Guatemala & Nicaragua Semester

Spanish Language and Grassroots Activism

A 3-Month Gap Year Program

Enroll
Duration
83 Days
Description

Build Spanish language fluency, examine models of political activism, and connect with local communities and the land.

Spring Dates

Feb 7 - May 1, 2018


Spring Availability

open

Fall Dates

Sep 15 - Dec 6, 2017


Fall Availability

one space

Number of Participants

12


Suggested Ages

17-22

Spring Begins In

37 Weeks

Fall Begins In

16 Weeks

Land Cost

$13,880


Estimated Flight Cost

$995

Program Overview

Central America: a narrow strip of steaming jungles and fiery volcanoes, unites two massive continents and splits the world's largest oceans.


Rising out of the sea at a confluence of five tectonic plates, this causeway of cultures and ecological diversity is an explosion of rapid biological and cultural change. Today the countries of Central America continue their historic legacy of adaptation, responding to environmental and social challenges with innovative communal strategies. The Central America Semester takes a hands-in-the-dirt approach to understanding indigenous culture and collective life in Guatemala and Nicaragua through extended rural home-stays, one-on-one language study, work on communal farms, and a participatory examination of land-use and grass roots activism.
In the western highlands of Guatemala, over eighty percent of the population is indigenous Maya who maintain a legacy of rich cultural survival and community strength in the face of diverse external pressures. Living with indigenous families, working the fields, and learning Spanish, we begin our semester with an experiential understanding of Mesoamerican…

Rising out of the sea at a confluence of five tectonic plates, this causeway of cultures and ecological diversity is an explosion of rapid biological and cultural change. Today the countries of Central America continue their historic legacy of adaptation, responding to environmental and social challenges with innovative communal strategies. The Central America Semester takes a hands-in-the-dirt approach to understanding indigenous culture and collective life in Guatemala and Nicaragua through extended rural home-stays, one-on-one language study, work on communal farms, and a participatory examination of land-use and grass roots activism.
In the western highlands of Guatemala, over eighty percent of the population is indigenous Maya who maintain a legacy of rich cultural survival and community strength in the face of diverse external pressures. Living with indigenous families, working the fields, and learning Spanish, we begin our semester with an experiential understanding of Mesoamerican culture and the legacy of conquest and resistance that has played out here for five hundred years. Herbal healers, weavers, and community leaders share their arts and experience while conversations with local NGOs working in human rights, community health, and development provide opportunities to get involved in contemporary struggles for continuity and change in Guatemalan society.
Our final destination is Nicaragua, where communities have long relied on local solutions to social and environmental challenges. In the face of political strife, devastating war, and rapid globalization, these communities have joined together to come up with creative and revolutionary responses in the form of radical people’s movements, progressive organizations, and innovative appropriate technologies. While living in homes with local farmers and continuing with their one-on-one Spanish instruction, students learn about the revolution, participate in local agricultural co-ops, intern with NGOs, partake in the annual coffee harvest and meet some of the friendliest folk in this part of the world.
Through a rugged and authentic exploration of some of the most remote regions of Central America, the “Roots of Rebellion” semester seeks to unearth the complex myriad of issues facing indigenous and peasant communities working towards development and conservation today. With Spanish lessons, rural home-stays on organic farms and service learning at the forefront, this semester program provides an experiential and fresh perspective on relationships with land and community organization.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

3/5
Comparative Religion

The syncretism of Catholicism and Maya spirituality, Maya cosmovision, cycles of time, Latin American Protestantism, community based movements.

5/5
Development Studies

Modernization and globalization, impact of education and tourism on indigenous culture, exploration of minority empowerment issues, sustainable agriculture, social justice issues.

5/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Land use, grass roots organizing, sustainable agriculture, globalization, indigenous rights, social justice movements.

4/5
Home Stay

Home-stays in several communities in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua ranging from 1-4 weeks in length.

3/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

ISPs facilitated throughout. Multiple opportunities for study with local organizations and mentors.

4/5
Language Study

4-6 weeks of one-on-one or small group interactive instruction, four to five hours a day, language immersion in home-stays.

2/5
Learning Service

Volunteering at the Chico Mendes reforestation project, work with sustainable agriculture, collaboration with local NGOs and community based projects.

3/5
Rugged Travel

"Chicken bus", truck, and boat travel. Hikes to remote villages.

2/5
Trekking

Multi-day treks with remote community stays in Guatemala and Nicaragua.

About Components
Other Programs in Nicaragua or Guatemala
Explore!