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.

This is independent travel study so you pick the dates; classes typically begin on Mondays. You'll study for 3 or 4 hours per day either morning or afternoon and can register for 1 to 4 weeks and receive 60 Clock Hours/PDUs or 6 quarter credits (equivalent of 4 semester credits) per week.

PLEASE NOTE: The Heritage Institute courses receive Continuing Education Quarter Credits awarded by Antioch University Seattle at the 400 and 500 levels. Call 800.445.1305 or log onto The Heritage Institute’s website policies page for more information.


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.

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.

A (phony) marriage, an extra meal, and exploring ruins

Teachers and students at the school visited a nearby village today, San Antonio Aguas Calientes. Five families have formed a cooperative to keep their Maya culture alive. One of the woman talked about the traditional clothing, explaining designs on the huipiles (women's blouses) and how the various wraps are used. They dressed 2 of us as a couple at their wedding and 2 more as the groom's parents and taught us about who gives and receives which gifts, the dances, the customs surrounding work and children (PHOTO 1: celebrating the new baby). The skirt I'm wearing in the photo is 5 yards of the most beautiful fabric I've ever seen; I purchased it to make a bedspread. The families also prepared a traditional meal for us including pepian (a spicy soup) with chicken, tortillas, and local coffee (PHOTO 2).

This afternoon some of us headed up the Pacaya Volcano, others to a tour of a local jade factory, and a few of us to several of the local ruins. PHOTO 3 is the facade of the cathedral on the central square. We toured the ruins behind, including underground crypts. This is my 4th visit to Antigua and on each previous trip I've purchased a necklace made of seeds. They're a little hard to find but behind the cathedral we met a wonderful woman who was making and selling just what I wanted (PHOTO 4). We also explored the fascinating ruins of Las Capuchinas, a convent including a circular tower edged with the cells of the nuns (PHOTO 5). I'll try to post photos of the other activities another day). HAPPY TRAILS!