About the Program

Many participants travel to Guatemala to study Spanish at the Academia Antigüeña in Antigua, Guatemala and/or the Cooperativa School in San Pedro La Laguna on the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlán. You'll live with host families and enjoy a wide range of cultural activities including traditional cooking classes, salsa dance lessons, volcano hikes, and village visits. Trip extensions and excursions to other parts of Guatemala and neighboring countries will be possible as will additional weeks of study and volunteerism and alternate schools and locations.

Occasional guided trips with specific dates will be organized but generally this is independent travel study so you pick the dates; classes typically begin on Mondays. You'll study 1-on-1 for 3 or 4 hours per day either morning or afternoon and can register to receive 6 quarter hours at the 400 or 500 level per week for up to 4 weeks per country. Credits are issued by Heritage Institute and Antioch University Seattle; minimal additional assignments are required for credit, PDU and clock hour options are also available.

For information about similar programs in other Latin American countries as well as credit for volunteer and cultural learning projects, click here or on the bottom link, below. Contact information is available on the Registration Form.
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To view the blog from our 2009 group trip to Guatemala, scroll to the Blog Archive (lower right) and click the 1st post you want to see (they're listed bottom to top chronologically, you may need to click the arrow by July to see the earliest ones). Click "Newer Post" at the bottom of each post to view the next one.

Last day in San Pedro La Laguna

Trust me that I’ve taken far more food pictures than I’ve posted; I couldn’t resist posting this morning’s breakfast (PHOTO 1). PHOTO 2 is my wonderful host family.

The next 3 photos are street scenes. Most of the streets in town are narrow, many too narrow for cars or even tuctucs to drive on. PHOTO 3 shows one of the wider streets but no room to spare; the top of the truck’s windshield says, “We have confidence in God”. As I walked up the street today I saw groups of young people passing an old man who was walking the other way; as each passed him they kissed his hand - very sweet (PHOTO 4). The produce market days in San Pedro are Tuesday and Friday (PHOTO 5).

PHOTOS 6 and 7 show a view of the Cooperativa Spanish school garden (the palapas are the study areas) and the teachers at the school. Each teacher in the school has selected 2 local families who are in grave need of support. Every other Friday students at the Cooperativa school travel to meet the families and take clothing, school supplies, and food; the school buys supplies with tuition money and many of us contributed additional items or money. PHOTO 8 shows a wonderful family that Rosie, Sam, and I visited this afternoon that included 2 of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen. The school is also collecting money to build a new home for a local family.

Tonight was the final event of the school Olympiad featuring rhythmic gymnastic routines and lots of trophies for the champion basketball and soccer teams in each age group (PHOTO 9: the littlest ones with more enthusiasm than rhythm).

The San Pedro photos in this blog represent just a fraction of the things that happened this week. Various members of the group went kayaking and/or swimming in the lake, ate out and took families out to eat, enjoyed extra salsa lessons and/or walks in the country, shopped and bought bread and pastries from the ladies combing the streets and restaurants for customers, and found various causes deserving of time and donations. The weeks have flown by and our study time is behind us - in less than 4 days we’ll be going our separate ways. HAPPY TRAILS!