- San Jose, Costa Rica; Multi-Country Programs, Multi-Country Programs; Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala; Solola, Guatemala
- Program Type:
- Study Abroad
- Degree Level:
- Fall Semester, Spring Semester
- Program Description:
Open to students from any college or university. This multi-country semester study abroad program, defined by an experiential methodology and unique approach to community engagement, offers students a provocative and inspiring experience that develops Spanish language skills while immersing participants in the lives of host families, urban and rural communities, and grassroots organizations dedicated to working on issues related to conflict, U.S. foreign policy, gender, and economic and social justice.
Explore issues of sustainable development and social change in Costa Rica and Guatemala. Students learn about the richness and diversity of Central America compared and contrasted by the history, culture, and anti-oppression struggles of the people of Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Indigenous cosmovisions, the role of religion in social change, legacies of armed struggle, community organizing and engagement, and the impact of globalization and immigration. Students gain a better understanding of diverse approaches to environmental conservation, sustainability, economic issues, and social justice.
The program focuses on issues of peace and justice and includes many meetings with grassroots organizers. Students will meet and speak with liberation theologians and practitioners, women’s collectives and representatives of feminist movements, government officials, political party representatives, former guerrilla leaders, a Mayan priestess, Indigenous leaders, and youth groups. This level of community engagement and experience provides students with a truly broad and deep understanding of the region and also larger global issues related to revolution, the peace process, transition, and democracy.
- Setting Description:
- In Guatemala, students spend a few days in Antigua, but the majority of the program occurs in Quetzaltenango (Xela) where students live with homestay families. Xela is characterized by the Santa María volcano, colonial-era buildings, quiet parks, plazas, open-air markets, and narrow stone-paved streets. One-on-one language classes provide unlimited opportunities to practice Spanish. The school is located within a 10-minute walk to homestays, numerous restaurants, and cafés. From Xela, students can explore hot springs, mountainous rainforest, weaving cooperatives, and the oldest cathedral in Guatemala. In Costa Rica, students spend a few days at a guesthouse in San José and then spend three weeks with local families in San Francisco de Dos Ríos neighborhood, located about 20 minutes southeast of San José. This is a middle class neighborhood made up of mostly Afro-Costa Ricans, Nicaraguans, Colombians, Chinese, and a small percentage of European families.
- $18,615. Includes tuition, room, board, all program related travel and excursions, insurance.
Additional Program Information
- Scholarships Description:
- Variety of available including diversity and need based.
Based on 2 Reviews
- My time in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua changed my life path05/29/20
I was honored to participate in this program when it was "Social Change in Central America" in 2016. My experience in the program dramatically improved by Spanish, deepened my understanding of Central American history, and gave me concrete lenses
and tools through which I still analyze social movements. While I was on the trip I learned about the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA), which became my movement home. I now live in Guatemala. I would highly recommend this program for young organizers who want to deepen their internationalist practice.read moreBottom Line:Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
- Social Change and Personal Change04/29/20
Although I don't remember everything I learned sitting in the classroom while abroad, what I remember most are the kind people I interacted and communicated with, the beautiful places I traveled, and the many communities and cultures I learned from, both
in Guatemala and Costa Rica. Through reviewing Guatemala's history and Mayan culture, living with host families in indigenous and self-sustained communities, hearing stories from Nicaraguan refugees, and learning about Costa Rica's green plans for the future, I got to see firsthand the ways people in Central America are creating social change. All of this, along with the cherished relationships I formed with program staff and peers, helped to form changes within myself that I didn't expect. I found myself more calm and patient than ever before in my life, and more curious and open to new experiences, places, and people. I am so thankful for this time I had to take a break from the fast pace of US life and dive into a world more intelligent, compassionate, and comforting than I ever would have imagined before this experience. I miss the Guatemalan mountains, runs under the Costa Rican sun, swimming in the Caribbean ocean, and most importantly my abroad "mom," Ruth, and my Costa chicas every day. I would recommend this study abroad opportunity to anyone with a love of Spanish (even if you don't speak it well), an openness to nature and community, and a longing to find a deeper part of yourself you never knew was there. If I had to describe my time in Central America in one word it would be this: wholesome.read moreBottom Line:Yes, I would recommend this to a friend