Guatemala: Spanish Language & Grassroots Activism Gap Year Semester

Video and Photos

Trek
Trek
Trekking
Trekking
James, the warriors are garbage
James, the warriors are garbage
Guatemala & Nicaragua Semester: Spanish Language and Grassroots Activism
Guatemala & Nicaragua Semester: Spanish Language and Grassroots Activism
Guatemala & Nicaragua Semester: Spanish Language and Grassroots Activism
Guatemala & Nicaragua Semester: Spanish Language and Grassroots Activism
Guatemala & Nicaragua Semester: Spanish Language and Grassroots Activism
Guatemala & Nicaragua Semester: Spanish Language and Grassroots Activism
Guatemala & Nicaragua Semester: Spanish Language and Grassroots Activism
Guatemala & Nicaragua Semester: Spanish Language and Grassroots Activism
Guatemala & Nicaragua Semester: Spanish Language and Grassroots Activism
Guatemala & Nicaragua Semester: Spanish Language and Grassroots Activism

About

Central America: A narrow strip of steaming jungles and fiery volcanoes unites two massive continents and splits the world's largest oceans. Rising out of the sea at a confluence of five tectonic plates, this causeway of Mesoamerican cultures and ecological diversity is a focal point of biological and cultural change. Today the communities sharing in this Mesoamerican heritage continue their legacy of adaptation, responding to rapid environmental and social challenges with innovative communal strategies. The Guatemala Semester takes a hands-in-the-dirt approach to understanding indigenous culture and collective life in Guatemala and Mesoamerica through extended rural homestays, one-on-one language study, work on communal farms, and a participatory examination of land-use and grassroots activism.

Highlights
  • Learn about modernization and globalization, impact of education and tourism on indigenous culture, exploration of minority empowerment issues, sustainable agriculture, social justice issues.
  • Spanish language immersion: 4-6 weeks of one-on-one or small group interactive instruction, four to five hours a day, language immersion in home-stays.
  • Home-stays in several communities in Guatemala ranging from 1-4 weeks in length.
  • Discuss grass roots organizing, sustainable agriculture, globalization, indigenous rights, social justice movements. Volunteer at the Chico Mendes reforestation project, collaborate with local NGOs and community based projects.
  • Multiple opportunities for study with local organizations and mentors. Options include traditional weaving and textiles, Maya spirituality, medicinal plants, sustainable agriculture, painting and the arts, and exploration of socio-political issues.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

93%
based on 3 reviews
  • Housing 6.3
  • Support 9
  • Fun 8.3
  • Value 10
  • Safety 9
Showing 1 - 3 of 3
Courtney
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Ditto Natalie....life changing

My experience with Dragons played an integral role in defining my values and determining the person I am today. The Dragons community is also one of the best I've ever been a part of. There were of course ups and down, but what I was exposed to and learned about myself and the world have changed the way I see everything since. Being part of a small traveling community of ten students and three instructors was also perhaps the most beautiful thing I've ever been a part of. Not only did the programming push and challenge me, but so did my peers. Every semester is a bit different, so I can't speak to specifics, but certain conversations with locals I'm sure to remember for a long while. Our theme was "Resistir es Bella," To Resist is Beautiful. The program did a great job balancing fun + goofiness with intense conversations about the reality of injustice in our world. The program turned my worldview upside down and inside out, and I am absolutely better because of it, as well as more at peace with my place in it, and more sure of who I want to be.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Keep an open mind, and prepare to think deeply. While it may seem counterintuitive, it's not about you. Your learning and growth will happen as you put your own comfort and beliefs aside and let the experience unfold. It's three whole months--not every moment will feel formative. That's okay.
Default avatar
Natalie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing

I went to Nicaragua and Guatemala in the fall of 2017. Before going on the trip I had never taken Spanish and I was really scared that my lack of language skills was going to ruin my trip. My instructors and fellow students gave me the support I needed to get through my first couple of homestays while I was still struggling. Through the teachings of the really quality Spanish schools we went to I actually learned Spanish! I was able to learn a good portion of a language in 3 months along with all that I learned about myself and about the communities we stayed with. There is no way to learn more about a language or a culture than to live there. Dragons will give you the opportunity of a lifetime.

What would you improve about this program?
I have already given them feedback.
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Evan
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Semester Abroad

My time abroad was an insane experience and I learned a lot. The trip certainly had its ups and downs, but the overall experience was worth it. Nicaragua and Guatemala are two of the most beautiful places I have been in my life. The treks on this trip were amazing. Home stays are a large part of your time here. Before you go on the trip I would ask as many questions as possible to better prepare yourself (get in contact with alumni) for the 3 months you'll be away from home. Brian, Chelsea, Irene, and Juancho are all incredible people and will help make the trip great, so will the other kids you're with.

Location

Location:
Guatemala
Currency:
Guatemalan Quetzal
Weather:
Jan-Mar
90 F / 36 F
Apr-Jun
91 F / 43 F
Jul-Sep
91 F / 46 F
Oct-Dec
88 F / 37 F
Airports:
La Aurora International Airport
( GUA )
Mundo Maya International
( FRS )

If you want to spend a trip chasing waterfalls, meandering through lush jungles, and seeing world heritage sites; Guatemala should be high on your list. Guatemala can be easy to overlook when there are more travelled destinations in the area, but don't be fooled, this country is filled with incredible landscapes and culture, all at a great price.

About Where There Be Dragons

Dragons programs are authentic, rugged and profound learning adventures that expose the beautiful and complex realities of the countries in which we travel. Featuring extended itineraries, Dragons programs encourage deep immersion into strikingly...