Volunteer in Guatemala: Children of the Maya™

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Program Highlight!

A full spectrum of Chinese adventure awaits, as complex as the country itself. Hike the Great Wall of China and experience Mandarin immersion and language classes on our China: Mandarin Service Adventure program!

About

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

Questions & Answers

Reviews

95%
based on 22 reviews
  • Growth 9.3
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.1
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9.7
  • Program Selection 9.5
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 10
  • Impact on Student 10
  • Value 10
Showing 1 - 15 of 22
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Denise
10/10

Guatemala experience for my daughter.

I can't say enough wonderful things about Global Leadership Adventures, the program, staff communication and service was very impressive. They were very informative about all aspects involved to send a child overseas to protect students safety and well being. I had never sent my child out of the country before and was very nervous , concerned and cautious with planning and the details. GLA staff was wonderful with provide information, documentation and answering questions in a timely manner. As a result my daughters trip was a huge success. She came back a changed girl with a different outlook on gratitude, appreciation and responsibilities. She loved the staff who made her feel at home and built wonderful friendships within the Guatemala country and with GLA students and staff. If you are considering a trip with GLA I would highly recommend the wonderful learning experience. It is an opportunity for teens to grow, learn and experience the unknown.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Dana Christian
9/10

Children of the Maya

My 16 year old daughter traveled to Guatemala with Global Leadership Adventures in the summer of 2017. The experience was life-changing. Being immersed in a Spanish speaking culture teaching children English offered the perfect balance of challenge and fun. Grace learned so much about herself, leadership and the challenges & blessings of education. She was able to compare & contrast Education system in the US with that of a small, impoverished town in Guatemala, seeing the beauty and brokenness in both systems. Grace came home more compassionate, inspired to create change in her own community and to be more courageous in her own life to help her grow. This personal growth will allow her to have more to offer those she serves & works side by side with on her next Global Leadership trip in summer 2019.

How can this program be improved?
More learning circles, debrief, and question time at night with the in-country leaders and GLA leaders. Have leadership on the ground in the city explain more about their specific area of immersion- in this case it's the education system.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Denise
10/10

Olivia's Teen trip to Guatemala

For anyone who is considering doing a TEEN Volunteer Program I would HIGHLY recommend Global Leadership Adventures Guatemala trip, My daughter expressed interest in going on this trip at the age of 14 and as a parent I was nervous. I did my due diligence and there was no reason to stop her from going. The safety, support and communication from the Global Leadership Adventures staff to the hosting and staff in the US and Guatemala were very comforting to parents and our teens. Had anxiety of sending my child to another country as an unaccompanied minor and it turns out, she loved it, was safe and had no problems with travel. Not to mention she enjoy this trip so much because of the wonderful staff at GLA, the outstanding service programs, and relationships she built with children in Guatemala. My daughter loved the program so much she's off to Thailand in June 2018. So if you are considering going on a Global Leadership Adventure Program join the facebook groups and ask questions to teens and parents that have sent their kids on the programs. It's like joining a big family. Everyone is so helpful and supportive. Get onto GLA webinars they help answer so many questions.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Grace
10/10

Global Leadership Adventures 14-day Children of the Maya Program

The two week Children of the Maya program is truly outstanding! During the two weeks my group of twenty-nine other high schoolers and I traveled around the country of Guatemala to the vibrant cities of Antigua, Lake Atitklan, San Andres, Quetzaltenango, and Xela. The main community service component we completed was creating and delivering lesson plans to teach in a Guatemalan primary school. This experience working one-on-one with Guatemalan children from PreK-6th grade revealed our positive impact. I was called into a leadership role utilizing my strong Spanish speaking skills. This hectic, high energy, primary school environment in rural Quetzaltenango lacked structure and disciple. Initially the challenge was simply maintaining kids’ attention. However, we quickly discovered ways to successfully teach the lessons. We kept students engaged through a variety of games as well as interactive and verbal lessons. Understanding came slowly. Our leadership and teaching remained positive and hopeful and during recess on day four, I witnessed beauty! Some of my students were asking my peers their names and how they were- in English! The children were utilizing my lessons and our positive impact was evident. Our physical and mental capacities were tested through a series of epic adventures including zip-lining over mountainous tree tops, swimming in hot springs, visiting Mayan ruins, taking a boat ride across sacred Lake Atitlán, attending a ceremony with a Maya shaman, and shopping at the largest indigenous craft market in the hemisphere. With all these experiences, I am forever grateful for my trip to Guatemala and highly recommend this program & Global Leadership Adventures as a whole to any high school student wanting to "be the change."

Yes, I recommend this program
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Olivia
10/10

Had the best time in Guatemala!

I recently traveled to Guatemala through Global Leadership Adventures and had the most awesome experience! I met so many new friends that I am still in contact with while learning and helping out in a different country. From traveling to Guatemala there are so many different goals I have set for myself to reach corresponding to the service work we did there. The staff members are so welcoming and I felt safe all the time, so I would totally recommend GLA!

How can this program be improved?
I personally can't think of a way the program could be improved it was such a great experience overall and I learned so much from it!
Yes, I recommend this program
Aine
10/10

Growth In Guatemala

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Lexie
10/10

Everyone Should Travel!!

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!!!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Martha
10/10

Guatemala: Children of the Maya

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Brooke
10/10

Global Leadership Adventures- Guatemala trip

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Gabrielle
9/10

GLA all the way!!

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Liv
10/10

Simply Life-Changing

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Caroline
10/10

Unique Experience with Mayan Culture in Guatemala

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!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Claire
10/10

Best experience of my life!

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Tess
7/10

Guatemala: Children of the Maya

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Tori
9/10

Global Leadership Adventures Guatemala 2014

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.

Yes, I recommend this program

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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...