Packing Recommendations

Generally, Mexicans dress very similarly to Americans, although in general a little more formally. We suggest you bring the clothes that you are normally used to wearing. Women will get a lot of attention on the streets if they wear revealing clothes such as short skirts and shorts. In indigenous villages dressing conservatively is always recommended, which means covering legs and shoulders.  It is great to have a few "nicer" outfits for a nice meal in a restaurant.

Although the days can be warm in Oaxaca, evenings can be cool so bring a light jacket or sweater for going out, even in the summer. The evenings can get very chilly during December and January, so you will need extra layers.  Don't forget to prepare for the afternoon rain during the rainy season.


  • Pack light: leave a little room for the things you will buy while abroad!
  • Lightweight clothing (layering is good)
  • Bring at least one outfit for going out. Mexicans tend to dress up when going out. For the guys, please make sure you have dressier shoes for this!
  • Comfortable walking shoes. Make sure you break them in before your trip! We’ll be hiking and walking around pretty often so make sure you can use these shoes for that. Also, if you plan on jogging or doing any sports you’ll want to bring the appropriate footwear.
  • Sun hat, sun glasses, swimsuit
  • Light fleece or sweater (for the evenings in Oaxaca)
  • Jacket, fleece, warm sweater for the Sierra Norte trip, it can get very cold in the mountains and can be a lot cooler in the evenings during the winter
  • Rain jacket and umbrella
  • Flip flops; typically you have one pair for inside the home. House shoes are an important part of Hispanic cultures
  • Remember, while it is acceptable to wear revealing clothes in Oaxaca it WILL attract attention.


  • Small duffel or backpack for weekend and afternoon trips
  • Towel, toiletries, and sunblock. You should bring a towel for some excursions such as the beach trip
  • Camera and batteries/charger
  • Flashlight
  • School supplies: Notebook, pens, pencils, English-Spanish Dictionary, planner for homework
  • Compact umbrella
  • Insect repellent
  • Travel sickness pills, some of the excursions involve curved nountain roads (e.g. Hierve el Agua and the beach)


In general, we do not suggest students bring a laptop for short programs (1 month or less) if they are only studying Spanish because it is one more item that could be lost, stolen or damaged. There are computer labs at the school and Internet cafés all over town.  If you are taking non-language classes and staying for longer than a month a laptop will be helpful to write essays and research your homework.


Printing can be done at the university for a small fee.


Bring an extra pair of clothes & toothbrush in case your luggage gets lost or delayed by your airline.


Bring any prescription drugs that you may use. Make sure they are labeled and if possible, carry your doctor's prescription.