Volunteer in Guatemala: Children of the Maya™

Video and Photos

Local San Andres outfit!
Students gathered for recess fun!
Student of Pacaja elementary

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

Program Highlight!

The ancient Inca Empire is yours to discover while making a difference in the lives of rural families on our Peru: Service in the Sacred Valley™ program.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

95%
based on 24 reviews
  • Growth 9.3
  • Support 9.5
  • 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 16 - 24 of 24
Default avatar
Tess
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Default avatar
Tori
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

Default avatar
Nikki
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

DONT MISS AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE WITH GLOBAL LEADERSHIP ADVENTURES!

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!

Default avatar
Chris
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing experience

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.

Default avatar
Sam
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Default avatar
jJL
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An unforgettable experience

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!

What would you improve about this program?
There is nothing I did not enjoy from this program. I really have no negative thoughts!
Default avatar
Vita
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Every moment was valuable

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Default avatar
GretaDorsey
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GUAT!!!

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.

Default avatar
Melanie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic!

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!