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Drexel In Guatemala: Development in Action Study Tour
Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Program Terms: Spring,
Program Dates &
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Restrictions: Drexel applicants only
Fact Sheet:
 Language of Instruction:
English, Spanish
 Minimum Cumulative GPA:
 Class Eligibility:
Junior, Pre-Junior, Senior, Sophomore
 Eligible Majors:
All Majors
 Type of Program:
Study Tour
 Housing Options:
 Program Advisor:
Ahaji Schreffler
Program Description:

The Program

guatemala flag

Based in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, Culture and Conversation is a 10-day study abroad program that focuses on language acquisition, culture, and service. Students will complete 25 hours of intensive Spanish instruction and live with a host family, and also participate in afternoon and evening activities that expose students to Guatemala’s rich cultural and natural diversity. Quetzaltenango is nestled in a valley mountain surrounded by farmland, indigenous populations, numerous development organizations, and a lively art and music scene.

By the conclusion of the program, students will:
• Increase their language capabilities.
• Increase their cultural competency skills, especially when working with diverse, non-English speaking communities.
• Experience and learn about Guatemalan culture.
• Develop experiential education reflection skills, and understand how engagement shapes their own identity and interpretation of the world.

Check out an online presentation about this program!

The Academics

Students will be registered for IAS 390: Culture and Conversation, a 3 credit spring term course. In addition to Spanish class, service work and cultural activities, students will spend a weekend exploring famed Lago Atitlan, and also Antigua, a designated World Heritage Site. This course is open to all Drexel students in class or on co-op, and there are no pre-requisites.

Students will be directed and overseen by Kate Hughes, M.S., MPH, Assistant Director of the Center of Interdisciplinary Programs (AFAS, GREC, IAS and WMST), as well as Guatemalan instructors at the Casa XelaJu language school, and local development practitioners.

Read Fall 2013 student blogs from Guatemala

Program Itinerary

Weekend 1: Visit famed Lago Atitlan, where students will learn about community tourism and volunteer with a local NGO, experience a local market, and enjoy hiking and kayaking while sleeping at a lakeside hotel.

Week 1 (Xela): Intensive Spanish instruction and a homestay with a local Guatemalan family. In addition to class, students will:

• Have a cooking class with woman from AMA, an association of Mayan women;
• Build “safe stoves” for Mayan women in the highlands;
• Meet with local journalists to learn about the Guatemalan civil war;
• Learn salsa;
• Relax in local hot springs;
• Have a coffee tasting and lecture on fair trade coffee.

Weekend 2:  The group will spend their final time in Antigua where students can independently explore the beautiful colonial town before returning stateside.


Spring Break 2014 Program Fee: $1,300

Included in the Program Fee
• All accommodations
• Three daily meals (minus lunch in Antigua) traditional Guatemalan food
• 25 hours of individual language instruction, and free coffee, tea and bread during break
• All cultural activities
• In-country transportation
• Volunteering costs for materials
• Gratuities associated with services

• Bilingual guide(s) to accompany and translate for the group
• Free unlimited internet access at the language school

Payment schedule:

-Advance payment due January 15th: $500 + $25 application fee
-Final payment due: February 15th: $800

*All payments are non-refundable. If student is not accepted or program does not run for unexpected reasons, payments will be refunded.

Not included in program fee (approx $1,200): Round trip flight to Guatemala City (from Philadelphia or NYC); passport fee, visa (if applicable), emergency evacuation insurance, $250 for miscellaneous/spending money

No visa is required for US citizens. Other nationalities should check on the Guatemalan Embassy website for details.

On-site Program Partners

Casa Xelaju is an intensive language school which provides accredited individual instruction, cultural activities, field trips, and homestays. The school has been operating for more than 25 years, and according to its website, its mission is threefold: “to provide the best language and cultural education possible to its students; to provide the best economic environment for its teachers and staff; and to support local communities with projects to fight poverty through education.”

EntreMundos “is a registered Guatemalan non-profit association that promotes positive social change by supporting and strengthening communities and non-governmental organizations in Guatemala. This is achieved through capacity building workshops and training; the publication of a free bimonthly, bilingual magazine (in Spanish and English) about development and human rights issues in Guatemala; and operating a volunteer placement program, connecting volunteers, both international and local, with community projects and NGOs. As an NGO committed to the projects with which we work, the proceeds from your participation go directly back to serving the organizations and communities of Guatemala.”

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Winter 2015 09/01/2014 10/01/2014 TBA TBA
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