International Education

O'Dowd Hall, Room 328
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2889
[email protected]

Office hours
Mon - Fri: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Alex Zimmerman, Director
(248) 370-2843
[email protected]

A group of medical professionals in black gowns, face masks and white gloves.

Pre-Medical Studies in Puebla, Mexico

Oakland University's eight-week exchange program in Puebla, Mexico. Students who plan to  attend medical school or work in the allied health fields will incorporate an international experience through this program. Experience another country’s healthcare system firsthand through clinical education and medical rotations at a public university and hospital in Puebla. Students will work directly with medical professionals and patients, enhancing their applications to medical school while gaining proficiency in Spanish. Enjoy the beautiful colonial and historic atmosphere of this city in southern Mexico. 

The program fee for this program is $1,500, including tuition. The first ten eligible students to apply will receive a $1,500 scholarship. See the Costs tab below for further information.

Course: 8 upper level biology credits, in medical theory and medical practice.

Program Dates: May 22 - July 14, 2024

Application Deadline: January 15 

For more information contact:

Alex Zimmerman, Director of International Education
[email protected]

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Program Overview

Students on the Pre-Medical Studies in Puebla program spend eight weeks in Puebla, Mexico in the summer learning about the theory and practice of medicine in a country with a complex health landscape. This program is designed to prepare students for medical school by giving them the skills, knowledge, and experience medical schools seek in applicants. Students in allied health fields may also apply. The program is open to undergraduates and graduate students. At least one year of college-level Spanish or its equivalent is required.

Based at the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Pueblo (UPAEP), students will become part of the daily life of a busy Mexican public hospital, learning about the healthcare needs of the population while assisting the attending physicians. Through this immersive, rigorous program, students emerge with an understanding of Mexico’s healthcare system and of how to approach patient care.

Puebla, a historic colonial city, is an important regional center for education and healthcare. Home to many universities, it offers numerous cultural activities, live music venues and museums and galleries, as well as an exciting nightlife. Known for being one of the safest large cities in Mexico, its downtown area features ornate architecture, centuries-old cathedrals and leafy public squares. Midway between Mexico City and Oaxaca, Puebla is conveniently located to explore the best that Mexico has to offer.


Requirements: A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required. Students who don’t meet the GPA requirement may still be eligible and should speak with OU’s International Education Office prior to applying. As the program takes place entirely in Spanish, at least one year of college-level Spanish or equivalent is required prior to studying abroad.

Application: In addition to completing an OU study abroad application on Horizons, students must apply for admission to UPAEP. Oakland University will nominate students to UPAEP when their study abroad applications have been accepted.

Students will earn 8 upper-level biology credits, in Medical Theory and Medical Practice. 

The program includes both classroom and clinical components. The academic work begins with two weeks of intensive language study focused on Spanish for healthcare professionals. Following the language course are units on the healthcare system in Mexico, Mexican indigenous and traditional medicine, patient consultation and examination, triage and first aid, wound treatment and suturing, and presentation of clinical cases.

Students spend part of each day at a public hospital or in the university clinic, putting into practice the material learned in the classroom. Working directly with Mexican physicians, students complete clinical rotations in emergency and urgent care, internal medicine, infectious diseases, and other specialties. In the university clinic, students focus on general practice and preventive care, nutrition, and physiotherapy.

Students also have the option of volunteering at Puebla’s Ronald McDonald house, where children and their families from the surrounding region stay while receiving care in the city.

By the end of the program, students will be able to conduct an intake interview with a patient, evaluate symptoms, and present a treatment plan, all in Spanish.

Following the term, students receive a Mexican transcript with grades on a scale of 0 (failing) to 10 (excellent). OU converts these grades into American letter grades, which become part of students’ OU transcripts.

Housing and Food

Students stay in a modern apartment building adjacent to UPAEP’s campus. Each apartment has two private bedrooms, a living space, bathroom, and kitchen. Wifi is available in all rooms.

UPAEP has a student cafeteria with a number of casual restaurants. Also on campus is the award-winning Restaurante Arombo, featuring the work of the university’s gastronomy students. 

Food options in Puebla are plentiful and affordable. Puebla is celebrated throughout Mexico for its cuisine, most emblematically including mole poblano, a savory sauce of chiles and chocolate served on chicken, turkey, or pork. Other local specialties include stuffed peppers in walnut sauce, flatbread tacos, and chalupas. More adventurous eaters will enjoy chapulines, fried grasshoppers served as a bar snack or pizza topping.


Tuition and Program Fee: $1,500

You will be charged $1,500 on your eBill. This fee includes 8 credits of tuition, local transportation and excursions in Mexico, and health insurance.

Guaranteed Scholarship: The first ten eligible students to apply will receive a $1,500 scholarship, covering the entirety of the program fee.

Additional Costs: $3,375

You will need additional funds for these expenses not covered by program fee. Amounts are estimated.

  • Airfare: $1,000
  • Housing: $900
  • Meals: $600
  • Incidental personal expenses: $600
  • Books and supplies: $100
  • Passport (if you don't have one): $175

Scholarships and Financial Aid: You are able to use financial aid to cover your full cost of attendance to this program (tuition, program fee and additional costs). Scholarships are also available through your study abroad application.