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Mayan Culture and Spanish in the Guatemalan Highlands

Summer 2019:  July 27-August 12

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

Check out these great articles about our Guatemala program!

Academic Calendar: 

July 27 - August 12

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 Spanish
  • 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
Making Music


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 $252-$572)

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 leader, Michael Hughes.
  2. Fill out the online application materials via the link below. All application materials must be received by Tuesday, April 30 along with your non-refundable $300 deposit to the Office of Global Education. Online payment preferred through CashNet.  Please be advised to choose E-check and enter your checking account details to avoid the 2.75% convenience fees applicable to all non-checking account payments.  Cash, checks, and money orders made payable to CSUSM will also be accepted.
  3. Final payment of $2,195 program fees is due on Thursday, May 30th to the Office of Global Education, following the payment guidelines set forth above. Payment of tuition related expenses (estimated at $252-$572) will be billed by Extended Learning and appear on your Student Center, following the payment guidelines set out for Summer Session.
  4. Submit your flight details to Global Education here:  Flight Information Form
  5. A mandatory pre-departure orientation will be held with Professor Hughes to discuss arrival instructions and the upcoming courses.

Summer in Guatemala 2019 Application: 

Summer in Guatemala Application


Attend an Info Session to Learn More:

Day Time Location
Thursday, April 11 12:00-12:50pm MARK 211
Tuesday, April 16 12:00-12:50pm MARK 211
Tuesday, April 23 12:00-12:50pm MARK 211
Thursday, April 25 12:00-12:50pm MARK 211
Tuesday, April 30 12:00-12:50 pm MARK 211