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.

Tuesday

This week in San Pedro it’s the kids’ Olympiad - no school and lots of soccer and basketball. This morning the 8-year-old girl in my family had a basketball game. PHOTO 1 is Micaela getting Jullisa ready for the big game in the open area of the house. PHOTO 2 shows the game (Jullisa is #10). In the background are the Municipal building, Somos Hijos Del Lago (Our Children of the Lake - the program for kids with disabilities where I volunteer), and the top of the white cathedral on the upper left. In addition to cheering in Spanish I enjoyed the enthusiastic coaches in traditional attire and the women crowding around the meat shop on the corner of the square for the opportunity to buy the freshest chicken (PHOTO 3: the women on the left watching the game over their shoulders are Andrea who is the wife of Lorenzo, our Spanish school’s director, Micaela’s sister Maria who is the mom in Judy and Mary Ann’s family [and Sylvia’s in 2007!] and Micaela. There’s no refrigerator in our home and daily trips to the market are important for social reasons as well as sustenance. No washing machine and limited water at home mean washing clothes in the lake, another social time that included Jullisa and her friends.

While the population in Antigua is largely Catholic, in San Pedro it’s split between Catholic and Evangelist (PHOTO 4: “Only Jesus can change your life”).

Our days are full of new experiences, like the dog that strolled into the restaurant this evening and raised a leg on Sam, eating fish served with eyes, teeth, and fins intact, and the tuktuk (golf cart taxi) ride that Michon and I shared with the sweet old lady in PHOTO 5; the cost of the photo was her fare.

There are also threads that tie all families and all countries together, like the silly antics of the 3-year-old in Lorenzo’s family (Rosie and Sam’s hosts), Jullisa’s missing teeth and avoidance of vegetables, and coaches and families cheering on their teams. HAPPY TRAILS!