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.
- 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.