committed to developing these grassroots alliances on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, and organizing to promote dialogue and collective action for social change.

Through AUSM, students can participate in a unique study abroad experience that will connect them with other community activists struggling for change in Mexico.


Successful applicants will have completed at least one year of college Spanish or demonstrate equivalent mastery of the language.

Term Dates

Fall Term: September-December
Spring Term: February-May 

Academic Program

Zapatista OfferingThe Autonomous University of Social Movements Mexico study abroad experience offers a dynamic, student-centered pedagogical approach combined with direct interaction with some of Mexico's most important social movements.

AUSM's unique integration of theory and practice provides students with important lessons for organizing work back home and an in-depth appreciation of the struggles of:

  • Indigenous Communities [Chiapas]
  • Campesinos, Braceros, and organized sex workers [Tlaxcala]
  • Autonomous urban organizing around housing and culture [Mexico City]

Photo of offering to a fallen Zapatista on the Day of the Dead. Photo taken by GEO staff while visiting the program in the fall of 2007.


The program is a 13-week inter-disciplinary course. Semester breakdown by week:
Week 1: San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas-UniTierra
Weeks 2-6: Oventic, Chiapas-Zapatista community
Weeks 7-9: Tlaxcala-Campesino communities
Weeks 10-13: Mexico City, "Los Panchos" autonomous urban community

For more detailed program information, see the AUSM Program.

Non-Hampshire Students

If you are not a Hampshire student but interested in AUSM's programs, please apply directly through AUSM. Hampshire College is the school of record for AUSM's Mexico Study Abroad program and can issue transcripts. Please contact AUSM for more information.

Non-Hampshire students may be eligible to receive financial aid from their home institution while participating in AUSM's Mexico Study Abroad program. Hampshire College cannot process financial aid for non-Hampshire students; any aid you receive would be at the discretion of the home institution. Please follow these steps to see if you are eligible to receive aid:

  1. Get academic approval from your home institution for AUSM's Mexico Study Abroad program
  2. Meet with a financial aid representative from your home institution to discuss your academic plans. Obtain a Financial Aid Consortium Agreement, usually from the financial aid office, at your home institution.
  3. Complete the student section, if any, and forward the Financial Aid Consortium Agreement to Katie Irwin,, at Hampshire College.

Hampshire College will complete the host institution section of the Agreement and return it to the home institution as instructed. 

Housing and Meals

A centerpiece of  AUSM's study abroad program is your immersion in communities actively involved in political, economic, and cultural organizing. During the program your lodging includes:

  • Housing in rustic collective dormitories on the campus of the Universidad de la Tierra, a center for educating indigenous youth in practical trades [San Cristóbal, Chiapas]
  • Collective dormitories [Oventic, Chiapas]
  • Homestays with campesino families living at the base of La Malintze, one of Mexico's largest mountains [Toluca de Guadalupe, Tlaxcala]
  • Homestays in La Polvorilla, a cooperative that is part of Mexico's largest urban housing movement [Mexico City, Federal District]

Program Costs

Hampshire Exchange Fees and Financial Aid provides detailed information on the fee policy, withdrawal policy, and how financial aid may apply.

  • Tuition Fees: Paid to Hampshire
  • Housing and Meals Fees: Tuition fees paid to Hampshire also cover your room, board, and ground transportation in Mexico.
  • Other expenses: Students are responsible for the cost of passport and visa fees; international and local transportation including airfare; books and supplies; international health insurance; and personal expenses. Students will receive a travel stipend to offset airfare costs.

MSN Spanish class
A Spanish class for Mexico Solidarity Network students in Toluca de Guadalupe. Photo taken by GEO staff while visiting the program in the fall of 2007.


The Hampshire Exchange program with AUSM Mexico is open to division II or first semester division III Hampshire College students.

Hampshire students should review detailed information on eligibility requirements and policies in the Hampshire College Handbook under Exchange, Field Study, and Short-term Field Courses. Other students should refer to AUSM

How to Apply

  1. Meet with the GEO: Students are required to meet with the GEO program manager for this exchange program before submitting an application. Call 413.559.5542 to make an appointment.
  2. Review Applying to a Hampshire Exchange Program: Includes deadlines, application instructions, requirements, and procedures.
  3. Apply now: Students apply online through HampGOES (Hampshire's Global Experience System).


Contact the GEO program manager:

Katie Irwin

Faculty Contact

Margaret Cerullo
Professor of Sociology
School of Critical Social Inquiry


Stay In Touch
With The Global Education Office (GEO)
Snail Mail
Global Education Office
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002