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Mayan Culture and Spanish in the Guatemalan Highlands

Summer 2017:  July 8-25, 2017

Guatemala Highlands

Program Highlights:

Travel this summer to the beautiful Guatemalan mountain town of Nebaj for an interactive stay with the local Ixhil Maya community.  Under the direction of faculty leaders/researchers Drs. Michael Hughes and Jule Gomez de Garcia, experience the practical benefits of Spanish language instruction while enjoying a taste of the traditional Mayan way of life. 

During your time abroad you will:

  • Learn basic Maya and opt to perform linguistic fieldwork
  • Discover traditional weaving and handicrafts
  • Be introduced to Maya farming techniques and medicinal healing

Planned excursions include the following:

  • Colonial Antigua
  • The bustling market town of Chichicastenango
  • A cruise on lovely Lake Atitlan, situated amidst a volcanic basin
  • Visits to the mountain towns of Cotzal and Chajul
  • Hike to Acul to observe a dairy cooperative
  • Concluding field trip to Guatemala City
  • Day hikes to local natural waterfalls and ruins
  • Day trips to local villages to interact with political/cultural figures

Academic Calendar: 

July 8 - 25

Academic Focus:

Spanish taught at multiple levels: 101, 102, 201, 202, or 366

MLAN 331:  World Languages & Their Speakers; satisfies upper-division Social Science General Education (DD) requirement

Language of Instruction:

Spanish for the intensive language portion; English for MLAN 331


  • Preparation for appropriate level of SpanishMaking Music
  • GPA:  2.75 and above; good academic standing to departure
  • Upper-division standing (60 units or more) for enrollment in MLAN 331 for DD credit
  • Ability to keep up with physical demands of daily hikes in and around the Maya community


Up to 7 units, comprised of the following:

Spanish 101 or 102 = 4 units

Spanish 201, 202, or 366 = 3 units

MLAN 331/DD (upper-division standing required for enrollment):  3 units


Participants will stay in shared rooms at a local lodge near the Ixhil community center.  Wifi access will be available, though connection speeds are considerably slower than U.S. standards.  Bathrooms are shared.

Healthy, traditional food will be prepared by local families.  Special dietary restrictions can be accommodated.

Estimated Cost:

$2,495 + Extended Learning Fees (estimated at $317-$637)

All fees include tuition, room and board, medical insurance, and local area excursions.  Airfare and personal expenditures are NOT included in the program cost, but estimated at $1,150.

Some useful airfare search engines:

Please await notification from Global Education before purchasing your airfare.  Ideally, we enjoy holding a pre-departure meeting once the application deadline closes, then participants may plan their travels together.  Always read the fine print concerning change fees, taxes, luggage restrictions, before booking.  Whenever possible, book directly with an airline.

To Apply:

  1. Attend an information session led by faculty leaders, Michael Hughes & Jule Gomez de Garcia.
  2. Print out the application materials below.  All application materials must be received by Thursday, March 30, 2017 along with your non-refundable $300 deposit to the Office of Global Education, Craven 3200.  Only cash, checks, or money orders will be accepted for the initial deposit.  Please make checks payable to CSUSM.
  3. Final payment of $2,195 is due on Thursday, April 27, 2017 to the Office of Global Education.  Final payments preferred via CashNet Please be advised that all payments aside from those on debit cards (e-checks) will accrue a 2.75% convenience fee.  Cash, checks, and money orders made payable to CSUSM will also be accepted.
  4. A mandatory pre-departure orientation will be held with Drs. Hughes & Gomez de Garcia to discuss arrival instructions and the upcoming course.  Proof of attendance will be recorded.

Summer in Guatemala 2017 Application:

Attend an Info Session to Learn More:

  • Thursday, March 16, 12-1, MARK 211
  • Thursday, April 13, 12-1, MARK 211