The Mexico International Study Opportunity for Learning (MISOL) program provides a study abroad opportunity for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries to attend an education program at the UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico) in Mexico City. Participants will engage in programming around culture, history, identity, and language. Furthermore, participants will have an opportunity to reconnect with their families and conduct ethnographic research on their family migration. DACA beneficiaries arrived in the U.S as children, have been in the U.S for at least 15 years, and many have not returned to their home country since their arrival. MISOL is not simply a study-abroad program but rather a life-changing opportunity.
This program is open to DACA beneficiaries living in Dane County who are 18 years of age or older. Participants do not need to be enrolled UW-Madison students.
MISOL participants will petition for Advance Parole, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) re-entry permit that allows DACA recipients to travel internationally and return to the US.
For the Summer 2023 cohort, individuals will need their Employment Authorization Document (EAD), State ID, I-797 Notice of Action, Social Security Number (SSN), Passport from country of origin and COVID-19 vaccinations. Individuals who do not have a valid passport, will need to schedule an appointment with their consulate by February 24th.
MISOL is housed in the Center for DREAMers & The UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies, in partnership with UNAM.
The MISOL Summer 2023 Application is due by Sunday, February 19th at 11:59 pm.
2023 Summer Program
The program will run from August 1st to September 2nd, 2023.
15 participants will engage in a month-long educational program in UNAM-Mexico City and an independent ethnographic research study.
- Dane County resident
- Active DACA holder (exp. date after Oct. 15, 2023*)
- Obtain valid passport from country of origin
- Qualifies for Advance Parole
- Engage in all program activities
- $2,000 UNAM program fee:
- $500 deposit required upon acceptance
- $1,500 will be due later
- $575 Advance Parole filing fee
- Independent study expenses**
*Participants must renew their DACA permits prior to leaving the country
**Participants are responsible for flights, travel insurance, and expenses during independent study period.
***Interested Participants must obtain a passport as soon as possible
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What is Advance Parole?
DACA recipients may apply for consideration of “Advance Parole,” where USCIS may allow an immigrant to travel outside the United States and return lawfully. This gives DACA recipients the opportunity to travel abroad and return. However, due to the discretionary nature of Advance Parole, it’s important to note that there is no guarantee that recipients will be allowed to return to the U.S. once abroad, and each applicant will have to assess the risks and benefits given their individual circumstances.
Who Qualifies for Advance Parole
DACA recipients may seek Advance Parole for humanitarian, educational, or employment purposes. These may include study or work abroad and urgent family matters such as visiting a gravely ill family member. Immigrants with other status are not restricted to these and may be eligible for Advance Parole for other purposes. Individuals with a pending DACA application or expired DACA status cannot apply for Advance Parole.
Please seek legal assistance from an attorney or accredited representative before proceeding with any requests for relief. There may be further information in your case that could affect your eligibility beyond these general guidelines.
There is currently a $575 filing fee for Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, and there may be additional costs for legal assistance when filing.
Do I have to apply to the program as a UW-Madison student?
To apply to the program you will submit an application to the MISOL program through the Center for DREAMers. If your application is approved you will be able to register for the program via UW-Madison Continuing Studies as a non-credit program student. You do not have to become an official UW-Madison student.
Do I have to be a UW-Madison student to apply?
No, you do not need to be a UW-Madison student to apply. This program is open to community members living in Dane County.
Do I have to be a Mexican national to participate?
No, participants do not have to be Mexican nationals to participate. Acceptance to the program will be based on a case-by-case scenario depending on the travel restrictions of the non-Mexico destination.
If I am not a Mexican national, will I need a visa to enter Mexico?
Mexico requires visas for certain foreign nationalities:
If I get accepted to MISOL do I have to get my own attorney?
As part of the MISOL program, we will be working with local attorneys who will provide free legal support with the I-131 Advance Parole applications.
What is UNAM?
The National Autonomous University of Mexico is a public research university in Mexico. It ranks highly in world rankings based on the university’s extensive research and innovation. It is the largest university in Latin America and has one of the biggest campuses in the world.
Will I become an UNAM Student if I'm accepted into the program?
Yes, all of MISOL program participants will be UNAM students. Participants will receive an UNAM student ID as part of the program.
How many people will be accepted into the program?
MISOL will accept 15 people into the Summer 2023 program.
Is there an age requirement to attend the program?
Yes, participants must be 18 years of age or older.
Can I attend if I have children?
Yes, participants can be accepted to the program if they have children. However, childcare must not impede participation in the program’s activities. Participants must find childcare arrangements. Participants will be able to be with their children during the independent ethnography research study portion of the program.
Is the payment in U.S dollars?
Yes, all payments to the program will be in U.S. dollars.
Are accommodations included?
Accommodations are included during the educational portion of the program at the UNAM. Accommodations are not included during the independent study.
MISOL Winter 2022
The MISOL (Mexico International Study Opportunity for Learning) program trip was truly larger than life. The combination of the work from the Steering Committee, the knowledge of the UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) staff, and the unity of the cohort turned out to be an ideal recipe for an amazing program for dacamented folks that had never been created in Wisconsin. After many years without being able to return to their country, this trip meant coming home in many ways for the participants; coming home to learn about their past, their relatives, their culture, their history; but most importantly to learn about themselves.
As we know, being DACAmented often means not having access to higher education, being at the UNAM allowed the students to take classes and workshops with faculty with an incredible amount of expertise and passion. The MISOL cohort gained so much knowledge about Mexico through their full schedule, for the first two weeks, they took part in their own ethnographic research. Once they gathered with the UNAM, for the rest of the month, they perfected their Spanish, learned about the local history, the history of Mexico, and immersed themselves in engaging workshops around important Mexican traditions and celebrations such as a tamaliza con rosca de relles and learned about the environment through edible and medicinal plants. To make their enrollment official, the students received their UNAM student ID and the steering committee received their visiting professor IDs.
The cohort also connected with many emblematic places such as Taxco, Xochicalco, Tepoztlán, Las piramides de Teotihuacán, La Casa Azul de Frida Kahlo, El Zocalo, El Museo de Antropologia, La Secretaría de Educación Pública, La Basilica de Guadalupe, Ciudad Universitaria de la UNAM, Chapultepec, and Xochimilco.
We couldn’t be happier with how this program turned out. The MISOL cohort was an outstanding group. All 18 participants were truly invested in the program, from the historical and cultural aspects as well as the group coherence. The outcome of the entire program was outstanding in programming and the joy that was shared.
A huge thank you to the wonderful MISOL Steering Committee for their work and incredible dedication as well as all of the volunteer attorneys, the staff from UW Continuing Studies and the UNAM, and the MISOL participants who trusted us with this vision and put so much effort into being part of something great.