Guatemala

Spanish Language Intensive (4-Week)

A 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

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Duration
30 Days
Description

Investigate issues of social justice amidst Guatemala’s diverse landscapes and communities while improving your Spanish language skills through personalized instruction.

Dates

Jun 28 - Jul 28, 2018


Suggested Ages

15-17

Number of Participants

12


Availability

five spaces

Begins In

28 Weeks

Land Cost

$6,980


Estimated Flight Cost

$920

Tikal

Coban

Todos Santos

Santiago Atitlan

Program Overview

At dawn a howler monkey cries from the branch of a giant ceiba tree.


In the Cuchumatanes Mountains, a young woman rises to grind corn on a stone petate. Along Avenida Reforma, street-children juggle oranges for change as businessmen tuck into air-conditioned office buildings. Students explore this complicated country of contrasts where steamy jungles rise to meet towering volcanic peaks and traditional forms of dress walk alongside Armani suites.

Our course begins in Antigua, where we explore colorful markets, hike through coffee plantations and begin our first Spanish lessons. We ride the infamous Chicken Bus—a colorful and chromed-out version of a 1990s Blue Byrd school bus—to the sparkling shores of sacred Lake Atitlan, and settle in for a week of homestays at our program base in the town of San Juan la Laguna.  In the mornings, we participate in intensive language instruction at a local school, and in the afternoons we immerse ourselves in Tz’utujil culture through independent projects and time with gracious host families.

Crossing the lake…

In the Cuchumatanes Mountains, a young woman rises to grind corn on a stone petate. Along Avenida Reforma, street-children juggle oranges for change as businessmen tuck into air-conditioned office buildings. Students explore this complicated country of contrasts where steamy jungles rise to meet towering volcanic peaks and traditional forms of dress walk alongside Armani suites.

Our course begins in Antigua, where we explore colorful markets, hike through coffee plantations and begin our first Spanish lessons. We ride the infamous Chicken Bus—a colorful and chromed-out version of a 1990s Blue Byrd school bus—to the sparkling shores of sacred Lake Atitlan, and settle in for a week of homestays at our program base in the town of San Juan la Laguna.  In the mornings, we participate in intensive language instruction at a local school, and in the afternoons we immerse ourselves in Tz’utujil culture through independent projects and time with gracious host families.

Crossing the lake to the town of San Lucas Toliman, we engage in a service project at the Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute, learning about traditional agriculture and the ethics of service engagement in an intercultural context.

From Lake Atitlán, we wind our way into the protective folds of the Cuchumatanes Mountains where local communities share their accounts of Guatemala’s thirty-six year civil war. Their stories help us understand the root causes of Guatemala’s colored human rights record, sharp economic inequalities and underrepresented indigenous populations.

Our final leg takes us into the Peten rainforest, where we encounter howler monkeys and scarlet macaws in the ancient city of Tikal. We rest in hammocks, converse with our new Spanish vocabulary, and reflect on all we’ve learned about indigenous rights and Guatemala’s grassroots revolutionaries.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

4/5
Comparative Religion

The syncretism of Catholicism and Maya spirituality, Maya cosmovision, and cycles of time.

3/5
Development Studies

Modernization and globalization, impact of education and tourism on indigenous culture, free trade, exploration of minority empowerment issues.

3/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Cultural survival and change in a globalized society.

4/5
Home Stay

Home-stays in 2 to 3 different communities, including 2 weeks during language school.

2/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

ISPs facilitated throughout. Options include traditional weaving and textiles, Maya spirituality, medicinal plants, sustainable agriculture, painting and the arts, and exploration of socio-political issues.

5/5
Language Study

2 weeks of one-on-one interactive instruction, four to five hours a day; language immersion throughout.

3/5
Learning Service

Volunteering in schools, clinics, and farms. Tree planting with the Chico Mendes project. Approximately 20 hours of service credit earned.

3/5
Rugged Travel

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

2/5
Trekking

4-day trek through Cuchumatanes Mountains. Day treks through Biotopo del Quetzal cloud forest. Volcano ascents.

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