What's the very best way to learn a language? We believe it's immersion — combined with one-on-one daily language lessons from experienced instructors. That's exactly the combination you'll experience in Guatemala. As you serve a small Mayan community, you will develop Spanish proficiency that will enable you to dive deep into the culture and lifestyle. Here in the second of the three countries we'll be staying in, we'll also step back to examine ourselves and determine the internal resources we need to build in order to become independent thinkers and confident, effective communicators.
Already a Spanish speaker? You'll be taking part in discussions and workshops on the current events in Guatemala, as well as developing a deeper understanding of the 36-year civil war that just ended in 2000 and the impact that has had on the country.
"They're not there as tourists, they do amazing work – they do a lot for the communities there, they do all these wonderful things — but in a way, it's almost the kids that were volunteering that got the most."
— Rudy Dabdoub, parent
Antigua is the most popular tourist city in Guatemala, and with good reason! Charmingly old-world and full of life, we'll be based in this delightful area. You'll stay with our carefully chosen host families just 10 minutes outside of town. Our time in Guatemala is all about connecting through communication, and our host families are wonderful people with whom to practice your new Spanish language skills. They are also terrific cooks who have hosted our volunteers for years. Here you'll have your own room with your own host family, living separately from the other members of your cohort. All host families are in the same small community, so walking to visit other members of the cohort will be very quick and easy.
- Experienced, hospitable host families
- Private room
- 3 meals a day
- Internet access
- Laundry service
In Guatemala, you might roll up your sleeves to help improve local schools, preschool huts, and small libraries, or tutor children and teens in basic subjects like English, math, geography, art, or music. You might work to empower local citizens with renewable energy, converting village homes to solar power, or aid in reforestation efforts by planting trees. Or maybe you'll contribute to clean water efforts, conduct needs assessments through home visits and surveys. There will be a variety of projects on which to work.
- Water catchment
- School beautification
- Infrastructure improvement
- Coordinate games & activities for kids
In Guatemala, we'll explore ancient Mayan traditions and modern culture, experience a simulated wedding ceremony, and understand how the indigenous communities of Guatemala are maintaining their culture despite pressure to conform and modernize. Join community members in a friendly soccer match, learn to make handmade tortillas, and practice your Latin dancing skills (we'll have you up and dancing in no time!).
"There's always a buddy system, so I was never alone on the streets of Antigua – we were all looking out for each other."
— Danny, student volunteer
Cultural Immersion Activities
- Soccer matches
- Cooking lessons
- Music and dance
- Mayan traditions
- History & politics
Tikal, the ancient Mayan Capital with its massive stone temples and fascinating history, awaits. Ever hiked a volcano? Well, get ready... Volcán de Pacaya will delight you with its lava flow and steam crevices! Other excursions include trips to Lake Atitlán, Todos Santos, Rio Dulce, and Lanquin/Semuc Champey.
- Lago Atitlan
- Semuc Champey
- Monterrico Beach
- Volcano Pacaya Hike