Guatemala & Nicaragua: Language & Activism Gap Year Semester

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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 cultures and ecological diversity is an explosion of rapid biological and cultural change. Today the countries of Central America continue their historic legacy of adaptation, responding to environmental and social challenges with innovative communal strategies. The Central America Semester takes a hands-in-the-dirt approach to understanding indigenous culture and collective life in Guatemala and Nicaragua through extended rural home-stays, one-on-one language study, work on communal farms, and a participatory examination of land-use and grass roots activism.

We offer comprehensive, personal home visits so that we can answer your questions in person. One of our expert staff members will present on our program options and share stories from their own formative Where There Be Dragons program. To request a home visit in less than 2 minutes, fill out this form.

  • Modernization and globalization, impact of education and tourism on indigenous culture, exploration of minority empowerment issues, sustainable agriculture, social justice issues.
  • 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 and Nicaragua ranging from 1-4 weeks in length.
  • Volunteering at the Chico Mendes reforestation project, work with sustainable agriculture, collaboration with local NGOs and community based projects.
  • The syncretism of Catholicism and Maya spirituality, Maya cosmovision, cycles of time, Latin American Protestantism, community based movements.

Questions & Answers


based on 2 reviews
  • Housing 4.5
  • Support 9
  • Fun 8
  • Value 10
  • Safety 9
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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.

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Yes, I recommend this program
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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.

Yes, I recommend this program

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...