Mexico, Puerto Peñasco

May 22-29, 2024

This introduction to Marine Biology, designed for the non-major, will take you to the Sea of Cortez (our nearest ocean experience), which has one of the best intertidal expanses in the world! At low tide, as much as 300 feet of what was once covered by the sea is exposed.

Students will visit and learn about different aquatic habitats as well the organisms that live there. They will take part in an ongoing scientific survey of intertidal organisms in local habitats as well as sea lions and local bird populations. In addition to biology, our study abroad also focuses on the effects of the ocean on local culture and business.

Depending on the timing of the best tides, the dates of the program may vary from year to year.

Sample Program Itinerary

Marine Biology Blog 2022
Marine Biology Blog 2023

    Puerto Peñasco Excursions

    • Bird-watching while kayaking through the Morua Estuary
    • Take part in a bird census of the endangered California least tern and their nesting colony near a local estuary
    • Lecture on whales at The Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO)
    • Boat trip to Isla de San Jorge (Bird Island) to view, snorkel or possibly scuba dive with a sea lion colony
    • Group excursions to explore the town of Puerto Peñasco during the evenings.

    Summer Course You Will Take During Program

    • 1 credit program - Registration for course will begin on March 4 for current MCC students and on March 18 for all other students.
    • BIO149SV 15367 Field Biology: Ecological and Environmental Field Experience (1 credit)
    • Field of Interest: STEM
      • Instructor: Whitney Heuring
    • Mandatory study abroad orientation on Saturday, April 13, 2024 from 9 am - 2 pm at MCC.

    Puerto Peñasco Program Details

    • PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: The daily excursions can include walking, hiking, and climbing on uneven surfaces such as sand, mud, and rock, both in and out of the water. The kayaking adventure requires a moderate level of upper arm and core body strength. Participants will be out in the sun every day.
    • Between tides, students will collect specimens from the rocky intertidal area and compare with specimens found in a sandy intertidal area.
    • Lodging will be at the Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO), a working marine lab and our base of operations. Students will experience an authentic experience of a field researcher at this rustic facility.  Participants will be assigned to one of two large dorm rooms where they will sleep within their own sleeping bags atop sleeping mats on the floor together with approximately 4-6 other students.
    • If you are a certified scuba diver, there will be time for diving. If you are NOT certified, and would like to explore the sport, a divemaster in the area will arrange this experience for an extra fee. Notify the Program Director, if you are interested.

    Did You Know??

    • Mexico has the largest population of Spanish speakers in the world.
    • To show that something is expensive, Mexicans often make a fist and extend the index finger and thumb to form a C-shaped gesture.
    • Mexicans drink more carbonated beverages than any other citizens in the world.
    • As many as one hundred indigenous languages are still spoken in parts of Mexico.
    • Currency used is the Mexican peso (symbol: $; code: MXN).
    • Read more detailed cultural information on Ireland provided by CultureGrams™
      Mexico (2023). CultureGrams Online Edition. ProQuest.
    • Diversity Abroad Mexico Destination Guide

    Estimated Program Costs & Deadlines

    Expense Type Estimated Cost Deadline

    Program Fee
    Includes round trip transportation by van, field trips, lodging in the dormitories of Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO), secondary medical insurance, and daily breakfast & lunch.

    How to Pay

    • Program Fee Due: March 22, 2024
    • $150 Confirmation Deposit (towards total program fee) Due: upon acceptance to program
    • Confirmation deposit is non-refundable after the program fee payment deadline.

    Registration Fee

    Tuition: 1 credit
    In-state: $97 per credit hour
    Out-of-state: $217 per credit hour ($232 incl registration fee)

    How to Pay

    $ 15

    $ 97

    Airfare (estimated cost)
    Transportation is by van - no airfare required.

    Meals (estimate)

    Daily breakfast & lunch included. Dinners are NOT included.

    $150 Not needed until you arrive in Mexico!
    TOTAL Estimated Costs $1,554 (program fee, tuition, transportation and most meals)
    There are no textbooks required.
    Insurance for Participants 60+ Years of Age $3.56 per day (minimum 10 days) The program fee includes secondary insurance for participants ages 18-59. There is an additional insurance charge of $3.56 per day for students 60 years and over.

    Passport Info Here

    Your passport must be valid at least 6 months beyond the date of your return to the USA.
    Passport cards are acceptable for the Puerto Peñasco program since there is no international air travel. Pricing is $65 for new applicants and $30 for renewals.



    Passport Card
    (land travel only)


    • Be sure to allow at least 14-18 weeks of processing time for first time applicants and renewals.
    • Visit the U.S. Department of State website for current fees and processing times.

    Program Application Deadline

    Space is limited.  Apply early to reserve your place!

    If program reaches full capacity, you will be put on a waitlist.

    • Application Deadline: March 1, 2024
    • Now accepting 2024 applications but at a waitlist capacity!
    • Complete online application.
    • Late applications will be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
    • Applications are reviewed & approved on a rolling basis.

    Scholarships and Funding Your Program

    Title Date(s) More Information

    International Education

    IE Study Abroad Scholarship

    • Does NOT require FAFSA but helps!
    • Award Range: $250-$900
    • If you are receiving financial aid from another MCCCD college, please share your FAFSA with MCC (school code 001077) two weeks prior to scholarship deadline.
    • Students applying for the International Education Scholarship will also be considered for the Maricopa Grant, if applicable.

    Maricopa Grant

    • England/Scotland and Puerto Peñasco programs excluded

    Deadline: Saturday, February 11, 2023

    Spring 2024 deadline TBA

    Get information on financial aid & grants, scholarships, and misc. resources for study abroad here.

    PRIOR to applying for a scholarship, student must:

    • Be accepted into your study abroad program. Apply early!
    • Pay the program deposit of $250 online, at Cashier Services, or by calling 480.461.7400.
    • IE Study Abroad Scholarship awards will be announced via email in late February.
    • Maricopa Grants announced in mid-April-May when Summer financial aid begins awarding.


    Scholarship Portal

    Keyword Search: Study Abroad Program at Mesa Community College

    This free online resource is a great place to go for money management info, tips, calculators, articles, worksheets, and quizzes that can assist you in achieving financial success now and in the future.
    Take advantage of this great resource for Mesa Community College students to help budget for your study abroad program!

    How To Register For Your Free CashCourse Account

    1. Go to

    2. Click on "Register for a Free Account" under the Students circle.

    3. Fill in all of the required information fields and click Register.

    Be sure to check out the Financial Tools. The Budget Wizard is an easy-to-use tool to start tracking where your money is going.

    Title Date(s) More Information

    Benjamin Gilman International Scholarship

    Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

    Students apply through the college they are receiving financial aid from.

    Gilman Scholarship Highlights

    Maximum Award: $5,000

    October Application Deadline
    1st Thursday of October (awards announced by December)

    March Application Deadline
    1st Thursday of March (awards announced by May)

    March 7, 2024
    11:59 PM PST

    Application NOW OPEN!


    Come learn how to write essays for the Gilman International Scholarship!

    Tuesday, February 6, 2024

    Review information presented at workshop!

    • Must be a Pell Grant recipient.  Students apply indicating the school they are receiving their Pell Grant funding from. If you are not a receiving Pell Grant funding through MCC, you must apply for the Gilman through the school that you are receiving financial aid from.
    • Applications are reviewed holistically, with consideration of the following selection criteria. View Gilman Presentation here!
    • Review Gilman Essays Writing Tips.
    • Review Gilman Brainstorming Worksheet to help articulate ideas to frame your essays.
    • Review writing resources for ideas on crafting your Statement of Purpose:
    • Bring your draft to the Writing Center and get feedback on how to polish your "diamond in the rough"!
    • For application instructions, review this walkthrough video.
    • Watch videos of Gilman scholars abroad, alumni interviews, and tips from advisors and application reviewers on YouTube.
    • Note for Gilman application: For Program Administrator, select Mesa Community College

    Gilman-McCain Scholarship

    Gilman-McCain OverView

    Maximum Award: $5,000

    October Application Deadline
    1st Thursday of October (awards announced by December)
    11:59 PM PST

    January Application Deadline

    Thursday, January 4, 2024
    11:59 pm PST

    Application cycle NOW OPEN!

    • Must be a child dependent of an active/activated US military personnel during time of application.
    • Must be a Title IV federal financial aid recipient.  Title IV funds include:
      • Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans
      • Direct PLUS Loans
      • Federal Pell Grants
      • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOGs)
      • Federal Perkins Loans
    • Use the same Gilman application system as other Gilman Scholarship applicants.  Applicants will simply confirm that they are child dependent of an active duty military member of the U.S. Armed Forces (Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Coast Guard, Coast Guard Reserve, Marine Corps, Marine Corps Reserve, Navy, Navy Reserve, Space Force, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and USPHS Commissioned Corps).
    • If a student is receiving a Federal Pell Grant and is also a child dependent of an active duty military member, then the student is eligible for both Gilman scholarships and will automatically be considered for both but eligible to receive only one. If they are selected for the Gilman-McCain Scholarship, then they will no longer be considered for the Gilman Scholarship.
    Title Date(s) More Information

    A New Leaf Assets to Opportunity (ATO)

    A match savings program designed to help individuals save their own money in a special savings account and have their money matched for tuition, textbooks, and some study abroad program expenses with an 8:1 match.

    Contact A New Leaf


    • Must have earned income
    • Be a resident of Arizona
    • Income must be at or below 200% of federal poverty line
    • Commit to saving $500 and saving for at least 3 months
    • Commit to making $30 deposits twice per month
    • Complete a financial wellness workshop and any other program requirements
    • Contact:
    Title Date(s) More Information
    MCC Honors Program
    Study Abroad Scholarship

    Deadline:  2024 TBA

    Maximum Award: $250-$500

    If you are a current MCC Honors Program student in good standing, you can apply for up to a $500 study abroad scholarship!

    For more information, call 480.461.7143.

    Honors Program Study Abroad Scholarship Application

    Information Sessions & Mandatory Orientation

    Title Date(s) and Time More Information


    General Information Sessions

    Playback of webinar on Nov. 18, 2022 during International Education Week

    Recording Password: 5mE6StzU

    For any questions, please contact or the individual faculty program directors listed at:

    Financial Aid Contact Information

    Financial Aid FAQS

    At Southern & Dobson, contact Adela Bob at 480.461.7436 or at

    At Red Mountain, contact Tori Stanton in Financial Aid at 480.654.7760 or at

    Mandatory Orientation

    Sat., April 13, 2024

    9 am - 2 pm

    Room LB145 in the Elsner Library at the Southern & Dobson campus.

    You must attend the mandatory study abroad orientation!
    There may be additional required meetings for your specific program. Contact the Program Director for details.