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.

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.

Thursday - to Santiago and back

Some of us headed by boat on July 30th to Santiago Atitlan, another village on the lake. We visited Maximon, the patron saint of prostitutes, alcohol, and tobacco (PHOTO 1). There are at least 2 cofradias (church groups) in Santiago and the shrines are moved to new houses each year; guides took the morning visitors to a different shrine than the one Perry visited outside of town in the afternoon.

A highlight of my visit to Santiago 2 years ago was an incredibly hard working bucket brigade doing a cement pour on the roof of a building. They were working away again this year (PHOTO 2). I was also able to hire the same guide as last year, Salvador (PHOTO 3); as we each had our picture taken with him the cement workers hollered and whistled - hilarious. We also thought the sign in PHOTO 4 was hilarious: “Urination is prohibited in this place, 100 Q ($12) fine”; La Muni is the municipal government.

PHOTO 5 is Mary Ann, Judy, and me with a tiny Maya woman and her son who sold us beaded jewelry and key chains; her huipil (blouse) is typical of Santiago - woven vertical stripes and richly embroidered with birds. In the background you can see edges of a carnival - you would not believe how rickety the ferris wheels looked or how fast the went. The church, also in the background, has a beautiful wooden alter and a memorial to Father Stanley Roth, an American priest who was devoted to his indigenas parishioners and who was assassinated by the government in 1981.

At 6pm we had a guest speaker at the school who talked about the Maya calendar and view of the world, then a few group folks met for dinner and 4 of us passed a very pleasant hour or 2 in a hot tub. HAPPY TRAILS!