Volunteer in Guatemala: Children of the Maya™
95% Rating
(17 Reviews)

Volunteer in Guatemala: Children of the Maya™

Guatemala promises colorful adventure - and the opportunity to make an important mark on education. Spend your days in Xela becoming fully plugged into the local primary school and surrounding community, volunteering as an English teacher to the Maya children or helping construct a library, classrooms and other school facilities.

Program Highlights:
- Teach English at a Maya school
- Explore ancient archaeological ruins
- Zipline through the mountains of Guatemala

Locations
North America » Guatemala
Program Categories
Length
1-2 Weeks
Timeframe
Summer
Language
English
Starting Price
$2,000.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Includes: All meals and purified water, Lodging in GLA Home-Base, All excursions and activities, 24-hour emergency hotline, Airport Transportation, Local Transportation, Pre-departure Orientation, Travel, medical and evacuation insurance, Phone call home upon arrival.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Growth
    92%
  • Support
    96%
  • Fun
    89%
  • Housing
    89%
  • Safety
    96%

Program Reviews (17)

Aine
Female

Growth In Guatemala

10/10

My past summer service trip was an extraordinary adventure that I looked forward to for months on end before summer of 2017 came. Throughout the school year my mother would use the trip as a common incentive for me to keep up to date on my school work while motivating me to be the best that I can be because I knew that I had such a big reward coming my way. When the day came to get on the plane, I was nervous about not really knowing anyone and being so far from my family for so long. I was comforted by the Gla facebook pages that allowed me to at least know some names and faces prior to the trip. If it wasn't for the amazing staff and opportunity that the company gave me, I would not be the same person that I am today. My trip was filled with amazing food, one-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and experiences and friendships that will go on to last me a lifetime.

How can this program be improved?

As long as the students on the trip stay friendly and focused, nothing could have been better.

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Lexie
Female
18 years old
Charlotte

Everyone Should Travel!!

10/10

This program is absolutely incredible. From the moment I arrived, I was greeted by our jumping for joy director and one of our mentors eager to welcome us to this new country. Every day we experienced something new, from hiking up a volcano to a shaman ceremony, to having a traditional mayan wedding ceremony performed on two of us (don' t worry they didn't actually end up married), there was not an end to how much we learned about the culture and people of Guatemala. In addition to lots of cultural experiences, we did our service project in the mornings at a local school in Xela, the town we were staying in. We had the choice of either helping in the construction of a new classroom, helping to paint a mural on water and water safety, or teaching the fifth grade students english. We also had an opportunity to spend an hour with the children during the recess time and they were all absolutely amazing and welcoming to all of us, including myself who does not speak any spanish. This trip helped me realize my place in the world and to gain a new, well evolved global perspective. I would recommend this to anyone who has even the slightest interest in traveling or children!!!

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Martha
Female
18 years old
Winston-Salem, NC

Guatemala: Children of the Maya

10/10

I spent the best two weeks of my life in Xela, Guatemala with Global Leadership Adventures. I was able to leave my footprint on Guatemala. We spent our time at a school in three groups. The groups were education, construction, and mural. I was privileged enough to get to work in the education and construction groups. While teaching, I was able to build relationships with the students, whom were about 10 or 11. Not only did they benefit from learning the english I was able to bring to them, I benefitted from having my eyes opened by their life stories.

One story in particular has stuck with me. A little girl of 10 years named Yullisa has a dream to become a english teacher one day. Her family spends all of their spare money to send her to Saturday school for english classes, in order to reach her dream. Her regular school does not have the money to hire english speaking teachers. Her desire to receive an education has inspired me in many ways to become a teacher.

I never would have met Yullisa if it was not for GLA. My world was opened up to cultures and backgrounds that I had never experienced before. I would suggest doing all you can to get to go on a Global Leadership Adventures trip; it changed my life.

How can this program be improved?

This program is amazing and there is nothing I can think of that could make it better.

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Brooke
Female
17 years old
san antonio

Global Leadership Adventures- Guatemala trip

10/10

My experience this summer, with GLA in Guatemala, was above and beyond any expectations I could've had prior to my trip. The staff throughout my program grew to be a mentor that not only maintained my safety but someone I could confide in and seek advice from. Joe, a mentor on my trip, had endless activities for us that helped us evaluate our personality and leadership activities. One day, while others chose to rest , Joe even gave me an extra activity and did it with me because I wasn't tired. Beyond the outstanding staff, the many activities we did after service were once and a life time opportunities. How many kids can say they hiked to a sacred lake and witnessed a mayan healing ceremony? And learned first hand from locals how they make a living in a home based wool factory? Not to mention the inspiring, eye-opening, talk we had with a Guatemalan war veteran, who told us first hand stories of the monstrosities connected to our country. This trip was a fantastic learning experience and changed my views drastically.

How can this program be improved?

I would like to have more service, but overall I would give it a 5 star recommendation.

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Gabrielle
Female
19 years old
Princeton, NJ

GLA all the way!!

9/10

I traveled with Global Leadership Adventures on the Children of the Maya trip to Guatemala, and I can truly say that it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I not only met some amazing people from the country itself, but I met other students who are now some of my closest friends. Working with the kids at the schools where we volunteered was so heartwarming. We were all able to connect with these kids and to feel like we were making an impact. On top of all that, I gained a whole new understanding of Guatemalan culture that I never could have gotten without traveling with GLA and learning from the mentors and the local people we met. It was truly a life-changing experience, one that I will never forget.

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Liv
Female
19 years old
Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Simply Life-Changing

10/10

As my high school graduation waits right around the corner, I've reflected quite a bit on the things that have most impacted me throughout the past four years of my life. I feel that I've done a lot here at home, but being president of student council, playing softball, and excelling academically don't even begin to measure up to the impact of my experiences I had through GLA.

In the summer of 2013 I travelled to Guatemala through the 2-week "Children of the Maya" program. As my first experience ever out of the United States, the program was well organized, immersive in the local culture, and all-around showed me the amazing way that traveling abroad can bring new perspective. Through everything, including an unfortunate incident in which our van crashed on the way to a weekend excursion (everyone was okay!), GLA was nothing but supportive. I built a commitment to service and global consideration in everything I do. I came home from the program looking forward to future endeavors internationally.

Initially after the Guatemala program, I didn't think that another GLA program would be an option. However, in March of 2014 my dad mentioned the possibility. After much debate about which program to choose, I decided on the 3-week "Building a Sustainable World" trip in the Dominican Republic. If I thought Guatemala was life-changing, this experience completely flipped my world upside-down. Not only did I meet my best friends on this trip, but I also saw the true value of sustainable development and community. Upon my return home, teachers, friends, and family alike commented on my newfound happiness and passion. To put it simply, I was invigorated with a new drive I didn't even know existed.

Because of GLA, I was lucky enough not only to find my passion, but also to express it through my application to the Tulane University Deans' Honor Scholarship, which I actually received. I will attend Tulane starting this fall to study public health and international development. (See my video for the DHS scholarship at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lWbOR7JYfg )

GLA - this is my love letter to you, an expression of my undying gratitude for your programs, your staff, and your commitment to doing "voluntourism" right, thereby giving volunteer travel the good name it deserves. You have changed my life, and for that I thank you.

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Caroline
Female
19 years old
Colorado Springs

Unique Experience with Mayan Culture in Guatemala

10/10

I volunteered with Global Leadership Adventures this past summer for two weeks in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. The two weeks I spent in Guatemala were the best two weeks of my summer.

Quetzaltenango is a rural town nestled between mountains and volcanoes. The hotel we stayed at provided modest yet comfortable accommodations. The rooms were gender segregated and there was anywhere from 3-5 people to a room. We all shared a few communal bathrooms and the showers had hot ans cold water. The only quirks were that we could not use the sink water to brush our teeth and we could not flush toilet paper in the toilets. The food at the hotel was great and they were very respectful and accommodating of dietary restrictions.

We volunteered at a school and helped by painting, repairing a moldy wall, and adding cement to waterproof an outside wall. We were allowed to play with the school kids for an hour each day during their recess. Even with a language barrier, we were able to connect and have fun with the kids by playing soccer, jump rope, and tag, or as they called it "tenta."

Each day was a new unique adventure. In the afternoons we took various cultural excursions. We learned about weaving, pottery, chocolate made from real cacao beans, and how to play the marimba. We saw ancient Mayan ruins, took a weekend trip and saw a lake surrounded by beautiful volcanoes, and hiked to see a volcanic crater lake. We took two trips to the mall and went to an internet cafe where we checked emails, Facebook, and used Skype or Face Time to talk with family and friends.

The GLA staff is amazing! Our in-country director was Maria and she used her connections to allow us to tour local homes. The GLA director was Meredith and our mentors were Rudy and Eileen. They especially helped me overcome my homesickness and were the best staff members I could have hoped for. I highly recommended this program and encourage anyone considering volunteering abroad to do so with Global Leadership Adventures!

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Claire
Female
19 years old
United States

Best experience of my life!

10/10

Traveling to a foreign country by yourself can seem pretty terrifying, and in the beginning I had my fears, but by the very first day I knew it was worth it. Throughout our trip, we did so many amazing things like painting and concreting a local elementary school, interacting with the children during their lunch break, and even getting our own salsa dancing lesson! The mentors were absolutely amazing and I made many lifelong friendships in just the few short weeks. Going to Guatemala with Global Leadership Adventures not only showed me what I want to do with my life, but was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I never thought a trip could have such a lasting impact on me, but I truly came home a different person. Not a day goes by that I don't miss Guatemala and all the amazing people I met. It's truly a life changing experience and if you have any interest in going at all, my advice is to definitely go because you will not regret it.

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Tess
Female
19 years old
New Jersey

Guatemala: Children of the Maya

7/10

I had such a wonderful experience volunteering in Guatemala through GLA. Not only did we volunteer at a local school clearing worksites, building walls and playing with insanely cute Guatemalan children, but we also got the chance to explore the rest of the Guatemala. We visited a chocolate shop, a traditional cemetery, hot springs up in the mountains, ancient archaeological ruins, Lake Atitlan, the largest indigenous craft market in the hemisphere in Chichicastenango, and various other exciting places. We also got the chance to speak to someone who fought for the rebels and someone who fought for the government in the Guatemalan Civil War. It was so interesting to hear both perspectives from opposing sides of the war. What I think most set apart GLA as a volunteer program for young people is their incorporation of leadership learning throughout the trip. Every night we participated in various activities focusing on how to work with others and how to lead productively. It was very insightful and sometimes even emotional. We all bonded very quickly and learned to let our guards down with one another. It was refreshing to hear stories about people you knew they hadn't shared with anyone else. It was exciting to learn about people from such different backgrounds. I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my time abroad than with Global Leadership Adventures. I am so thankful for such insightful and fun mentors, the friendly staff, and the kids who went on the trip.

How can this program be improved?

I would suggest posting a rough schedule to the website of how each day is run. For example: volunteer in the morning, go back to home base for lunch, go out in the afternoon, come back, eat dinner, night activity, bed. Then, mention the small trips and how they happen generally on the weekends.

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Tori
Female
19 years old
Lunenburg, Massachusetts

Global Leadership Adventures Guatemala 2014

9/10

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to go on a volunteer trip to Guatemala with Global Leadership Adventures. At first I was nervous and did not know how to go about signing up for a trip. The GLA staff walked me through the application process and helped me find the program that was right for me. They also gave my family and I enough background information on the trip that my parents felt comfortable with me going. While there, we volunteered at a rural school cementing and painting its walls. We also had time to play games and get to know the children at the school we were working on. While not volunteering our mentors kept us busy, showing us Mayan ruins, Mayan ceremonies, and really giving us a look into Guatemala's culture. We even got to go on a weekend trip to Lake Atitlan. This trip was the perfect combination of service and fun. I made lasting friendships and returned from the trip a stronger leader than before.

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Nikki
Female
19 years old
United States

DONT MISS AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE WITH GLOBAL LEADERSHIP ADVENTURES!

10/10

Over the summer I traveled to Guatemala with the program children of the Maya. My experience was one of the best I have ever had! Between the Guatemalan children, amazing volunteers, and adventuring experiences, my trip was filled with fun. We hiked a mountain, learned to make chocolate, and created unbreakable bonds with each other. I suggest GLA to any teens who want to make a change in the world. This experience is worth every penny and will stay with you forever!

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Chris
Female
57 years old
Upstate NY
The Catholic University of America

Life changing experience

10/10

Your child will return a changed person--more responsible, more aware of the world, more eager to make a difference. But beware--he or she will want to do more GLA programs! Addressing concerns that parents have: This organization is well-run, the staff communicates well with parents, the programs are safe, there is true educational value in the experience, and it's worth the expense. Our son has completed 2 of the programs, and we've seen a real change in his confidence level, his interactions with others, his maturity. But he mostly thought that he was having the time of his life. He remains friends with kids from both programs, he's started volunteering in our community, and he's discovered that there's a whole world outside the (for him) misery of high school. I'd recommend these GLA programs to parents in a heart beat.

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Sam
Male
19 years old
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

If you're thinking about it... Go.

8/10

I went to Guatemala for three weeks for the Mayan service, language and adventure program and it was absolutely amazing. From the moment I landed in the airport I was greeted by friendly staff and transported to a secure and pleasant hotel. True it is not a hotel like the west but that is exactly what I wanted. Each day was met with volunteering, cultural immersion like hikes, chocolate tastings, markets, and of course helpful spanish lessons. Of course it's not all work and no play, after volunteering for maybe 3-4 hours a member may expect a wonderful meal cooked by the staff and a good sized break. I was never exhausted during my time on the GLA trip and was able to keep up on any adventure or situation. My spanish was intermediate prior to leaving the United States and I came back pretty advanced after having spoken more often with native speakers.

How can this program be improved?

Honestly the only gripe I have concerns the people I was with. Fairly commonly the members did not want to participate or clung to United States culture too much. If you're going abroad you should, as they say, "do as the romans do" and just try to immerse yourself. If anything I would have liked to been participating with people equally enthusiastic as me.

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jJL
Female
19 years old
canada

An unforgettable experience

10/10

Guatemala was truly the best trip I have ever been on. From meeting new friends to seeing the beauty of Guatemala's culture, I will never forget it! The difficulties of this trip were leaving behind my new found friends and the amazing memories Guatemala gave me.
GLA provided an amazing insight while doing our community service at a local school and our mentor were always making it feel like home. The highlight of my trip was defiantly forming bonds with the children and learning about the struggles and beauties of Guatemala.

I highly recommend this trip especially for students who have a passion to help change the world! This trip will forever inspire you!

How can this program be improved?

There is nothing I did not enjoy from this program. I really have no negative thoughts!

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Vita
Female
19 years old
Caracas, Venezuela

Every moment was valuable

9/10

Every day we had very specific, set out activities. We were briefed every morning and evening about what we would do, what to expect and try and stimulate conversation of what we though about the upcoming, or past activities. Although are days were packed full of exciting things to do it was great to always have some down time at the end of the day to reflect on what we had done and how to improve our skills. It was during this down time that I came to learn a lot about myself and perhaps were my future is heading. I was able to talk to the program staff a lot as well as other students and not only learn about how to improve the world in the ways that I can but also how to be a better and happier person in general. This was an unforgetable experience which really did make me grow a lot as a person.

How can this program be improved?

Although this program had so many highlight one of the elements that I felt was lacking was the time doing service. I felt like we spent a very limited time in the service portion of the program and would have liked it to be more.

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GretaDorsey
Female
19 years old
Weston, Connecticut

GUAT!!!

10/10

I went to guatemala with GLA this past summer and I LOVE IT!! It was my first service trip outside of the USA and I really, really felt safe. The adult advisors on the trip were not only very qualified but truly made me feel comfortable and at home. GLA is open to boys and girls but my group just happened to be all girls. This was a great experience because we all automatically bonded and our closeness made the trip unforgettable. I would recommend GLA to anyone in a heart beat. It was the perfect mix of hard labor- community service and culture immersion. The experiences I had at the school for deaf and blind children in Xela, Guatemala warmed my heart and helped me realize how lucky I truly am. After this trip I decided I wanted to go to the peace corps and dedicate my life to helping others by becoming a Psychologist, by studying anthropology, sociology and how they differ for diverse communities around the world. I love GLA and as an ambassador I am so pumped for my trip to Thailand this summer!! This is a program you won't regret getting involved it. It is truly life changing.

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Melanie
Female
19 years old
Toronto, Ontario
Other

Fantastic!

9/10

I went to Guatemala last summer on the 10-day program and it was one of the best experiences of my life. My group participated in so many interesting activities! I loved learning about the Mayan culture, visiting the markets, experiencing a traditional mayan wedding, interacting with a shaman, and so much more! The community service aspect of it all was so amazing as well. My group repainted an elementary school and everyone there, from the children to the teachers, were so welcoming. It was a very satisfying experience all in all. I would definitely recommend it!

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With a history and heritage in global education, Global Leadership Adventures packs our itineraries with leadership development, volunteering and the delight of taking learning off the beaten path. Our unique program design produces what many students call a life-changing experience, not just a spring break

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