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Spanish Abroad — Parras, Mexico

Parras Invitation


Because the U.S. Department of State has issued a travel warning to Mexico, we will instead offer the Humboldt Steps Program in Ecuador.

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Oasis pool in Parras

Humboldt State University, Universidad Tecnológica
& Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila

Invite you to the

Hands-on Program in the Northern Mexican Desert,

in the beautiful oasis of Parras

Summer Semester

Intensive 10-week Program

Dates: typically May to August

Next Meeting to be announced

Parras de la Fuente, although surrounded by the desert, rests on underground streams that engender a perfect Mediterranean climate. Parras offers spectacular natural settings and many outdoor activities such as exploring caverns, mountains, rivers, and swimming in large pools formed from underground springs. Parras is the home of 400-year old adobe houses, a baroque church, revolutionary Francisco I. Madero’s childhood home, textile manufacturers, aqueducts, pecan orchards, cactus farms and the first winery in the Americas, founded in 1597.

Parras is a very pleasant town of 44,000 people located between Torreón and Saltillo in the northeastern border state of Coahuila. It is not far away from other beautiful towns such as Durango, Zacatecas, Saltillo, Real de Catorce, the cultural and industrial magnet-city of Monterrey and the spectacular Copper Canyon and Zona del Silencio.

The striking natural beauty of the region combined with the friendly and resourceful community is perfect for an academic program emphasizing appropriate and sustainable technology.

Universidad Tecnológica de Coahuila, established in 1995, is part of a nationwide system of campuses serving thousands of Mexican students throughout 32 states. The Universidad Tecnológica de Coahuila (UTC), campus Parras, specifically offers courses of technology and its environmental impact. The UTC has partnered with Humboldt State University to host the Parras Summer Program by providing the facilities, classrooms, library, computers, interrelation with Mexican students, and work experiences for students.

Students must enroll for a total of 16 units: (Tentative List)

SPAN 480 Spanish Language (Level according to need) (4)
SPAN 480 Spanish Conversation (Level according to need) (4)
ENGR 305 Appropriate Technology (alternative available) (3)
ENGR 114 Whole Earth Engineering (alternative available) (2)
ENGR 480 Appropriate Technology Projects in Chiapas (3)
  • A hands-on experience in Appropriate Technology and sustainability in the desert of Northern Mexico.
  • Immerse yourself in the language and culture of Northern Mexico.
  • Live with a Mexican family.
  • Visit cultural and natural places guided by faculty.
  • All courses apply to the HSU Minor and Majors or count as HSU graduating electives.
  • May use Financial Aid to cover all related expenses.
    • IIE webpage listing scholarships for those already receiving a Pell Grant and studying the sciences.
  • Qualifications:
    • Any person regardless of location, Spanish level or knowledge of Appropriate Technology can enroll in the Program.
    • If currently a student, must be in good standing.
  • Application:
  1. Complete Parras Program Application. Due Date: March (TBA for each year it's offered)
  2. Complete Interview with HSU Parras Program Committee.

Contact the Parras Program Leaders:

Program Director, Francisco de la Cabada

Director - Dr. Francisco Javier de la Cabada,

Humboldt State University, Department of World Languages and Cultures: (707) 826-3345

Instructor Lonny Grafman

Instructor Lonny Grafman,

Humboldt State University, Department of Environmental Resources Engineering: (707) 826-3649

HSU Students group photo
Parras2005 Group near Perote
Humboldt State students in Parras

Parras2006 Group near Perote

You can join the Parras Facebook group at

No employee or student shall on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, disability, veteran status or national or ethnic origin be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be otherwise subjected to unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, under any program of the University.